Instructor Profile: Sharon Bell

Sharon Bell was my marketing instructor in the first year of my MBA program. She was an amazing professor and one of my favorites. I reached out to her to learn more about her role at the University and her career in the marketing field.  Sharon was gracious enough to sit down and answer a few questions for both current and potential students. Enjoy!

Hicki Braimah (HB): How long have you been teaching at the University of Alberta School of Business and what courses? 

Sharon Bell (SB): I have been teaching at the School of Business since 2011. I started out teaching Introduction to Marketing (MARK 301) to undergraduate business students. I later started teaching Service Marketing (MARK 466). In 2015, I started teaching MBA students as well (MARK 502).

HB: What attracted you to your role at the Alberta School of Business?

SB: My undergraduate degree is actually from the University of Alberta. I graduated with Bachelor of Education and have always had an interest in teaching. My interest in teaching led me to my current teaching roles at both University of Alberta and MacEwan University in Edmonton.

My area of expertise and interest is marketing. Marketing is a field that focuses mainly on consumers. I enjoy the strategic, analytical and thoughtful process involved in this field.

HB: What was your background before coming to UAlberta?

SB: I am originally from Alberta. In terms of education, I have a Bachelor of Education from University of Alberta and an MBA from Queens University. I have over 20 years of experience in marketing. Post my MBA, I was recruited by Proctor and Gamble (P&G) in Toronto and spent many years there.

After spending 15 years with P&G, I decided to moved back to Alberta to work with ATB. I spent six years at ATB and decided it was time for a change. I decided to start my own marketing consulting firm which I am still involved with alongside teaching at the School of Business. I am also very involved in many non-for profit organizations including the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton.

HB: What’s the best part about your role at UAlberta?

SB: The best part of my role as an instructor is the students. MBA students choose to take an MBA and are therefore willing to engage and learn during lectures. This passion from students makes the class very interactive and fun to teach.

HB: What has been an example of a rewarding teaching moment with a student or group or students?

SB: I had the opportunity to coach students for case competitions. It was very rewarding to help committed students grow and compete. In addition, I have also been approached by students for career advice regarding the marketing industry. It always my always my pleasure to offer industry insights to students looking to get into marketing.

HB: What’s the most pressing issue in business/your field of specialization today?

SB: In the marketing industry, I find that accountability is one of the most pressing issues. By accountability, I am referring to:

  • Are limited resources being appropriately allocated?
  • How do you know the impact of what you are doing?
  • Are you really reaching the customers you want to?
  • Are your data sources credible?

HB: What is your favorite quote?

SB: “Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth” — Shirley Chisholm.

HB: What is your favorite book?

SB: Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger.

HB: Do you have any advice for students interested in your area of expertise?

SB: I have two pieces of advice for students interested in marketing:

  1. Look beneath the surface: don’t get hung-up on labels. Understand what the job entails before rejecting the opportunities.
  2. Get experience: go out there and get experience. Do not be focused on working just for big name companies, sometimes it is beneficial to volunteer as well work for free if necessary. Experience is crucial.

Interview conducted by Hicki Braimah