Meet Abbie Griffin: Marketing ProfessorJanuary 15, 2010
Three words that students might use to describe the award-winning marketing professor Abbie Griffin are demanding, professional, and fun. Although this 1988–89 American Fellow has high expectations for her students, she brings the creativity inherent in the development of new marketing strategiess into the classroom. As a former plant engineer and senior marketing analyst, Abbie now helps her students see the “numbers of marketing,” or the importance of research and analysis in strategic marketing plans.
Abbie brings to her classes a background in chemical engineering. While working as a plant engineer in charge of determining how manufacturing processes were being implemented at the plant, Abbie realized the possibilities of a more efficient system. This led her to Harvard University in the pursuit of an MBA focused on technology management and marketing. With her master’s degree Abbie moved back into the business world, where she was inspired to pursue a doctorate in management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with an emphasis on the management of technology innovation and marketing. Her goal with this new degree was to assist companies in their technology management.
While at MIT Abbie was awarded the AAUW fellowship, which allowed her to dedicate more time to her doctoral research. At the time she was a mother with a three-year-old son, her husband was also a doctoral student at MIT, and work-life balance was a real struggle. The long-term benefit of the AAUW fellowship, according to Abbie, was the honor of having the award on her vita. These days Abbie is inspired to give back to AAUW because “without the fellowship my life would have been much more difficult, and getting my Ph.D. could have taken another year, which we just could not afford with a child.”
Since earning her doctorate from MIT, Abbie has gone on to a very successful career in both the academic and business worlds. Abbie holds the Royal L. Garff Presidential Chair in Marketing in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, a tier one research institution, enjoying the diversity that comes with both teaching and research. She finds working with doctoral students particularly rewarding. Additionally, from 1998 to 2009 Abbie served on the board of directors of Navistar, a $12 billion producer of trucks and diesel engines. Today Abbie is still working with Navistar, as well as with other companies, consulting on both marketing and new product development issues.
Drawing on her many successes, Abbie leaves readers with the following advice: “Set your sights high, because the worst they can do is say no to you.”