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PHD Marketing, Graduate School of Business

Updated: Jan 25


For various reasons, I find consumer behavior fascinating and the professional area of study where I hope to make my mark. This is why I plan to earn a Ph.D. Degree in Marketing to help meet consumer demand to the extent to which it is possible. XXXX is my first choice because of the sheer excellence of your program and its location. I feel that I am the best fit with XXXX and ask for the opportunity to demonstrate my capacity to give my all and think creatively about the burning issues of my day, especially as they relate to the challenges we face in Marketing.


Research Interests

I could not be more excited about consumer behavior. I often read myself to sleep at night, sharpening the edge of my understanding of that behavior, the most creative ideas emerging in the literature, etc. While sometimes, I place extra effort on one aspect of consumer behavior, a particular case study, such as new jeans manufactured to look old and well used. Generally speaking, I spend most of my energy rising above particularities or peculiarities in the details, or exceptions to the norms, to focus on developing an enhanced understanding of the dynamics of the models themselves, the common ground that exists in terms of consumer behavior, generally speaking,


Many of the many journal articles in Marketing I read as an undergraduate student were authored by faculty members at XXXX University. I am currently the driving force behind two independent research projects. My current research projects have sparked my interest in exploring the following areas: Appeal of Age and Wear and Signaling Expertise through Tainted Products. I look forward to finding new topics to work on that challenge me as a graduate student to go that extra mile under the tutelage of some of the finest faculty in Marketing in the world at XXXX University.


Especially at first glance, Gold Goose shoes looked to me much like something that a homeless person might wear. This clashes with great force against the price tag of US$500.00. Why would somebody pay this kind of money for what at least looks to be worn out? From Professors Xing Zhang and Minjung Koo, I have learned that for products requiring skill to use, taintedness reflects the owner’s frequency of use, which is evidence of their performance expertise. This project has sparked my interest in exploring several related questions: (1) how we portray ourselves through our choices, (2) how we make inferences about others based on their choices, and (3) what factors can influence the accuracy of others’ assumptions.


Primarily concerned with consumer experience and satisfaction, I explore what motivated consumers to share their experiences with others, especially on social media: How Perceived Control Shapes Satisfaction with Promotional Games. I am also investigating why many of us share our failures and triumphs on social media. This year, 2020, for example, many of my social media acquaintances have been triumphantly sharing photos of their baking failures during quarantine; why?


Engaging in ongoing research in support of investigations by Professors XXXX and XXXX, exploring how consumers’ perceived control over the outcome of promotional games affects their satisfaction with the retailer, I study a range of issues relating to how consumers frequently encounter and participate in retail promotions involving probabilistic rewards (e.g., scratch-off tickets, sweepstakes). Prior research found that if consumers have control or even an illusion of control over the random game outcome, they will be less likely to blame the company for adverse outcomes. Surprisingly, positive outcome effects often lower the level of satisfaction with the company, while harmful consequences frequently result in customer retention. Thus, it seems clear that active choice increases a feeling of responsibility for the outcome while reducing perceptions of a retailer’s fault. Conversely, many positive effects also result in a reduction of positive feelings toward the retailer.


I look forward to exploring how consumer research can help reap broad and highly significant rewards for corporations and society. I won't learn how to help entities make better choices and engage successfully with social causes. How does a cheat day help motivate individuals to achieve their diet goals in the long run, or how can we convince people to subscribe to green produce delivery to save our planet, despite being more costly? I am working with Professor XXXX on a project exploring how two persuasive appeals (express support vs. make a difference) activate discrete motives, which can help charitable organizations design effective campaigns to target potential donors. While performing literature searches for this project, I became curious about what motivates us to behave virtuously. I am interested in exploring how the presence of others influences our decision to perform good deeds. For instance, would we be more likely to signal our virtues to close friends or strangers?


Research Experience and Skills

Becoming a Ph.D. student at XXXX University will set me on track to realizing my long-term career goal of becoming a Marketing professor. My decision to pursue a doctoral degree in Marketing did not occur overnight. Instead, it has been a tireless endeavor. As an undergraduate Research Assistant in the Attention and Perception Lab at XXXX University, I worked with Professor XXXX on a year-long project investigating how high-fat foods capture attention. I was fascinated by how insight from cognitive psychology can serve as a key to unlocking questions about consumer choice. To further immerse me in consumer behavior research, I decided to join the Kellogg School of Management as an assistant behavioral lab manager. There, I had the unique opportunity to learn by example from close oversight by the faculty of many projects in various stages of development and eventually published in leading marketing and psychology journals. I learned how to articulate research questions, generate experiments to test hypotheses and communicate study objectives to the research team. I also volunteered as a research assistant for Professor XXXX. I gained hands-on experience collecting and coding field data for a project investigating how self-concept affects moral behavior.


As a predoctoral trainee at the XXXX Graduate School of Business, I am the driving force behind two independent research projects. My current projects were formulated through participating in weekly doctoral-level seminars focusing on recent publications in leading marketing and psychology journals. I reviewed previous literature to identify unexplored areas, proposed ideas for future experiments, developed stimuli and measures, and conducted data collection on multiple platforms. For example, I initiated one field experiment where I posed as a café employee to collect data. While completing these projects, I have also strengthened my troubleshooting skills. Disappointing outcomes did not deter me. I tried different analyses to identify why results often ended up different from what had been expected and how to improve the following experiment.


Career Objectives

My central career goal is to become a professor and to continue to make my contribution to the field of consumer beta continue to contribute. I look forward to collaborating with other highly motivated scholars and mentoring students of my own. And I would like to embark on my Ph.D. journey at XXXX University, where I will be able to learn from the best of the best.


I thank you for taking the time to consider my application.


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