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New Ivey faculty: Prashant Rajaram

  • Communications
  • |
  • Aug 23, 2021
New Ivey faculty: Prashant Rajaram

Ivey welcomes 12 new faculty members to campus! To help you get to know our new colleagues, we asked each of them a list of questions about their academic – and personal – interests.

Get to know: Prashant Rajaram

Prashant Rajaram is a new Assistant Professor of Marketing at Ivey whose teaching interests involve Marketing Management, Marketing Analytics and Digital Marketing. He will start by teaching Marketing Management to the HBAs. Rajaram has a PhD in Marketing from Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; an MBA in Marketing from Schulich School of Business, York University; and a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. He also brings industry experience in marketing and sales gained through working for Capgemini, ventureLAB, PepsiCo, and Bharat Petroleum.

Q&A with Prashant Rajaram

What is the most important thing business executives can learn from your research/area of expertise?

My research interests lie in understanding and documenting the experiential consumption of digital products and media. I do this by implementing causal and/or interpretable machine learning methods on behavioural data. In one paper, I find the sweet spot of ad targeting on streaming media that balances the interest of the viewer (content consumption) with that of the platform (ad exposure). I find there exists a sweet spot of “short ad lengths that are equally spaced at long intervals,” which simultaneously benefits both the viewer and the platform. Platforms can use this information to refine ad delivery for existing viewers and as a starting point for new viewers. In another paper, I identify the elements (across text, audio, and images) in YouTube influencer videos that are associated with an increase in viewer appeal using a novel interpretation strategy that eliminates several spurious relationships. I find that brand mentions, especially of consumer electronics and video game brands, in the first 30 seconds of a video are associated with an increase in “attention” to the brand, but a decrease in sentiment in the comments for the video. Influencers and brands can use insights from this paper to refine video design and more efficiently test for causal effects in a field setting. 

Where did you grow up and what was it like there?

I grew up in a city called Vadodara (Baroda) in Western India. Known as the city of art, culture, and banyan trees, it is a beautiful mid-sized city. All of its major locations are a 15-minute drive away from the city centre. I have fond memories of completing my schooling and undergraduate education there. 

Who have been your strongest influences in life?

My parents, wife, close friends, schoolteachers, academic mentors, and research advisors. 

What led you to your career?

The realization that the life of an academic involves becoming an intellectual entrepreneur was the most exciting thing ever. This is what primarily motivated me to pursue a PhD and become an academic. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

In my spare time, I enjoy playing with my baby, trying out new board games, binge-watching TV shows, and learning more about astrophysics.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I enjoy playing board games, and have a small collection of more than 15 games.

What is the most played song on your playlist as of now?

I love listening to the Indian Raga playlist on Spotify. 

What book would you recommend to others? On the personal side?

On the personal side – J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which I find is one of the best pieces of creative writing that combines magic and time travel. 

On the business side?

On the business side, I would recommend the Nobel Prize-winning article “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk” by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, which is very relatable to our everyday lives.