University of Southern California

Hae Eun Chun
Gaining Experience in Research and Teaching
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Hae Eun Chun came to USC Marshall from her native Korea to pursue a PhD in marketing, with an emphasis in consumer behavior, after earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the subject. She says she chose Marshall primarily because of its outstanding research faculty.

Her principal scholarly interest is in what she calls “savoring,” how the anticipation of a pleasurable event – whether it’s a vacation, a theme park ride or the release of a new Harry Potter book – measurably increases consumer enjoyment and memory of the experience. The multidisciplinary aspect of the field, which combines psychology and sociology with marketing to influence customer response, appealed to her.

Her expertise is especially relevant in the hospitality industry, and therefore a strong fit with her new role on the faculty of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, where she will teach the marketing core and a course on consumer behavior while continuing her research.

Ms. Chun’s career choice is fitting in that she has spent much of her life savoring the prospect of teaching at the university level. “My parents were professors,” she says. “I grew up in a family that showed me that teaching is fun.”

As a PhD student at Marshall, she had the opportunity to independently teach undergraduates at the school after serving as a teaching assistant. “Some [PhD programs] don’t have this requirement,” she notes. “The teaching experience gives you more confidence.”

The chance for significant research experience early in the program is another advantage of the Marshall PhD, she says. PhD candidates rotate as a research assistant to a different professor each of their first four semesters, and then choose a faculty advisor who best fits their specific interests and goals. “You get exposed to various research ideas and working styles, and you receive a lot of feedback and time on your projects,” says Ms. Chun, who has co-authored two scholarly publications during her tenure in the program. “It’s a very supportive research environment that makes you grow.”

Among her favorite courses was a consumer behavior seminar taught by Deborah MacInnis, one of her faculty advisors, and Allen Weiss. “The course was a thorough overview of the entire field and gave me a great understanding of what kind of research is being done,” she says. Another favorite was a judgment and decision-making seminar taught by her other faculty advisor, Kristin Diehl, and Joseph Nunes. “We had to come up with a research idea each week,” she recalls. “My dissertation idea came out of that class.” Ms. Chun also took a number of courses in USC’s Psychology Department.

“Marshall prepares you well on both frontiers – teaching and research,” she says. “And the relationships you develop in the program will be a lifelong asset.”