The 21st Annual Robert Mittelstaedt Doctoral Symposium brought Ph.D. students from throughout the country to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from March 29-31, to participate in one of the country’s most respected marketing research events. The symposium, named for Dr. Robert Mittelstaedt, UNL professor of marketing emeritus, gives graduate students a chance to hone their dissertations and broaden their research horizons.
“We learn to lean on other people’s experiences,” Jessica Mikeska, a second year Ph.D. student at the UNL College of Business Admnistration, explained. “Marketing is a multi-faceted discipline and many people don’t think about it that way. This symposium helps you understand the many facets of marketing.”
Mikeska served as a discussant for University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student Erika Paulson.
“Erika had analyzed images in magazines before and after a social disruption, such as a war or a recession,” Mikeska said. “It was my job to highlight different parts of the research and talk about how it could be extended.”
Shipra Gupta, a third year Ph.D. student from also from the UNL College of Business Administration, presented her research on the topic of perceived scarcity, how scarcity affects consumer behavior and more specifically how it ties into gender differences.
“The feedback I received after my presentation is important. It gave me ideas of what to change for my final data collection for my dissertation,” Gupta said. “It will really improve my work, and as a researcher the Mittelstaedt Symposium is the perfect environment to grow.”
More than a dozen schools participated in this year’s symposium including Big Ten participation from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University of Iowa, the Ohio State University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Jim Gentry, graduate chair of marketing at UNL, is the symposium coordinator. He emphasized the blending of ideas and the camaraderie that takes place among marketing grad students.
“When you’re a student in a doctoral program that’s all you know,” Gentry said. “You think that’s all there is to a doctoral education until you participate in a symposium like this. Then our students see that Nebraska is highly regarded in marketing research. They also get to know colleagues and develop friendships that will last a lifetime.”
Gupta agreed that attending the symposium gave her a clear perspective that successful research is not conducted in a vacuum. “You come to understand that research is getting the ideas from one person to another. It’s a communication of ideas and this symposium helps show you how to bring those together in a final research project.”
Gentry pointed out that after 20 years of Mittelstaedt Doctoral Symposiums, a lot of the nation’s top marketing researchers have passed through Nebraska.
“It’s nice to get to know these people when they’re just doctoral students,” Gentry said, “because a lot of these students have gone on to be superstars in the marketing world.”