Johnson Professor Vithala R. Rao Named Fellow of American Marketing Association

Rao recognized for scholarly contributions to marketing discipline and service

Johnson Professor Vithala R. Rao Named Fellow of American Marketing Associationinline-block

Vithala R. Rao, Deane W. Malott Professor of Management and professor of marketing at Johnson at Cornell University has been named an American Marketing Association (AMA) Fellow. The honor recognizes scholars for significant contributions to the research, theory, and practice of marketing, and/or to the service and activities of the AMA over a prolonged period of time. Rao will be inducted as a fellow at the Winter Marketing Academic Conference in February 2016.

Rao has been a consistent and innovative contributor to marketing research and theory for 45 years, said Sachin Gupta, Henrietta Johnson Lewis Professor of Management, professor of marketing, and director of graduate studies at Johnson.  

“I admire two aspects of his scholarship and personality most,” Gupta said. “First is his dedication to the training and development of Ph.D. students. When I was a doctoral student I benefited from Vithala’s advice on teaching, research and career related issues. Since then, my own Ph.D. students have sought his counsel on many occasions. Second, Professor Rao is always very generous with his time.”

In 2012, Rao earned one of the top honors in the marketing field, when he received the Fellow Award of the INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences) Society for Marketing Science.  He is one of 23 scholars to be honored with the award, since it began in 2008, and he was the first named from Cornell University.

Rao is one of only eight to be recognized with both the INFORMS Fellow Award and the AMA Fellowship.

Three criteria are considered in selecting fellows of the AMA, which publishes three top academic journals in the marketing and public policy disciplines. Contributions to marketing scholarship are the most important criterion considered in the evaluation process. A nominee’s research should have had a major impact on marketing thought, theory, education, practice or other research. Creativity and innovation are the second criteria. These may take a variety of forms, such as in the development of new marketing theories or ways to analyze or utilize data.

Service and participation within AMA represents the third criteria. Nominees must be members of the AMA in good standing, and with a history of contributions and participation. These contributions can include editing AMA journals, AMA editorial review board membership, conference or track chairs at an AMA conference, and similar.

Rao has published more than 135 papers on marketing topics, including conjoint analysis and multidimensional scaling, pricing, bundle design, brand equity, market structure, corporate acquisition and linking branding strategies to financial performance. His current work includes competitive bundling, diffusion of attribute information for new products, and trade promotions. His papers have appeared in the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Management Science, Journal of Marketing, and Journal of Consumer Research, among others.

Rao received the 2008 Charles Coolidge Parlin Marketing Research Award presented by the American Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association Foundation recognizing his “outstanding leadership and sustained impact on advancing the evolving profession of marketing research over an extended period of time.”

Rao joined Johnson at Cornell University in 1970, after earning his PhD in applied economics and marketing from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School. He has been a visiting professor at the Yale School of Management, Columbia Business School, and Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Wharton School, and others. He currently teaches marketing strategy to MBA students and leads a doctoral seminar in quantitative marketing models for PhD students.

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