Marketing prof wins distinguished teaching competition

According to Kai-Yu Wang, individuals need to be versatile and willing to take on challenges in an ever-changing business world.

As a result, the Professor and Chair of the Marketing, International Business and Strategy Department at the Goodman School of Business focuses on helping students develop key character traits in his courses to ensure their future success.

This teaching philosophy and his contribution to marketing education recently saw him recognized as winner of the 2022 Society for Marketing Advances (SMA) Distinguished Teaching Competition. The Goodman scholar is the third Canadian professor to win the competition since its inception 24 years ago.

Although he originally applied and was selected as a finalist last year, Wang was unable to travel at the time due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, he had the opportunity to defer his qualification to 2022.

The 2022 SMA Annual Conference gathered business professors from across the globe in Charlotte, North Carolina, from Nov. 2 to 5. That’s where Wang conducted a 20-minute presentation on his teaching philosophy titled, “The Business Educator as an Architect: Creating Bridges that Connect Academia and Real-World Business.”

“As a marketing professor, I consider myself an architect. I co-create blueprints with students for their future career,” he explained.

Wang said that, in his courses, there are four cornerstones: trust, humanity, challenge-taking and perseverance. It’s his goal to have students build these character traits because they are important for an individual’s success.

“On top of these four cornerstones, I build three pillars, so that means instructors, students and community partners work together to give students an experiential learning process,” he said.

Wang, one of three finalists, delivered his presentation Nov. 3 and then answered questions from three judges — all previous winners — and the audience made up of fellow marketing professors. The finalists were required not only to present their work and its impact but also to demonstrate their strength as a teacher.

The experience was unique, Wang said, “because you are not just teaching to students, you have to pretend that those marketing professors are your students.”

The following day, conference attendees gathered at the event’s awards luncheon, where Wang was announced the winner.

“I did not expect to win the competition,” Wang said, as he was selected to compete among other finalists with strong, international profiles. “I was thrilled to hear my name.”

The achievement has encouraged Wang to reflect on his passion for teaching marketing.

He said the most enjoyable part of being a professor is knowing the positive impact you have on students.

Using experiential education as a powerful tool in his teaching, Wang also hopes that impact can be extended beyond the classroom, creating positive change the community as well.

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