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SP Jain’s Associate Dean of the Global MBA Talks NeuroMarketing

Professor Ianna Contardo also discusses what makes the SP Jain Global MBA unique and what she thinks of the Harvard Business School Case Method

By  Harriet Murdoch

Sun Nov 20 2011

The SP Jain Institute of Management and Research is in Mumbai, India with global campuses in Singapore, Dubai and Sydney. We spoke to Professor Ianna Contardo, the Dean of the Global MBA and expert on NeuroMarketing.

You are Associate Dean of the Global MBA at SP Jain in Dubai – what makes this Global MBA different?

What is so unique about S P Jain Center of Management draws on the strengths of the location of its campuses – Singapore, Dubai and now soon coming up, Sydney – which create a constellation of commercial hubs where cultural differences, first-hand lessons and interaction with local best practices can be witnessed directly by our participants. Each participant will spend a semester in both of the two operating premises, meaning they will acquire a deeper personal growth fostered by an enriching, practical and moral environment.

What kind of student is on the SP Jain Global MBA?

On average they are in their mid twenties, but have already at least three years of work experience and would have achieved a high GMAT score above the 670. In addition, they super specialize in any of these five disciplines: Finance, Information Technology, Supply Chain Management, Marketing or Consulting.

The intellectual motivation needs to be present at all times. Why would you join an Indian Business School with Asian footprints and Middle Eastern achievements if you were not a curious, creative, innovative and inspirational individual with interdisciplinary and current interests in the social sciences?

What is NeuroMarketing?

Well, Steve Jobs said “stay hungry and foolish”; the new that no one saw, that which was there but could not be touched or grabbed, that is what this upcoming and fast spreading discipline is all about. Neuro-Marketing is the fun part of all we do. It is the study of the “market” where all decisions are made, all directions devised and all thoughts are created: it is the understanding of that amazing and phenomenal place sitting between one ear and the other. It is the sustaining of relationships between the “brain”, yours, mine and so on, with new fancy technologies but also with revolutionizing frameworks allowing practitioners to finally get deep into the mind of their consumers and of the phenomena surrounding and supporting their endeavors.

What work are your team undertaking at the NeuroMarketing Centre?

The Centre is again constructed under the premise of collaboration rather than conspiration. It uses the open system approach. For example, Prof Chris, Senior Vice President of S P Jain ideated the CMEMP (Council for Middle East Marketing Professionals) initiative; Dr. Bala, Dean of the Executive MBA bridged the cultural divide and invited participants from CUOA in Vicenza to attend Workshops in Dubai on luxury and its destiny; the IE Business School sent a delegation of twenty to re-visit the numerous verticals in India, a country with infinite opportunities and serious business tycoons, in a program guided by Prof Raja; GMBA participants from all horizons have researched and published material relating to the different topics like irrational sustainability, ethical materialism, free and better duty stores, happy noses and roses; and finally, alliances geared towards events with the corporate world engage stakeholders at numerous levels and enable learning to percolate.

Your PhD from thesis was "Going Out of Business: A Critical Reading of the Harvard Business School Case Method and Cases". What are your thoughts on Harvard Business School?

Maybe Harvard Business School should be criticized and put in the criminal seat, obviously in the metaphorical sense of the words. There are some who firmly believe it was the instigator of a mentality that brought upon us the doom period of recession. Others still see it as a house of knowledge that predates the learning of those who act rather than think. But courage is one element of the equation and wisdom another not only necessary, but also complementary part of it.

Accordingly, if you are speaking about and of the iconic business school of the West, you need to retrieve from the archives the numerous manuscripts in which the so-called culprits would have left some cues… It came again as an epiphany. It was already six months into the doctorate and I felt no way like a doctor. On the contrary, I started suffering from the syndrome of the patient. What is wrong with me? Where shall I find the right research question? How is success explainable unless you capture the depth of the treasure trove? In this daunting introspection it occurred to me that one simple reading key would shed light onto the whole phenomenon. After all, what are business cases about? Because none of the explanations really satisfied me, I figured it out in a dream-like state that probably cases as narratives are nothing else but the best representation of where we, as a nation, as a community, as a business entity stand in this globe.

They are nothing else but mirrors. Mirrors in which the reflection of images can be ascertained, perfected, framed and exhibited, but also digitized and modified, shared on Facebook or erased to be re-written again. It is the preservation of those images that make us human – whether in a cave, in a modern museum, in a household on your computer screen or in your most cherished memories. That is what learning is all about: seeing the reflection, having a case genre that is unique and generating robust discussions around those “stories” to achieve training of the mind, of the attitude of the mind, and at the same time completely transforming the narrative from your own perspective.