Professor Baba Shiv, a professor of marketing and a Stanford Graduate School of Business Trust Faculty Fellow for 2008-2009, received the PhD Distinguished Service Award for his personal warmth, infectious enthusiasm, and motivational energy.
“His positivity can electro-shock back to life things that have started to seem stale, and in a way that reminds us, especially when wracked with doubt and self-questioning, why we thought they were interesting in the first place,” said doctoral student Abninder Litt.
Others also appreciated that Shiv fostered a greater sense of community among PhD students, generously volunteering even his family members’ time to student projects. Shiv was also praised as an “awesome teacher” who effectively straddles both the world of research and classroom with ease: “Besides teaching us how to think about ideas in a more holistic manner, he also taught us some invaluable lessons about the publication process.”
Excerpts and Highlights from Nominations for Professor Shiv
A general belief in the field is that if you are an outstanding researcher, you are generally just an “okay teacher.” I think Baba is a perfect example who proves this common belief in academia to be wrong. Not only is he an outstanding researcher, he is an awesome teacher. Not only did he make these seminars interesting for the consumer behavior students, but he also put in extra effort to make the seminars relevant and enjoyable for the “non-behavioral” students. He designs his syllabus in a way that we are encouraged to read relevant research from different fields. Besides teaching us how to think about ideas in a more holistic manner, he also taught us some invaluable lessons about the publication process. Thanks to him, I can now to a large degree anticipate the concerns reviewers might have and try to address those while working on the manuscripts.
I took Baba’s behavioral marketing research class and I enjoyed it immensely. Most of the was due to how he guided the class. From the point of view of a quant marketing student unfamiliar with the material, he did an excellent job making the course as meaningful and relevant to me as possible. He always took that extra step to clarify things for me and to relate it to the topics which I was interested in. In addition, I greatly appreciated the encouragement as well as guidance I received on the project for the class.
Baba is an enthusiastic teacher, whose enthusiasm rubs off on the students. He puts great effort into focusing the content of the course to what is most pertinent to the students. In PhD courses this manifests in great emphasis on learning the publication process. In MBA courses this manifests in his tying theoretical models to real marketing practices and strategies.
On Advising and Research
There are two core aspects of Baba’s ethos that are particularly central to his success as an advisor, and to which any PhD student should aspire. First, his incredible curiosity and genuine deftness with far-ranging fields of study really enriches the scope of what we have ability and desire to explore, and he actively connects his students in meaningful and productive collaborations with experts ranging from neuroscientists to economists to addiction researchers. And then, of course, there’s his incomparable and infectious enthusiasm. It’s not just that Baba contributes creative and deep insights in discussing ideas: his positivity can electro-shock back to life things that have started to seem stale, and in a way that reminds us, especially when wracked with doubt and self-questioning, why we thought they were interesting in the first place.
Baba generosity with his time is just a tiny part of what makes him an excellent mentor and colleague. There is also the breadth of his expertise, which ranges from economics to neuroscience, psychology, and of course marketing. Similarly, he takes great pleasure in interacting with anyone who is smart and interesting, regardless of their field. Baba brings an infectious sense of energy and enthusiasm to research. His excitement about ideas in general, and in turning good ideas into great ideas is inspiring and motivating to everyone around him. He approaches everything as possible, not in a vague “perhaps tomorrow” kind of a way, but rather by asking “what can we do to make this happen right now?”.
Having been a student in the Stanford PhD program before Baba arrived, I was able to clearly see the impact he had on the department. He introduced a greater sense of community amongst the PhD students, as well as the department at large.
Baba is warm, positive, energetic, and most of all enthusiastic. And that enthusiasm is infectious and is highly motivating to his students. Being an academic can be a tedious process, but his enthusiasm reminds students that it should be fun. And that enthusiasm and enjoyment of research and generating ideas is what drives his students to be productive.
In the realm of consumer behavior, Baba exhibited an amazingly deep and broad knowledge of the history and intimate back-stories of our field, which he wove into a coherent, compelling, and highly relevant story about the important trends shaping it today, and the key future trajectories of its evolution.