This year Mercyhurst University’s Walker School of Business welcomed Dipankar Rai, Ph.D., as a full-time faculty member and assistant professor of business.
Rai will be teaching high-level marketing courses for the school, which include consumer behavior, marketing research and marketing management.
Originally from the city of Darjeeling in Northeast India, Rai finished his undergraduate degree in Physics at Siliguri College in India.
He moved on to work at an insurance company for about three years, which got him interested in the marketing industry.
After coming to the United States, he decided to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in marketing.
He applied and was accepted to the State University of New York in Bennington.
In 2007, Rai moved to Bennington, NY, and completed his MBA in 2009.
He then decided to pursue his Ph.D. in Marketing, specializing in consumer behavior, his area of interest.
“I was very interested in what influences consumers to purchase different things, to behave in a certain way,” Rai said, emphasizing the importance of understanding the consumer.
“You consume an experience. So I tried to understand why people consume. I wanted to understand the psychological processes that influence people’s consumptions.”
While he was pursuing his doctorate, Rai worked as a visiting professor in Northern Michigan University.
The current Dean of the Walker School of Business, Raj Parikh, Ph.D., knew about the department in Bennington.
Parikh sent an email informing the department that there was an open teaching position at Mercyhurst. Rai applied, and last winter found himself at Mercyhurst.
“What I liked about Mercyhurst was the very strong relationship between student and faculty and the faculty-student ratio,” Rai said.
“I didn’t have to teach a class of 90 or 100 students.
“I get that personal touch with the students and the students get that personal attention.” Rai continued.
“So I feel like I can provide a better value in this environment as opposed to teaching in a bigger environment. That’s what I really enjoy about Mercyhurst and that’s what made me come here.”
For next semester, Rai is hoping to start an American Marketing Association club.
He plans to take students to conferences where they can compete with other schools and learn about what is going on in the marketing world.
For this semester, Rai is planning to take his current students to a small regional conference in Pittsburgh this upcoming November.
“I am really excited about that. This is an opportunity where students get to see what’s out there, get to network with very important people, and get to learn very important topics in marketing that are happening right now,” Rai said.
He encourages anyone who has taken a marketing course and is interested in this topic to give the club a try.
“If you like to work hard and you like creativity, our doors will always be open,” Rai said.
Rai would like to encourage any student to take Marketing as a major.
“I can tell you, to me it is the most interesting subject to do, ever,” Rai said.
“You not only learn about how to market a product, but you also learn what effects drive consumption. Being a marketer is great, but in the twenty-first century, especially now, we need to be smart consumers.
We need to understand what influences us to consume something bad or something good. To me, everyone should take a couple of courses.
This is an opportunity to learn what is going on in your head and how do companies influence our thinking to influence your consumption.”
Rai also enjoys taking photographs in his free time.
He has recently spent his free time getting to know Erie, especially the lake area, a place he has enjoyed capturing in photographs