For Sanghyeok “Eric” Park, the consumer is king. Park’s former role as the consumer insights manager for innovation products at Anheuser-Busch introduced him to a variety of consumers throughout the United States, while his experience as a marketing research assistant as an undergrad at the University of Texas-Austin piqued his interest in academic research.
“Having interfaced with so many different consumers and products, it led me to think that I could do so much more if I was in an environment where I dedicated myself to learning more about the consumer,” Park says. “And helped me decide that a PhD in Marketing would be a great path for me.”
After deciding to pursue a PhD, Park had to choose the route to get there—and for him, Columbia Business School was the ideal fit. Besides the New York City location and the opportunity to work with world-renowned faculty in the CBS Marketing Department, Park was drawn to the School’s welcoming atmosphere.
“The people — students, staff, and faculty alike—were all so amazingly encouraging and warm, which made me want to become part of this community,” Park says. “From an academic standpoint, I thought the CBS focus on providing a grounding of all aspects of marketing (behavioral and quantitative) for all students would be important in expanding my interests.”
Currently, Park’s interests include exploring the fields of decision-making, creativity, and attention, as well as applications of neuroscience in marketing, in addition to live streaming and sound marketing. When it comes to the classroom, Park has particularly enjoyed Professor Eric Johnson’s consumer behavior class and the experimental design class taught by Professor Michel Pham.
“Both of these classes were fundamental for expanding my interests as well as teaching me skills that will become the basis for my future research,” Park says. “Both professors were highly engaging and truly committed to teaching, and I had a great time being part of the classes.”
After finishing his PhD, Park hopes to follow in their footsteps and become a professor himself—a goal he feels his CBS education will help make possible. “Going through the PhD program here at Columbia not only provided me with an amazing network of intelligent and supportive faculty and friends, but also provided me the right training and solid foundation to be a full-fledged researcher for doing quality, and substantively-rich research,” Park says.
That’s not to say Park’s CBS experience has been easy; but he feels the challenges are worth the end result—a well-rounded, well-earned PhD, and a future for which he is well prepared.
“I honestly believe that above all, a proper challenge is needed to make your achievements fulfilling; CBS provides exactly that,” Park says “In all the courses I took, I felt that I was being stretched in terms of my skills and knowledge, but at the end of each, I felt as though I grew both as a researcher and a marketer.”