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The Accidental Scholar


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Table of Contents

Foreword Philip Kotler Preface Acknowledgments The Journey Begins My Family Business A Literal Change in Course Garnering Support for College Manufacturing or Bust Finding My Life Partner Graduate School and Marriage Discovering My Passion John Howard Takes Me under His Wing Madhu Comes to America An Invitation to the Indian Embassy Doctoral Exams amid Pitt's Financial Collapse Testing the Howard-Sheth Theory Columbia and MIT Mining the Library for Research Gold Contributing Howard-Sheth Theory Scholars Columbia's Scholarly Dream Team Obtaining My Green Card Defending My Dissertation at Pitt MIT and My First Tenure-track Position Publishing, Lifelong Friendships, and My First Car Networking Leads to Opportunities From Columbia to India and Back Returning to the Buyer Behavior Project Finalizing the Howard-Sheth Theory Key Columbia Colleagues Noteworthy Students Returning to India Teaching in Kolkata Major Research Projects Returning to Columbia A New Beginning Farewell to Important Colleagues and Friends Lure of Illinois Illinois: My Academic Life The Accidental Administrator Recruiting for Our "Field of Dreams" The Unconventional Approach Pays Off A New Challenge: Creating an Executive MBA Program Corporate Collaborations Proved Key New Opportunities via APA and ACR Looking to the Future Illinois: Travels at Home and Abroad Measuring the Howard-Sheth Theory Takes Priority Corporate Consulting Study Yields Real Results Diversion to Copenhagen Illinois: Professional Work and Departure The Institute for Advanced Technology Comes Calling The Start of My Publishing Career Leaving Illinois A Mid-life Crisis From Cornfields to Palm Trees Requesting a Leave of Absence Committee Work Expansion USC CTM and Atlanta The Telecom Center Venture Los Angeles Loses Its Appeal Why Move? New Challenges and a New Center Talent Recruitment for Emory Establishing the Center for Relationship Marketing Creating the Marketing Consulting Strategy Program Emory: Administration and Academics Committees Introduced Important Changes Leadership Changes Lead to New Emphasis Creating Emory's Doctoral Program My Professional Life Establishing IN-CORE More Publishing for the Professional Market Geoeconomics Business Book Review Breakthrough My Role as Corporate Board Member Remaining Active Saying Thanks by Giving Back The Sheth Foundation Supporting Eminent Scholars Madhu Is My Backbone Madhu's Resolve Epilogue Appendix-Publications Index

About the Author

Jagdish N. Sheth, Ph.D., is the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University, Goizueta Business School. He is known nationally and internationally for his scholarly contributions in consumer behavior, relationship marketing, competitive strategy, and geopolitical analysis. When he joined Emory's faculty in 1991, Professor Sheth had nearly 30 years of combined experience in marketing from the University of Southern California, the University of Illinois, Columbia University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Throughout his career, Professor Sheth has offered more than a thousand presentations in at least 20 countries. He has also provided consultancy for numerous companies in the United States, Europe, and Asia. His client list includes AT&T, BellSouth, Cox Communications, Delta, Ernst & Young, Ford, GE, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nortel, Pillsbury, Sprint, Square D, 3M, Whirlpool, and others. Currently, Professor Sheth sits on the Board of Directors of several public companies including Norstan, Cryo Cell International, and Wipro Limited. Professor Sheth's accolades include "Outstanding Marketing Educator," an award presented by the Academy of Marketing Science, the "Outstanding Educator" award twice-presented by Sales and Marketing Executives International, and the P.D. Converse Award for his outstanding contributions to theory in marketing, presented by the American Marketing Association. Professor Sheth is the recipient of the two highest awards given by the American Marketing Association: the Richard D. Irwin Distinguished Marketing Educator Award and the Charles Coolidge Parlin Award. In 1996, Professor Sheth was selected as the Distinguished Fellow of the Academy of Marketing Science. The following year, he was awarded the Distinguished Fellow award from the International Engineering Consortium. Professor Sheth is also a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (known as APA). In 2014, he was awarded the William Wilkie Award, Marketing for a Better World by the American Marketing Association. Professor Sheth has authored or coauthored hundreds of articles and books. In 2000, he and Andrew Sobel published the best seller, Clients for Life. In 2001, Value Space, which he coauthored with Banwari Mittal, was published. Professor Sheth's most popular book, The Rule of Three, was coauthored with Dr Rajendra Sisodia and published in 2002. He has since written notable publications: Tectonic Shift, Firms of Endearment, and The 4 A's of Marketing. John Yow has been Professor Sheth's researcher and writer for several of his books, including Tectonic Shift, Self Destructive Habits of Good Companies, and Chindia Rising. For the last few years, John has been writing books about birds including The Armchair Birder and The Armchair Birder Goes Coastal. He is currently working on a book about endangered birds. He and his wife Dede live in Paulding County, Georgia, USA.


The Accidental Scholar offers a vision of a life well-led and what can happen when you combine passion with hard work, principles, and adaptability. This is a profound work!

-- Marshall Goldsmith

"The Accidental Scholar is a fascinating history of ideas tracing the academic and professional journey of a world marketing and management legend, Dr Jagdish Seth. It is an inspiring book for marketing students and a must-read by any academic wishing to make a difference as a successful scholar and university leader."

-- Dr Tan Chin Nam

"Professor Jagdish Sheth is a brilliant and talented scholar in consumer behavior, strategy, and marketing theory. The most amazing part of the story is Jag's insightful account of how he became what he is, a huge influence in marketing and business, by accident."

-- Dr Tan Chin Tiong

"Some autobiographies fit in the category of pure storytelling and others in the genre of wisdom literature. Always between the lines of the Jag Sheth's storytelling about his personal and professional life is his confidence that seeking what is good and needed will, not surprisingly in his view, also make for lasting contribution and genuine success. This is wisdom literature."

-- James W. Wagner

"What a great journey! I know it will inspire others. I have enjoyed our friendship of three decades."

-- Azim Premji

"Jag Sheth is a world-renowned scholar and thought leader. All of us have benefited from his wisdom and advice. The Accidental Scholar is a very inspiring journey of the making of a scholar. It is full of wisdom."

-- Ram Charan

"Jag Sheth is one of the great minds in marketing. His life journey serves as an inspiration for others to achieve their full potential. I am honored to call him a friend and know you will enjoy the great insights he provides in business and in life in this wonderful book."

-- Ralph de la Vega

"Dr Jagdish Sheth is a well-known management scholar and educator. Besides the USA, he has worked across several countries and is widely respected for his extremely sharp analytical mind. He has been particularly active in India and this book will be received with wide acclaim by practitioners across the country."

-- Ashok Ganguly

"Many readers will find inspiration in this well-told tale of immigration, education, and academic entrepreneurship by the marketing legend Jag Sheth."

-- Alvin E. Roth

"This book takes the reader on a fascinating journey that epitomizes the many dimensions of Dr Sheth. Written with great authenticity, it is the story of a scholar and his contribution to the evolution of consumer behavior, strategic marketing, competitive strategy, and relationship marketing as academic disciplines, together with the sub-text and context that shaped this evolution. What is particularly inspiring is the passion and hard work that have distinguished Dr Sheth as an academic, consultant, coach, and philanthropist. His energy and agility in spotting emerging patterns provides a refreshing perspective right through, as do interspersed nuggets like "markets don't plateau, managers do."

-- Vinita Bali

"Jagdish Sheth has truly lived the dream, moving from India to become one of the leading marketing scholars in the world and a successful academic administrator to boot. Sheth's biography offers important lessons for anyone in any field trying to chart their career course."

-- Jeffrey Pfeffer

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