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Rady School of Management Assistant Professor Uma Karmarkar Receives Award from Marketing Science Institute for Best Paper


Uma Karmarkar, Assistant Professor of Marketing/ITO at the Rady School of Management UC San Diego, recently received the prestigious 2019 Robert D. Buzzel Best Paper Award from the Marketing Science Institute (MSI). The award was given to Karmarkar and co-author Ryan Hamilton of Emory University for their paper “The 4 Minds of the Consumer: A Framework for Understanding and Applying the Science of Decision Making.”

The paper addresses the issue that scientific theories of decision-making, even when well-supported, can provide conflicting marketing suggestions. Karmarkar’s paper develops a “4 Minds” framework as a diagnostic tool, which allows marketers to choose the area of decision-making research that is most relevant to their target consumers.

The Best Paper Award was established by the MSI to honor the authors of working papers that have made the most significant contribution to marketing practice and thought. The award was named for Professor Robert Buzzell, who had a long-standing association with the Marketing Science Institute, and served as Executive Director from 1968-72. Each year the award is given for the best MSI paper issued during the calendar year two years previous. This delay exists to allow sufficient time to assess the impact of each paper on the field of marketing.

Karmarkar’s academic research focuses on the factors that consciously and unconsciously influence how people make decisions, and the ensuing implications for marketplace practices. In particular, she looks at how people use information when they are faced with uncertain decisions or unfamiliar options and the biases that can emerge from these situations. Her work also explores the ways in which the decisions of companies about how and when to offer information can frame the expectation of consumers and influence their purchasing behavior. Her research takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining marketing, behavioral economics, neuroscience and psychology. Karmarkar earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004, and a second Ph.D. in Consumer Behavior from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University in 2011. Prior to her doctoral work, she received a B.S. in Symbolic Systems (Neural Systems) from Stanford in 1998.

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