Michelle Blakley, June 7th, 2023
Mays Business School has recruited Dr. Stephen J. Anderson—a rising star in the field of marketing whose research is focused on aiding entrepreneurs and consumers in developing countries—to hold the inaugural Dr. Leonard L. Berry Chair in Services Marketing.
Anderson begins his career in Aggieland this summer.
Dr. Anderson has five degrees in business and economics, including a master’s and doctorate from London Business School. He joins Texas A&M after a decade of carrying out research in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
“Boosting the performance and productivity of entrepreneurs can stimulate growth and prosperity in their communities,” says Dr. Anderson. “Estimates suggest there are ~400 million small businesses across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where they make up about 60% of the jobs and 40% of a country’s GDP. Improvements in these businesses provide a way for entrepreneurs, and the employees they lead, to enhance their lives.”
In one of his ambitious field studies with over 900 Ugandan entrepreneurs, access to virtual business coaching led to more strategic business pivots and improved the sales growth of participants by about 25%. While in South Africa, access to marketing and finance training resulted in more tactical business practices and increased firm profits by 20-30%. Over the past decade, thousands of entrepreneurs have participated in similar business support programs overseen by Dr. Anderson. He has created collaborations with a range of partners including government agencies (e.g., the World Bank, Entrepreneur Institute of Mexico, Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance, Peru’s Ministry of Science and Innovation), non-government organizations (e.g., Balloon Ventures, GROW Movement, Technoserve), and private-sector companies (e.g., Equity Bank, KiWi, SAP).
“Similar to how health programs intervene in developing countries with medical solutions to improve the health of a community,” explains Anderson, “I set out to provide business solutions for entrepreneurs in these contexts, then use randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to rigorously assess the impact on outcomes like sales or profits.”
Dr. Anderson’s field research designs and delivers multi-year programs for local entrepreneurs to join. These programs provide access to a range of business support, from training and technology to mentoring and money.
“No one provides the unique combination of resources like Dr. Anderson does through his programs,” says Stephen Kagera, a field research manager based in Africa, working with Dr. Anderson. “These programs often involve intense training interventions that also utilize easy-to-use and relatively cheap technology to help entrepreneurs better manage their customers and products, which can ultimately drive greater sales and profits for their businesses.”
“I am excited to join the Department of Marketing at Mays Business School, where scholars focus on marketing’s impact on business outcomes and social outcomes,” says Anderson. “I believe the mission of ‘Advancing the World’s Prosperity’ is the right vision—an inspiring vision. Whether a practitioner or researcher, it reminds us that our impact as business leaders can (and should) extend beyond top-line and bottom-line performance, and beyond the borders of our existing companies and countries.”
Dr. Anderson will continue this important research focused on alleviating poverty and positively impacting the lives of entrepreneurs in these emerging markets. He will be working with Dr. Berry while holding the endowed chair.
“I could not have imagined a better person to fill this position and carry on my work in marketing services,” says Dr. Leonard L. Berry. “Dr. Anderson is making such a positive difference in people’s lives; I have always tried to do the same in my work. Within 5 minutes of meeting, we established an immediate connection.”
The Dr. Leonard L. Berry Chair in Services Marketing was established in 2021 at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School through a $1 million gift from Dr. Leonard L. Berry and Brazos County Commissioner Nancy Berry to the Texas A&M Foundation. It is the first endowed chair to be established by a current faculty member at the university.
Dr. Berry holds the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership. He also is a University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, a Regents Professor and a Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence. He has published 13 books and is the most cited scholar in the Texas A&M System with 237,978 citations on Google Scholar. [BLL1]
The endowed chair was created to continue groundbreaking work in the field of services marketing, with a focus on the potential of services to benefit humanity and improve the quality of life.
“Steve Anderson is a transformational hire for Mays Business School. While all scholars aspire to conduct impactful research, Steve’s research is literally ‘advancing the world’s prosperity’ on multiple continents,” said Mays Business School Dean, Dr. Nate Sharp. “I cannot imagine another faculty member better suited to carry forward the legacy of—and hold the endowed chair established by—one of the most impactful scholars in the entire field of marketing research, our own Dr. Len Berry. I am thrilled to welcome Steve to Mays Business School and feel honored to support his ambitious research agenda.”