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  • Writer's pictureFarhana Tabassum

Past the Iron Curtain: Getting to Know Alina Sorescu

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Written by Farhana Tabassum, Ph.D. Candidate in Marketing, BI Norwegian Business School

What connects economy, big breakfasts, and teaching with conscience? Alina Sorescu, Professor in Marketing at Mays, Texas A&M, and IJRM SE, will surprise you with the answer as she talks about her journey, life passions, and the new IJRM initiative on creator economy.

Thanks to my involvement with the IJRM newsletter team, I have come to know Alina for a while now. Finally, this summer, we met in person during the inaugural dinner at the AMA Sheth Doctoral Consortium in Oslo. What fascinated me was her research trajectory. In this article, I share the highlights of our hearty conversation.

The Crossroads and Beyond

What made you, a child who grew up in communist Romania, interested in Marketing?

Alina Sorescu

"I grew up in communist Romania and witnessed an almost overnight switch to a market economy when I was nineteen. The chaotic transition to this new economic order got me interested in understanding the rules that governed a more orderly form of market economy. Around the same time, I met my husband, who was working on his Ph.D. in Finance, and who told me that I would find the answers to my questions in the marketing literature. That’s what drew me to marketing and academia.

I think I made the right choice as I strongly believe that few firms, if any, can effectively compete without marketing. My interest in the marketing finance interface came from the countless research conversations I had with my husband, who patiently answered hundreds of questions and gave me all the resources I needed to learn the background needed to do research in that area."

What’s the core topic in marketing that intrigues you most?

"The tie between innovation and branding which I believe is critical to sustainable competitive advantage."

What defines an achievement for you?

"I have never thought about that, and I tend to think of achievements in terms of my family, rather than myself."

"But if I must answer that question, I think my biggest achievement is to see my former doctoral students having earned tenure and become respected, productive scholars."

What do you do to maximize the chances of your paper being accepted?

"I am known for revising my papers countless times. It is sometimes frustrating to my PhD students and co-authors to write and rewrite a section, and then to listen to me say that the current version of the paper does not work and needs to be rewritten. Beautiful writing is something that I aspire towards and that I admire a lot. I want to read content that flows and that is stated in the most concise and logical way, and that's how I strive to write: in a sharp, well-structured, and informative manner."

What’s your personal take on your educator self?

"I like to say I teach to my conscience. I would feel terrible to waste someone’s time. I also feel a big responsibility, as most students do not have multiple chances to learn a subject matter. If I teach poorly, they will have one less skill or set of facts that may make the difference between success and failure in their jobs. So, I try to provide useful knowledge, make it accessible, and remember that students are humans whose lives extend well beyond the classroom."

Are you a workaholic?

"Probably the label applies to me. Although after the pandemic I have started reflecting on whether that is the right approach. I try my best to reach a better work-life equilibrium, but my work always draws me in."

Meanwhile in IJRM

What’s new with IJRM?

"As editors, a key part of our job is to encourage authors to submit papers on current issues relevant to management and scholarly practices. Together with Renana, Martin, and David, we have written an editorial on ‘Creator Economy’, which is about the class of businesses built by independent influencers, curators, content developers, and so on. The creator economy has seen tremendous growth and has undergone quite an evolution in the last couple of years. Beyond having a significant contribution to the economy at large, it has also impacted the traditional way of doing business, as more and more firms are leveraging the participants in the creator economy for advertising, promotion, sponsorships, and so on. Researchers have started focusing on specific facets of the creator economy, such as influencers and their role, however, influencers are just one set of participants in this ecosystem. They occupy the central part, yet there are many other stakeholders whose behaviors need to be examined.

Our impetus is to stress this under-studied, untapped area. The editorial is an overview that takes a close, but high-level look at the phenomenon and provides some directions for future research to inspire creativity and discussions. We believe any research approach, whether behavioral or quantitative, can yield interesting insights on this topic."

What’s exciting about the creator economy editorial?

"Our editorial will be accompanied by a series of short articles where researchers working in the domain will be interviewing participants in the creator economy, meaning that there will be a direct and actual collaboration with practitioners."

"In fact, we have formed dedicated teams of scholars and have matched them with very seasoned content creators, platform managers, influencers, etc. For instance, one of such teams interviews a content creator whose follower count is over a million. Another team catches up with the European manager of creators at Meta."

Rapid Fire

What’s your favorite pursuit of leisure?

"Hiking in the mountains with my family."

A hike in the Scottish highlands

Tell us about the first thing you do in the morning.

"I make a grand breakfast for my family. I tend to express my love through food, among others, so I like to send them off in the world with a five-star breakfast on board. And then it’s time for coffee and work."

What would you be if not an academic?

"A novel writer. In fact, I have plots for that, maybe after my retirement I would like to explore that hobby. The genre would be period piece romance."

What keeps you going in your job?

"I think it is the beauty of discovery and learning, as well as the privilege to learn from brilliant people and to teach some of this knowledge to the next generation."


This article was written by

Farhana Tabassum

Ph.D. Candidate in Marketing

BI Norwegian Business School



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