Written by Maddy Rock, BHP Sophomore
Professor Leigh McAlister teaches Principles of Marketing (MKT 337H) for the Business Honors Program. She attended the University of Oklahoma before pursuing her M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Now, Professor McAlister is a highly-recognized researcher in her field, and brings her passion for her work to the classroom each day.
Professor McAlister lights up talking about her extensive research experience. Initially, she worked on variety seeking at the University of Washington for three years. Then, she moved to MIT, gaining access to state-of-the-art technology that she used to further advance her research and publish Grocery Revolution, a book Professor McAlister co-authored with Professor Barbara Kahn of Wharton. This is when she developed a relationship with H-E-B, which in her eyes, is “the coolest grocery store in the world.” Upon entering her office, students will notice a letter written by Charles Butt, Chairman and CEO of the company, hanging beside Grocery Revolution. Professor McAlister continued to study consumer behavior, regularly working with teams of students to conduct world-renowned research.
Professor McAlister aims to share her enthusiasm for marketing with her students in the classroom. She explains that her favorite aspect of teaching BHP students is their determination to succeed at the highest levels. She speaks highly of their ability to create academic goals and work their hardest to meet these aspirations. Professor McAlister strives to create a very interactive course, emphasizing the importance of each student speaking up and communicating their ideas. Additionally, she is thrilled to have “differentiated and fabulous” reading material for her classes.
Professor McAlister beams about her work, admitting that she spends an awful lot of time on it because it brings her so much joy. “I work a lot because it’s fun to me,” she says. “It’s discovery; it’s a puzzle.” She also loves to mentor doctoral students because it gives her the unique and rewarding opportunity to “shape the minds that shapes the minds”. When she is not on campus, however, Professor McAlister and her husband enjoy listening to local musical performances. In addition to regularly attending shows from a guitar concert series which brings in the world’s greatest musicians, Professor McAlister is a big fan of Conspirare, a Grammy award-winning choral ensemble based in Austin. She speaks about the concerts with great admiration, describing them as warm and soothing, “like it’s a cold night and I’ve gone to a campfire.”
Professor McAlister encourages her students to stop by her office hours on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:30-2:30 pm in CBA 7.228. She loves discussing her students’ big ideas and plans for the future as well as Austin’s unique music scene.