Sept. 12, 2019
Darla Moore School of Business Ph.D. student Gustavo Schneider’s passion for marketing research was recognized with the 2019 Promising Researcher Award, which he was awarded in the spring by the Moore School.
Schneider, who has completed three of five years of the business administration Ph.D. program with an emphasis in marketing, received the award for making significant contributions and/or showing great promise as a researcher.
One of the hardest working Ph.D. students in the Moore School, Schneider has diligently built relationships within the department and in the field, and his research focus on numeric cognition is an important area of marketing and appeals to many in the field, said Elise Ince, a Moore School marketing associate professor who has worked with Schneider on three research projects, including his dissertation.
“His performance is stellar. His other co-authors and other teachers [at the Moore School] tell me he functions at an assistant professor level, in terms of his ability to develop ideas, write a lit review, develop studies and analyze data,” she said. “[Schneider] is a research-driven, motivated and bright scholar, but he is also a very kind person, always willing to help, always humble about what he has achieved.”
With a master’s and bachelor’s in business administration from universities in Brazil, Schneider worked full time while obtaining his degrees in a variety of industries from logistics and banking to metal works. His time as a research assistant sparked an interest that pushed him to pursue his Ph.D.
While doing research and studying marketing as a master’s student, Schneider became enamored with consumer behavior.
“I really like trying to uncover the reasons behind consumer decisions, the why behind the behavior,” he said. “When companies understand why consumers behave the way they do, they can better frame their offers to attend to their public desires and needs, for example, how to optimize product assortment.”
This interest in consumer behavior led to his current research, which includes investigating how numbers influence consumer judgments and decisions when it comes to forecasting future trends, product attributes and price.
“In my thesis, I’m investigating how different framing of the same numerical quantity, for example, 12 versus a dozen or 60 minutes versus an hour, can influence consumer preferences for services and products,” Schneider said. “I chose this topic because I really enjoy understanding how aspects of our daily lives, like numbers, can influence the way we think about the products we buy.”
Schneider is also researching consumer political participation, where he investigates the factors underlying consumer decisions to purchase candidate-branded merchandise as opposed to just donating money to a candidate’s campaign.
Originally from Brazil, Schneider intends to stay in the United States after he finishes his doctoral degree because he said there are better opportunities to conduct marketing research, and there is higher cooperation between academia and industry. He noted that the focus in Brazil is on teaching, not on research, so there are fewer resources to conduct thorough research.
“My goal is to work on research that can be impactful for both academic and industry,” he said, “and I feel that the U.S. offers a great environment for that.”
While Schneider is able to pursue his passion for consumer-centered research, he said the Moore School has been a surprisingly warm and welcoming environment during his time in the program.
“The way people care for each other – students and professors – is not something I was expecting before joining a Ph.D. program,” he said. “Before joining a Ph.D. program, one may hear all those stories about anxiety and solitude. Here I see a lot of people making efforts to not allow that to happen. The environment is extremely friendly and supportive, and you feel like everyone wants you to succeed. This is very comforting and motivating.
“Being an international student, I feel very welcomed here, and I’m very grateful for that.”
Schneider said his first three years in the program have taught him a great deal about perseverance and resilience.
“The academic career can be very challenging. Many times your research ideas do not work out,” he said. “Other times you have good ideas but end up learning you’ve been scooped by someone else. When everything works out, you still can be rejected if others do not find the idea to be interesting and relevant. So the most valuable thing I learned in these years is to persevere and not give up when facing challenges.”