by: Pablo Arauz Pena
For Dr. Ernan Haruvy, area coordinator for marketing at the Jindal School of Management, marketing is a serious game that requires a sharp mind and “calculative” thought. Haruvy teaches interactive and digital marketing and marketing analytics using statistical analytical systems SAS, an integrated system of software solutions often used by employers in the field to organize data. And while computational number crunching is one of his areas of expertise, much of his research also involves the exciting realm of game theory, the study of strategic interactions between players in a competitive setting. “It’s much like a chess game or a tic-tac-toe game,” he said.
As Haruvy explains, a core concept of game theory is the Nash equilibrium, which occurs at a point when neither player can benefit by changing strategies. In any game, strategic players have rational and forward-looking expectations about their next move; they anticipate their opponent’s best response.
In his research, game theory is applied to online auctions and popular video games. It’s also becoming exceedingly applicable to the world of marketing and is essential to understand when dealing with competitors in the industry.
Haruvy said that one of the competitive advantages at the Jindal School of Management compared to other business schools is the concentration of researchers heavily invested in-game theory. Applying game theory concepts such as the Nash equilibrium can give students a leg up in real world marketing scenarios.
As a professor, Haruvy guides students on the path from the classroom to the workroom by creating opportunities for them to engage with employers. His previous experience with major companies gives him the ability to connect students with major players in the industry. Much of his work also involves helping students develop the skills to work with data. Students need to know how to state a problem, follow-up with analysis and then make recommendations. “Many jobs that the employers offer involve some understanding of data. When a student gets a job in marketing, on the first day of the job, they are expected to be able to work with a data set from their boss,” he said. “They will receive raw data which more often than not is not formatted in Excel which needs to be interpreted.”
Although even with a business degree, graduates are not guaranteed a job. “The skills in networking, the ability to connect with people and the ability to market yourself are essential because if you cannot market yourself, how can you market the company’s products? Going to local business meetings, having a business card and self-promotion is crucial in the job market. It’s not just what you know; it’s who you know, whether in school or in the workplace. Haruvy wants students to remember that they are playing the marketing game from the moment they step inside the classroom.