A Career Filled with Star Power

Tridib Mazumdar, director of the Earl V. Snyder Innovation Management Center and the Howard R. Gendal Professor of Marketing at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, has spent nearly 10 years examining stars, movie stars that is, as part of his research on the marketing of motion pictures.

Professor Mazumdar received his undergraduate degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, and MBA from Virginia Tech. During his MBA studies, Professor Mazumdar worked as a research assistant and co-authored a paper with his professor on financial structures in pricing decisions, an interface between finance and marketing. According to Professor Mazumdar, these experiences sparked his passion for marketing and led him to pursue another degree from Virginia Tech. After completing his Ph.D. in marketing in 1987, Professor Mazumdar joined the faculty of the Whitman School.

“Syracuse University was an overall a good choice, both in terms of academics and having a family,” explained Professor Mazumdar. “The faculty support was great. I had visited other places but never really thought of looking for other opportunities.”

At the Whitman School, Professor Mazumdar teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses where he focuses on helping students understand marketing research, pricing strategies and management. Professor Mazumdar has also served as a visiting professor at Kellogg, Dartmouth, Cornell and George Washington University.

“I think the most rewarding aspect of teaching is interacting with the students, especially during projects,” said Professor Mazumdar. “I have actual real-life projects that students work on, so when I interact with them as a team or even one-on-one I learn a lot from them.”

Professor Mazumdar credits one of his students for inspiring him to explore the movie industry.

“I became very fascinated by the whole movie industry after one of my doctoral students suggested we do research on the star power effect,” explained Professor Mazumdar.

According to Professor Mazumdar, only about 20 to 30 percent of movies really make money. Their research findings concluded that having a star does not have a significance on the opening week box office. But, stars do have an effect on distribution.

“The movies with stars are much more widely distributed, so it has kind of an indirect effect because of the higher distribution,” said Professor Mazumdar.

Professor Mazumdar’s work has been published in numerous journals including, Marketing Letters: A Journal of Research in Marketing and Management Science. However, motion picture marketing is not Professor Mazumdar’s only research interest. Professor Mazumdar also researches product concept demonstrations in trade shows, bidding strategies, healthcare marketing and more. He is currently working on a paper that is related to marketing in the cruise industry.

Arielle Spears