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The Business of Social Media

New faculty member Kristen Schiele is bringing the very latest thinking and tactics on social media and marketing to Marshall students

October 20, 2022
Kristen Scheile
Kristen Schiele, assistant professor of marketing, USC Marshall School of Business.

It’s not every day students meet a professor who is savvier at social media than they are. But Kristen Schiele is delighted to teach them everything she knows.

“Our job as educators is not only to help our students get the jobs they want, but to excel at those jobs,” she said.

And for business students, understanding digital marketing and strategy is essential. Schiele is among a young group of academic researchers with expertise in “new media” who came of age as digital marketing and social media went mainstream.

She studied business at Chapman University, thinking she’d go into fashion marketing. But one class changed her trajectory. She talked the professor into letting her be a research assistant, a job that would typically go to a graduate student, the paper she helped to research and write was accepted at an academic conference in Vancouver.

“I was only 21 years old and nervous to present our paper in front of a room full of academics. But I enjoyed that conference so much that it really sealed the deal for me that I’d become a professor one day,” she said.

She went on to earn her PhD at the University of California at Irvine. Her dissertation was on fashion marketing and consumption, taking note of how small designers in Japan were using the internet and social media to promote their brands. “I was amazed to see how they were using digital marketing in Tokyo. Especially at that time, they were so far ahead of us in terms of how they used digital tools to communicate with customers.”

But even in 2012, classes on digital marketing were few and far between. In one of her first academic roles, at Woodbury University, she had to build out her own curriculum. Later, as a tenured associate professor in international business and marketing at Cal Poly Pomona, she was tasked with essentially building its digital marketing program from the ground up. She created and taught new courses such as Mobile Marketing, SEO Fundamentals and Digital Marketing.

Now at Marshall, the mandate is different. She joins an established marketing faculty eager to add to its digital expertise. She’s wasted no time in throwing herself into the mix, teaching two sections of digital marketing and one section of social media. She’s also currently working with the Skill-up program to create workshop videos for alumni, teaching them how to keep current with their digital marketing skills and prepare for the Google Analytics 4 migration this year. She also submitted a new Mobile Marketing course to the curriculum committee, in hopes to launch that course in the Fall 2023 term.

Schiele is also an active researcher in marketing and marketing pedagogy. She has published in such journals as Business HorizonsConsumption Markets & Culture, and Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice and is co-author for the new edition of the Mobile Marketing Essentials textbook.

It’s no surprise she is a student favorite. She was a four-time recipient of the Provost Teacher-Scholar award at Cal Poly Pomona. “I love teaching and I think my students can sense my excitement,” she says. “I also work hard to create a learning community in my classes where my students don’t just learn from me, they also learn from each other.”

She recently received a Fulbright Award to teach Digital Marketing in Portugal in spring 2023. You’ll have to follow her on LinkedIn to see the photos and updates.