While both past and present Notre Dame marketing majors are familiar with Professor Bill Wilkie, they may not know that a passion for both Notre Dame and marketing runs in the Wilkie family genes. One of the newest additions to the marketing department faculty is Professor Jim Wilkie, son of Bill Wilkie and 2005 graduate of Notre Dame. Jim is teaching Marketing Research to both undergraduate and MBA students, which fits well with his expertise in consumer psychology. Regarding his specific area of interest, Jim says, “I’m interested in elements in the consumer environment that influence consumers’ judgments and decisions without their awareness.” He is currently doing research on how numbers influence consumer judgments based on the qualitative associations that they evoke, and his projects require a synthesis of various disciplines. He credits this skill to his Notre Dame education, which enabled him to take a variety of courses both within and outside his major. Jim believes this is particularly beneficial to marketing students given that, “As a field, marketing can be viewed from a variety of different and interesting perspectives.” Speaking of his personal experience, he says, “I have often applied things that I learned from non-marketing courses - for example, economics, anthropology, and psychology - to help me better understand marketing related issues.”
Jim took his interdisciplinary interests outside the classroom during his time at Notre Dame by participating in the Semester in Washington, D.C program, where he interned in Congress. His passion for service led him to seek resources like Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns, through which he was involved with two summer service projects – one in Ogden, Utah, where he worked in a Boys & Girls Club, and another in Denver, Colorado, where he interned for a non-profit microlending organization. On campus, Jim enjoyed living in Sorin Hall - so much that it is now the name of one his dogs. Sorin and his pal, Dublin, are part of the Wilkie family along with Jim, his wife Mairin (Notre Dame class of ’07), and their ten-month-old daughter. As an interesting aside, Notre Dame had four different football coaches during Jim’s four years as a student: Bob Davie, George O’Leary, Tyrone Willingham, and Charlie Weis, who was hired in the spring of his senior year.
After graduating from Notre Dame with a BBA in marketing in 2005, Jim went on to earn his both his MS and PhD in Marketing from Northwestern University. He feels lucky to be back at his alma mater as a professor, and says that working in the same department as his father “is a blessing in that I get to work with someone who has made a huge impact and has served as a role model for me my whole life.” He admits that distinguishing himself to others can be a challenge, but says, “the fact that our research interests are fairly distinct aids in my ability to stand apart.”
Jim describes Notre Dame as “a special place that really helped me grow as a person,” and he hopes that he can aid in ensuring that his students are shaped by their time here in a similarly positive way. He offers the following advice to current students: “Cherish your time at ND. This is a unique point in your life when you have great freedom to seek out opportunities that will help you grow from both a personal and professional standpoint. Make sure to take advantage of it.” Clearly, Jim did just that as an undergraduate at Notre Dame, and we are thankful to have him back to share the ND experience with his students.
Article by: Courtney Taylor
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