Around the World and Back to Syracuse

Scott Lathrop, professor of marketing practice at the Whitman School, has traveled to more than 27 countries, taught at Harvard University and counseled major corporations, but that doesn’t discourage him from pursuing new talents or experiences.

“I enjoy playing golf, the trumpet and keyboard, although I am quite awful at each of them,” admitted Lathrop.

An expert in marketing, corporate strategy, new product development and managerial decision making, Professor Lathrop began his undergraduate career studying biology and economics. He later developed a passion for marketing, while earning his MBA at Cornell University. After working for a few years as a consumer products brand manager, he returned to Cornell, earned a doctorate in marketing and cognitive studies and joined the faculty at the Harvard Business School.

“My decision to accept the professor position at Harvard led me on an extraordinary journey spanning over a decade in Boston,” said Lathrop.

That journey included working as a strategy consultant for corporations like Ocean Spray CranberriesExxonMobilUnited Airlines and Caterpillar, and serving as a marketing professor at the International School of Management in Paris, France. Ultimately, the journey led him back to Syracuse in 2006.

“That was 10 wonderful and rewarding years ago…and I’m still delighted to be at Whitman,” said Lathrop.

Since returning, Dr. Lathrop has taken an active role at Whitman as a professor, faculty advisor, teaching committee member and masters’ board member. He teaches undergraduateMBAMBA@Syracuse and Defense Comptrollership classes. During the summer, he serves as a visiting professor at Sejong University in South Korea.

Lathrop’s research focuses on how consumers make decisions, and how their decisions sometimes don’t seem ‘rational’. He’s also interested in how marketers can use this knowledge to improve people’s decisions and enhance their quality of life.

In class, Professor Lathrop strives to teach students how to become well-rounded professionals and how to apply complex concepts and theories to real-world scenarios.

“Learning isn’t always a cakewalk,” said Lathrop. “It’s a little like being thrown into the deep end of the pool without floaties. But the better you are at identifying problems and finding solutions, the more valuable you’ll be to employers, and the more successful you’ll be in life.”

Above all, interactions with students bring Dr. Lathrop the most satisfaction.

“Once in a while, a student will thank me and tell me they learned a lot in my class,” said Lathrop. “Some send emails even years after graduating to thank me. That’s absolutely the best. That’s what keeps me motivated. It’s a great feeling.”

Catie Jones