Lynn Matthews, a fifth-year doctoral student, at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Department of Marketing kicked off the 27th annual Robert Mittelstaedt Doctoral Symposium with her presentation on human branding. Her paper, “Perceived Authenticity in Credence and Experience Services,” helped highlight the symposium by bringing to the forefront a burgeoning topic in the world of marketing.
“I became intrigued about the area of human branding during my first couple years in the marketing Ph.D. program,” said Matthews. “It’s a very new topic, and you can count the number of scholars in that area on one hand. I’m excited to be working in this new space.”
For Matthews, who previously received her master’s degree in survey research and methodology at Nebraska, this was the eighth Mittelstaedt Symposium she has attended, and her first presentation. Her 25-minute presentation followed by a question and answer session, conveyed the work she is doing to attendees from 17 universities across the U.S.
“Human branding studies the idea that an individual needs to portray themselves effectively when they are acting as a service provider, in the same way a large company must do. But, of course, people are different, so I look at how individuals can create and manage a human brand that is valuable to others while still being true to themselves,” she said.
Matthews believes the Mittelstaedt Symposium provides the perfect environment to share information to colleagues. She hopes to stay in touch with people attending the symposium throughout her career.
“It’s a wonderful student-oriented event. Presentations are longer than other conferences, and you can really get in-depth with a friendly audience and follow-up questions from professors at prominent schools. At Mittelstaedt, you begin to make friends with colleagues you’ll be working with for the rest of your life. The field of marketing is relatively small at the doctoral level, so it’s great to meet all these people,” she said.
Dr. Jamie Hyodo, assistant professor of marketing, coordinates the Mittelstaedt Symposium. He recognized both Dr. Robert Mittelstaedt, emeritus professor, and Dr. James “Jim” Gentry, Maurice J. and Alice Hollman College Professor, for their work laying the foundation for the symposium.
“I asked Jim what inspired him to create the Mittelstaedt Symposium 27 years ago,” said Hyodo. “He said he wanted to do something for students to engage in scholarship with people in the field to get feedback on their research. Everything I know about Jim and Bob is their ethos toward academics is all about doctoral students, and supporting and developing the next generation of academics. That’s what this symposium is all about.”
Matthews feels she has benefited from that spirit of helpfulness she finds throughout the Department of Marketing. She graduates this May having already accepted a professorship at Wichita State University beginning in August. Although she became attracted to the program because of its reputation at excelling in a mixed methods focus, she now leaves Nebraska with an even deeper appreciation to those who guided her doctoral path.
“The program here is encouraging and collegial. It’s tight-knit, and a great environment where everyone treats one another like family. There’s no place like Nebraska,” she said.