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GPI: Michael Harrison - Marketing Department Chair

By Sophia Harris

Associate Editor


What is your educational and professional background?


I have a bachelor of science in finance - technically, marketing and finance, but they didn't recognize dual degrees. So I chose finance at the time. I have a bachelor of science in management and an MBA that has a concentration in finance. My doctorate is in international business with a cognate in marketing. That's the broad educational piece of all the degrees. My work background - part of the reason I went into finance is because I was working with financial service firms after working in aviation. So I've been in the aviation industry, financial services, then consumer electronics with Bose Corporation. I started off basically in a sales role, primarily sales, and then some service. I was fairly good at my job. So when a training position came up in the training department, I got hired to train salespeople and train our service people. And that was in the Phoenix Investments down in Enfield, Connecticut. … Then I moved to Fidelity. I was there for over eight years, and then after Fidelity Investments … I became a manager of the training department. .... Then when I went to Bose Corporation, I was hired as a sales trainer and program manager - kind of a dual role and that - was one of the reasons I liked that role. Going to Bose, I've always been a believer in learning as much as you can and like doing different things. … Part of my role there, too, as a program manager with the performance consulting improving the performance, not only of individuals as a trainer, but of the organization. So I was working on process improvement initiatives. One of the initiatives that worked out in one of the corporations was a $30 million business development fund. They were trying to figure out more effective uses of the investments they weren't getting a return on. So I met with sales folks, and the operations folks and figured out what some of the issues were. I was able to come up with some solutions and solve some of the business problems that they were having. … In my first job really out of college, I was working at American Airlines sales and service and then at a cargo airline down in Miami where I was a flight dispatcher. … During the training role, one of the things both at Fidelity and Bose was I loved the teaching part of it. … I started working on my doctorate because I figured - for a retirement strategy - I'd be able to teach at universities. … So I started here in 2009. The 15 years have just flown by. It's just amazing. I love working with the students here. We've got a great group of faculty, particularly in the Department of Marketing - Dr. Rahman, Dr. Tohidinia, Professor Karat, and Dr. Krings, but also my colleagues in the College of Business. I landed in a really nice spot at a small university. I like small. I get to know the students really well in class.


What are your hobbies?

I love to fly. I am a private pilot, not commercially. It's such an exhilarating experience. The learning process was amazing as well. … So flying is a really big hobby. I like to ski. I used to do all kinds of sports. I was a three-sport athlete in high school. I did two different sports in college, and played in the old men's league when I was 30. … I follow our athletic teams here. … I have to say my other hobby right now is watching horror movies. And that's primarily because my son loves horror movies. So it's a really nice father-son bonding. I've been doing it since he was little. I just love being around him and he is such a great kid. … So that's a lot of fun. I have to say my dog Dobby - I love walking with my dog. And taking walks with my wife, we always take walks and that's kind of a hobby.


Do you have any advice for students?


I would say try different things. Try to be present and be in the moment as much as you can. Particularly in this day and age with cell phones and other things. I think we miss so much going on around us. But try to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you and a lot of you just may not even know it. Talk to people. Talk to your faculty members. Talk to your friends. Talk to the administrators here. My experience has been people are more than willing to help if someone comes and asks them for help. So take people up on the offer. And it's a great way to meet people, to experience new things.


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