Monika Kukar-Kinney (PhD), one of the University’s Distinguished Educators of 2010, brings real-world experience to the classroom and passion to her consumer-focused research in marketing.

Kukar-Kinney, who is from Slovenia where she earned her bachelor’s from the University of Ljubljana, first came to the United States during her senior year of college as an exchange student. Next, Kukar-Kinney attended Indiana University where she earned her master’s and doctoral degree in marketing.

Currently, Kukar-Kinney teaches several sections of two marketing courses in the Robins School- Marketing Research and Analysis (MKT 326) and Database Marketing (MKT 423). According to her, both course offerings share a focus in methodology.

“The overarching theme in both classes is research and analysis,” she said.

In her MKT 326 course, students get to participate in a semester-long research project where they design and facilitate a project for an actual small business client in the Richmond area.

“[Students in MKT 326] go through all the steps of the research process – they interview the client, conduct secondary research about the client’s industry and competition, conduct a focus group with the client’s current or potential customers, define a problem or opportunity that the client is facing, design a survey to gather information to help address the identified problem or opportunity, collect data from about 100 respondents, analyze it and provide final recommendations to the client based on their findings,” she explained.

Throughout the course, students gain invaluable experiential learning experience and exposure to real-world marketing research, according to her. The actual class time is structured to accommodate the semester-long project and arms students with the theoretical background necessary to complete their respective projects.

In Kukar-Kinney’s Database Marketing course, students analyze and familiarize themselves with various marketing problems utilizing marketing databases, survey data, and others. Students also become familiar with software like PASW (formerly SPSS), Excel, and Answer Tree.

“This class is basically an analytical skills course and nicely complements the skills and knowledge obtained in the Marketing Research course,” she said.

Outside of the classroom, Kukar-Kinney has conducted research and written on topics like consumer response to price, consumer online buying behavior, and compulsive buying.

“I have always been fascinated by how people make decisions and what influences their choices. While consumers are supposed to be rational, they do not always behave as rational human beings, and consumer research provides a complementary view of their behavior,” she explained.

Kukar-Kinney enjoys her research because she is constantly learning new things about herself and about consumers.

She said of the research process: “Designing a study about the phenomenon of interest, and then getting the data and figuring out what is actually happening.…It is a never-ending learning process through which I learn something new about others as well as myself every day. When we are collecting data, I literally can’t wait to get my hands on it and start analyzing it.”

Amid countless research and teaching accolades, Kukar-Kinney has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

Kukar-Kinney said that her professional goal is “To continue onward on the path I have set out to follow. Inspire students to be all they can be. Help them reach their potential. Keep discovering what drives consumers to behave the way they do.”