Alumnus named Marketing Legend for extraordinary career

Naresh Malhotra.

Not many people are deemed “legends” in their lifetime. Naresh K. Malhotra, PhD ’79, is one of the exceptions.

Malhotra, a distinguished scholar, was named a Marketing Legend in 2010 by the Academy of Marketing Science and the Sheth Foundation, based on his lifetime contributions to marketing research. As part of this honor, 117 of Malhotra’s journal articles were published in nine volumes by Sage Publications. He is one of only nine people worldwide to receive this distinction.

After earning his doctorate from the University at Buffalo School of Management in 1979, Malhotra spent 30 years on the faculty of the Georgia Tech College of Management, retiring in 2009 as a Regents’ Professor, the highest academic rank in the University System of Georgia.

Malhotra’s academic work has focused primarily on two areas, marketing research and consumer behavior, and he has published groundbreaking research in each.

In the area of marketing research, Malhotra has explored how to improve research methodologies to get more accurate results and to minimize the burdens on study participants. His work has led to new and improved procedures to conduct market research, including computer programs to help analyze data more efficiently.

His doctoral dissertation focused on consumer behavior and was the first research to show that too much information can result in poorer decisions by consumers, due to “information overload.” The dissertation was awarded Academy of Marketing Science’s top prize that year, the first of many honors Malhotra would receive throughout his career, including being named to Who’s Who in America and the World and several top researchers lists.

Malhotra’s dissertation advisor was Arun Jain, a School of Management “legend” in his own right, now the Samuel P. Capen Professor of Marketing Research.

“We became very good friends, and have remained so,” Malhotra says. Jain invited Malhotra to be a guest lecturer in the School of Management’s program in Singapore. Malhotra has taught summer sessions in the program since 2006. Malhtora also served as the inaugural speaker in the School of Management’s Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series. “I am very pleased and proud of my long association with the UB School of Management,” he says.

Malhotra and Jain have collaborated closely as co-chairs of the first International Conference on Marketing, to be held at the Indian Institute of Management/Lucknow in Noida, India, in January 2012. The conference will focus on the emerging market economies (EMEs) of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

While his research can fill nine volumes, “I believe teaching is very important,” Malhotra says. “That is why I have published several textbooks to encourage innovative teaching.” One of his textbooks, Marketing Research: An Applied Orientation, published by Prentice-Hall, is now in its sixth edition and has been translated into eight languages. It is used by more than 150 schools in the United States and 75 countries worldwide.

Now retired from full-time teaching, Malhotra continues to teach part time in both the School of Management’s Singapore Executive MBA program and as an affiliated faculty member in Singapore’s Nanyang Business School. An ordained minister of the Gospel, member and Deacon of the First Baptist Church, Malhotra also spends considerable time working in a Christian ministry program in Southeast Asia.

Written by Cathy Wilde