Embrace Every Opportunity: Professor Anna Fiorentino

Born on the island of Capri, Italy, Professor Anna Fiorentino joined JCU’s Department of Business Administration in 2020. She holds a master’s degree in Management of Innovation and a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a focus on marketing and cognitive psychology.

Tell us about your background.
During my Ph.D. I was a visiting student at Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Business in France, where I pursued my interest in service marketing. After my doctorate, I started my career in marketing in international companies and later I spent 16 years as a marketing consultant at McKinsey. I then worked for three years for a boutique company focusing on learning and development. In 2019 I took a role as Project Leader for Program Innovation at a major private university in Rome, and while working there, I started teaching at JCU in 2020 and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Anna Fiorentino
Anna Fiorentino

How did you become passionate about marketing?
My journey into the realm of marketing stemmed from my academic pursuits in consumer behavior and cognitive science. I developed a fascination with understanding human behavior, cognition, and decision-making processes. As I delved deeper into these fields, I recognized the intricate interplay between psychology and marketing—the art of influencing consumer behavior and shaping perception. My academic exploration provided me with a solid foundation in comprehending the underlying psychological mechanisms driving consumer choices, which ignited my curiosity about the dynamic world of professional marketing.

Furthermore, my diverse professional background, including stints as a management consultant, exposed me to the practical applications of marketing strategies in various industries. Through these experiences, I witnessed firsthand the transformative power of effective marketing in driving business growth, fostering brand loyalty, and creating meaningful connections with audiences. Ultimately, it was this convergence of academic intrigue and real-world applicability that sparked my passion for marketing. I am inspired by the opportunity to leverage my interdisciplinary insights and expertise to craft compelling narratives, design innovative campaigns, and create impactful experiences that resonate with consumers on a profound level.

Tell us about your research interests. What projects are you currently working on?
My interests in marketing are multifaceted, spanning various domains including brand management, neuromarketing, service marketing, B2B marketing, and sales. Over the course of my career, I’ve delved into diverse facets of marketing, each offering unique insights into consumer behavior and market dynamics.

In recent projects, I’ve been particularly intrigued by the intricate relationship between customer satisfaction and behavior. Through rigorous research and analysis, I’ve endeavored to uncover the underlying emotional, psychological, and cognitive aspects that drive customers to remain loyal to a brand and become advocates for it. By understanding the nuanced mechanisms at play, I’ve been able to develop a model aimed at fostering a deeper understanding of customers’ behavioral responses to satisfaction with service encounters.

Currently, my focus has shifted towards investigating the phenomenon of greenwashing within the marketing landscape. Greenwashing, the deceptive practice of portraying a company or its products as environmentally friendly, not only undermines trust in a brand but also carries significant civil and criminal consequences. By shedding light on the detrimental effects of greenwashing, I aim to raise awareness about the importance of authenticity and transparency in marketing practices. Moreover, I seek to explore how companies can adopt sustainable and ethical approaches to marketing, not only to safeguard their reputation but also to contribute positively to society and the environment.

What made you decide to leave the consulting world and become a university professor?
During my Ph.D. studies, I was captivated by the vibrant intellectual environment of academia, where rigorous inquiry and scholarly discourse dominate. Immersed in the realm of research, I found myself drawn to the exhilarating process of discovery and the opportunity to contribute to the collective body of knowledge in my field. It was during this time that my passion for academia was ignited, fueled by the sheer joy of uncovering new insights and engaging in thought-provoking discussions with peers and mentors.

Witnessing the transformation of my students, as they delve into the intricacies of my chosen field and develop a deep-seated passion for the subject matter, has been incredibly rewarding. The opportunity to serve as a mentor and guide, offering insights, advice, and encouragement, has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career. It brings me immense joy to see students embrace their intellectual curiosity, cultivate their skills, and emerge as empowered individuals poised to make a meaningful impact in their respective fields.

What is your teaching philosophy and what would you like students to take away from your classes? What have you learned from your experience as a professor?
My teaching philosophy revolves around bridging the gap between theory and practice, drawing from my 25 years of professional experience to enrich the learning journey of my students. I firmly believe that by providing tangible examples from real-world scenarios, I can illustrate the relevance of theoretical concepts and methodologies. This approach resonates deeply with students, as they gain insights into how theories translate into actionable strategies and solutions in various professional contexts.

What I strive for most is to equip my students with a robust methodological toolkit coupled with a readiness for the demands of the job market. Beyond imparting theoretical knowledge, I aim to cultivate critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and a proactive mindset essential for success in today’s dynamic workplace. Through a mix of interactive and constructive learning, I foster a collaborative environment where students actively engage with course materials, participate in discussions, and apply concepts to real-world scenarios. By fostering a learning environment that encourages hands-on application and experiential learning, I empower students to navigate the complexities of the professional world with confidence and competence.

Through my experience as a professor, I’ve learned the immense value of adaptability and the importance of staying attuned to the evolving needs of students and the industry. Each class presents a unique opportunity for growth and learning, both for myself and my students. As I continue to refine my teaching methods and incorporate feedback from students, I remain committed to fostering a transformative educational experience that prepares students not only for academic success but also for fulfilling and impactful careers.

What advice would you give to students studying Marketing, and who wish to pursue a career in this field?
First and foremost, it’s crucial for students to build a strong foundation of marketing principles and skills. They should develop proficiency in areas such as market research, consumer behavior, digital marketing, and analytics, as they are essential competencies sought after by employers across various industries. I would also encourage marketing students to cultivate a curious and open mindset. In a field as dynamic and ever-evolving as marketing, being receptive to new approaches, emerging trends, and innovative strategies is essential for staying ahead of the curve. I would encourage them to embrace every opportunity to explore different facets of marketing, whether it’s through coursework, internships, or extracurricular activities.

Secondly, I would advise students to be proactive in seeking out opportunities that help them acquire marketing experience, even if the first job is not their dream job. Every experience offers valuable insights, skills, and networking opportunities that can contribute to growth and development in the field. Each opportunity should be approached with passion, dedication, and a willingness to learn, as it will pave the way for future career paths and opportunities.

Additionally, I would encourage students to actively seek out mentorship and guidance from seasoned professionals in the field. Networking, both online and offline, can open doors to valuable connections, mentorship opportunities, and potential job prospects. They shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to professionals in their desired industry or join industry-specific groups and organizations to expand their network and gain insights from experienced practitioners.