Meet UIC Business Faculty Member: Dr. Benet DeBerry-Spence

Dr. Benet DeBerry-Spence is an associate professor of marketing in the UIC College of Business Administration. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and a PhD in marketing from Northwestern University.

How did you become interested in teaching at the university level?

As an undergraduate I worked in an epidemiology lab and I had a chance to work with a faculty member on a research project. Until then, I did not really know that a career as a university faculty member involves both research and teaching.

When did you first come to UIC and how has the campus changed since then?

I came to UIC in the fall of 2003. There are so many ways the campus has changed and it keeps getting better and better. I continue to be impressed with the vast number of interesting and innovative projects underway on campus. This certainly hasn’t changed and that’s amazing.

What are some of the classes you teach at UIC?

I teach in the MBA and Ph.D. programs.  In the MBA program I teach the core marketing course (Introduction to Marketing [Marketing 500]) and International Marketing. In the PhD program I teach consumer behavior.

What do you enjoy most about teaching UIC students?

I like working with students to achieve their long term career goals and ambitions; and I believe the theoretical and practical learnings they acquire at UIC are an important part of that journey.  My favorite part is helping students to improve their critical thinking. Analyzing cases is one way we do this. Often the learning process involves a sort of ‘push and pull’, is not straightforward and can at times seem down right confusing. The net result, however, is that students discover new ways of thinking and approaching problems. This is a lifelong skill set that can be used in any field of work or study.

What are some of the emerging trends in your field of interest/research?

Africa continues to make its way on the radar of companies looking for both near-term and long-term investment opportunities. Companies are now scrambling to capitalize on the continent’s growing needs. Over the next four decades the number of African consumers will surpass that of India and China. A major driving force behind this is the growing middle class.

How is technology impacting the area of marketing?

Perhaps a better question might be, “how isn’t technology impacting the area of marketing?”  While ‘exchanges’ have historically been a hallmark of marketing, technology is rapidly transforming how we think of them and how they take place.  Contemporary marketing is increasingly becoming a world of sharing, as compared with the exchanges that typified modern marketing. 

What do you like to do for fun/enjoyment?

I love spending time with my family. I also enjoy learning about new cultures and ways of living. Travel was an important part of my childhood and is something I enjoy doing with friends and family.