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Alumni

Duet: On the Ball

  • Pat Morden
  • |
  • Sep 5, 2017

Soccer fans Neil Bendle and Xin (Shane) Wang work together to create new insights on key marketing issues

Duet: On the Ball

Neil Bendle and Shane Wang, Assistant Professors of Marketing, are citizens of the world – having lived, worked, and taught around the globe. They are friends, collaborators, and huge soccer fans (although Shane cheers for Arsenal and Neil is a West Ham man).

After two degrees in ancient history, Neil trained as an accountant and worked with the U.K. Labour Party. An MBA led to an academic career, and an interest in marrying accounting and marketing.

Born in China, Shane did his undergrad in France, and worked as a programmer in the Netherlands and a statistician in Seattle. He holds a Masters in statistics and a PhD in marketing.

Why Ivey?

Shane: I want to connect my quantitative skills to the real business world, to bridge the gap between academic and industry. Ivey is one of the best schools for helping researchers connect to industry.

Neil: We’re both fairly eclectic with a range of different skills to share, and we both care about getting through to decision makers, people who aren’t academics. The interdisciplinary approach at Ivey is good for that.

In two sentences, describe your research program and why it matters.

Neil: I’m interested in understanding what marketing does and how we know it does it. Being able to account for marketing means managers can get more value for what they’re doing and serve customers better.

Shane: My work uses technology to get valuable information from data, so that we can listen to the real voice of consumers. I want to bridge the gap between the firm and the consumer.

You have worked together on several articles and have written about co-authorship. Why does it work for you?

Shane: Co-authors should complement one another’s skills. With Neil and me, for example, I can handle the modelling part, and Neil brings the business perspective. Personality is important too. I’m pretty direct, and Neil is the perfect person to handle the criticism!

Neil: We both have eclectic backgrounds and understand that there are different ways of doing things. We also share a drive to get things done.

What’s your favourite business book?

Neil: Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions by Gerd Gigerenzer and Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics by Richard Thaler.

Shane: Business is moving too fast. I don’t read business books: I read the news.

Who is the top business leader today?

Shane: Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei Technologies. He doesn’t try to do too many things, just focuses on being the best in his field.

Neil: I’ll pass on this one. We don’t really know what’s going on inside a business. The last thing I want to do is say this guy is great, and then have it turn out that he isn’t!

What’s your best advice for any marketing manager?

Shane: Listen to the voice of consumers.

Neil: Test what you know: don’t assume you know it.

What’s your second career choice, if you weren’t an academic?

Shane: Working at or launching a tech company.

Neil: Running a not-for-profit.

Photo: Nation Wong 
Art Direction: Greg Salmela, Aegis