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April 22, 2010 Volume 31, No. 28

Srinath Gopalakrishna

Srinath Gopalakrishna

Srinath Gopalakrishna, professor of marketing, David and Judy O’Neal MBA Professor, Trulaske College of Business

Teaching is a privilege, Srinath Gopalakrishna says. “I enjoy working with young minds, adapting my instruction style based on the needs of the class and listening to and learning from the students as we jointly enter the boundaries of knowledge,” he says. “When those students, long after they have taken my course, send me an e-mail, surprise me with a phone call or simply stop by my office to convey their appreciation, the sense of fulfillment seems well worth the effort.”

Students’ comments on the end-of-semester evaluations usually offer glowing tributes to Gopalakrishna’s enthusiasm and the manner in which he stimulates their interest in the topic. They praise the marketing professor’s in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, for challenging them to think outside the box and for making each class interesting as well as informative. “Dr. Gopalakrishna leads each class with a passion and excitement that comes through in his body language, in the timbre of his voice and even in flashes of excitement from his eyes,” one student writes. “I have never experienced a teacher’s ability to create such anticipation and awe in the academic subject matter as Srinath. In a word, he is captivating.”

A believer in collaborative education, Gopalakrishna brings business mangers into his classroom as guest lecturers, and he involves his students in real-world projects aimed at solving actual business problems. For example, in a class project for Shelter Insurance Cos., students developed statistical analyses regarding the impact of sales contests to motivate agents in selling life insurance products. The research resulted in a redesign of sales contests and improved customer value. Shelter’s experience with Gopalakrishna in this and other shared projects had a major influence on its decision to endow a teaching award in the marketing department, says David Moore, president and CEO.