Anjala Krishen joined UNLV just four months after completing her marketing doctorate at Virginia Tech University. In the dozen years since, the UNLV marketing & International business professor has taught courses in marketing research, consumer behavior, and internet marketing to both undergraduate and graduate students. But more than just someone who educates students on the finer points of marketing, the 2019 UNLV Alumni Association's Outstanding Faculty Award winner Krishen is the rare professor who is fully invested in her students’ successes — both in and out of the classroom.
Ask many of Krishen’s former students, and they will gladly tell you about the immense impact she’s had on their lives, most notably as a mentor who is quick to offer career advice and support long after graduation. And it’s always welcomed guidance, because those students know the wealth of experience and knowledge Krishen has accumulated during her three decades as a marketing professional and educator.
After receiving her bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Rice University in 1990, she embarked on a 13-year career in which she held various management positions in consulting and electrical engineering. Along the way, she earned an MBA from Virginia Tech in 1996, then returned to the school for her master’s degree in marketing, which she received in 2004.
Krishen’s interdisciplinary research interests have revolved around such topics as decision-making in rich environments, heuristics and choice-set design, e-marketing and social networking, and database marketing. A prolific author, she has published more than 55 peer-reviewed papers that have appeared in the Journal of Business Research, International Journal of Advertising, and the Journal of Marketing Education, among many others. She also penned the 2008 book The Dichotomy of Heuristic in Choice – How Contrast Makes Decisions Easier, in which she stresses that multiple factors work simultaneously to create an opposition framework. And this year saw the release of Marketing & Humanity: Discourses in the Real World, a book Krishen co-edited that encourages readers to question their notions of reality and explores critical consumer-related topics from a holistic, intersectional, and interdisciplinary perspective.
Krishen’s work at UNLV has earned her multiple distinctions over the years, including the 2015 UNLV Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award, the 2016 Barrick Scholar Award, and the 2014 and 2016 Faculty Opportunity Awards. Also, in July 2018, she was named special advisor to the dean of UNLV’s Lee Business School.
When not teaching, writing, speaking, and mentoring, Krishen can be found in her running sneakers pounding the pavement, as she’s completed an astounding 55 marathons, seven ultramarathons, and four 100-mile runs. No, she’s not running from trouble — since she’s also a black belt in Taekwondo, she doesn’t need to.
What sort of lessons have you learned as a long-distance runner that you can impart to current and former Rebels?
Goals are wonderful and they help us see the bigger picture, but sometimes they can be daunting. So focus on taking one step at a time, which is exactly what I remind myself to do during every marathon or ultramarathon I run. And it’s a skill set that helps me in every class I teach, every student I mentor, and every piece of research I work on.
I learned during my first 100-mile ultramarathon that even in moments when I feel all alone in the wilderness — cold, tired, and hopeless — I’m always part of a team. My family — including my daughters Axenya and Sheen, and my husband Eduardo — along with my friends, colleagues, mentors, co-authors, and students are always there for me, just as I’m there for them. Those thoughts get me through every struggle and give me the grit and determination to always give my best in everything I do.
In the classroom, I tell my students that I grade myself every time I grade them — and I enact what I expect. I do the same thing in my research, never just settling for “good enough,” always working toward my best. I convey this valuable message to students in every class I teach: Don’t waste your time discounting people or disliking the things they produce; instead, focus on improving yourself or creating your own content. In short, take the harder road, one step at a time, and in the long run, you’ll not only learn more and give more back to the world, but you’ll learn to respect yourself enough to only surround yourself with those who support you. This is why I always say the people you surround yourself with are as important as the things you do.