Abhishek Borah: Assistant professor of marketing, the Michael G. Foster School of Business, University of Washington, Seattle.

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Abhishek Borah is an assistant professor of marketing at the Michael G. Foster School of Business, University of Washington, Seattle. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California with a focus in quantitative marketing and econometrics. His dissertation was a finalist for the European Marketing Academy’s best paper based on a doctoral dissertation and received numerous awards. His research interests are in social media, internet marketing, and innovation. His research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Journal of Marketing Research and Marketing Science. His research has been referenced in outlets such as Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, and futurity.org. He has received funding for his research from the Marketing Science Institute and University of Southern California’s Center for Global Innovation.

He has presented his research at various universities in the world such as Harvard Business School, Wharton School of Business, London Business School, Erasmus University, HEC France, Bocconi University, and McGill University. Professor Borah sits on the editorial review board for Journal of Academy of Marketing Science and reviews papers for leading academic journals. He teaches Marketing Concepts and Social Media to MBA’s and Undergraduates at the Foster School of Business. He was nominated for the faculty of the Quarter/Year in Marketing at the Foster School of Business for 2014-2015. Prior to his PhD, he worked for McKinsey & Company where he was an expert on retail banking behavior in the Asia-Pacific. He is an avid long distance runner (12 marathons) and has picked up mountaineering since moving to Seattle. His last successful summit was Glacier Peak.

What do you do best?

I have been told that I am very easy going and have a strong sense of humility. I believe that every individual is great in her or his own way and has a positive trait that one can learn from. This belief has always led me to never overestimate my own capabilities and never underestimate others. Plus, growing up in India and seeing the immensity of people and my tryst with some mountaineering has made me realize how small we really are and thus made me more forgiving and appreciative of other people.

What makes you the best?

Curiosity, Tenacity and Creativity.

I have always been very curious. Growing up in the remote north-east of India, the TV was my window to the world. Watching BBC and all cable TV channels just made more curious to know what was happening in the world. This very curiosity drove me to take up quizzing during my undergraduate years and subsequently my PhD. I carry this curiosity with me to explore new questions for my research.

I never give up. I try my best to finish any work that I start. My line of work (academic research) involves a lot of downs and very, very few ups. So, I never let those downs affect my ultimate goal, which is to see an end to my work i.e., publication in a top academic journal.

I have a lot of interests apart from academic research. I love music, literature, and movies. From a very young age, I developed these varied interests over years and thus always try to bring in a creative perspective to my work that includes research and teaching.

How will you stay the best?

I try to keep up with what’s happening in my areas of interest by constantly learning about the latest trends. Plus, I put in a lot of effort to keep a solid habit. Habit of: reading the best, relevant, and interesting books/articles/content; listening to great music & podcasts; watching interesting movies and television; interacting with my peers and attending conferences; exercising daily (mental and physical). Mentally, I try to do crosswords and quizzes and read and analyze interesting content. Physically, I love distance running. As Haruki Murakami says, “Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life”.

Biggest success?

Getting a chance to do a PhD from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.

What are your aspirations?

Personal: I want to become an expert guitar player. I have a deep love of music and have played the guitar for a number of years but have never fully learnt the instrument.

Business: I want to be a great researcher and teacher in my field. Plus, help as many people as I possibly can by engaging in causes that I deeply care about such as education and poverty alleviation.

Most challenging moment?

I had a very difficult time due to a major illness during my PhD. Eventually, the storm passed but the illness gave me a lot of lessons.

What fascinates you?

Music. As Oliver Sacks puts it: “Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation”

Favorite Motto:

“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Favorite People:

There are 2 people:

Thom Yorke (Frontman of Radiohead) – For his creative energy and innovations.

Steve Waugh (Ex-cricket captain of Australia) – I grew up in the northeast of India and used to wake up at 3 am in the morning to watch test match cricket to just watch him bat through testing and difficult situations for Australia. He defines tenacity and grit to me.

Favorite Places:

Big Sur, California; Sabi Sand, South Africa; Munnar, India;

Favorite Products:

Some of my favorite products/apps are Uber, Evernote, Moleskine notepads.

Current Passions:

Learning Jazz Guitar.