Her Campus Bentley (HCB): Professor Cross, where did you grow up? We noticed you had an accent.
Ian Cross (IC): I grew up in Kingswinford, West Midlands in England. It is a small town in the Black Country. It is where the Industrial Revolution was born in the 18th Century.
HCB: Where did you go to college?
IC: I attended Leeds University for undergraduate degree and then the University of London for my graduate degree.
HCB: What is it you do here at Bentley?
IC: I am a senior marketing lecturer for marketing classes as well as information design and corporate communications classes. I am also the director of the Center for Marketing Technology (CMT).
HCB: Where did you work before joining us here at Bentley University?
IC: I have worked a very varied corporate career. I mostly worked in marketing and sales. This included Wang in France, IBM in the US, Yourdon, Thomson Reuters, and Turn On Media which was a start up. There were many different places along the way before coming to Bentley.
HCB: What classes do you teach here at Bentley?
IC: I teach the Marketing Project courses (MK 411) and Innovative Consumer PR (IDCC 399). I also take part in the retailing class (MK 344) that goes to Italy for spring break along with Mike Tesler. I work with both undergraduate and graduate students who are working internships for class credit as well. I am really excited about a new course for 2014 that I will be teaching, Forward Fashion and the Creative Consumer (IDCC 3900) which will also travel to Italy.
HCB: What is your favorite thing about marketing?
IC: I love that marketing is at the forefront of innovation, consumer desire and influencing the way we see the world. Every day is a new desire, a new campaign, and a new challenge to redefine something old as new. I love that marketing is in crisis – it has to change – it is in the middle of a cycle of creative destruction.
HCB: What advice would you give graduating Marketing and PR majors who are starting off in the working world?
IC: Continuing from last comment – graduates have to understand that marketing is about risk and change; anticipating new needs, adapting new ideas, using new technologies and social media has given power back to the consumer. Today’s graduates have to demonstrate they have a point of view about marketing, can demonstrate they have created their own responses to the marketing challenge, and prepared to take risks. Employers look for examples of different experiences, where a student has had a set back and continued to strive or a success that they can build on. Students have to develop outside interests also. As an employer I would be interested in someone that has intelligence beyond his or her technical/business skill.
HCB: Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
IC: I love playing tennis, skiing and golf, however not outstanding at any of them. I enjoy trying to get better even as you get older. Better doesn’t have to mean faster or stronger, but performing a movement (like a tennis groundstroke) with grace and fluidity. I am a rabid West Bromwich Albion fan (English Premier League Soccer team) and my mood goes up or down every Saturday at noon as I log onto BBC Sports for the soccer results. And I love a good read – novels, books of ideas. Like a proper Englishman I enjoy growing roses in my garden. I recently joined a CSA farm share; it is fun cooking with wild and wonderful local vegetables and produce.
HCB: What is your favorite thing about teaching?
IC: I hope I can inspire students to think creatively and make the most of their talents however they want to pursue them. I want to show my students a different way of looking at things. I want to challenge them and show them they can individually create great work on their own. I want to be a guide rather than be an instructor.
HCB: Did you ever picture yourself working on a college campus?
IC: NEVER! My Dad was a huge inspiration to me. He changed careers at the age of 40, went back to school for the English equivalent of his High School Diploma, got a Masters in Education and became a Special Education Teacher. All he talked about in my teen-age years was his love for teaching and I vowed I never wanted to be a teacher Haha!
HCB: I, myself, accompanied you on your retail class’s trip to Italy, what was your favorite part of that trip?
IC: Where do I begin? It starts with my first bite of delicious crispy pizza and glass of Chianti when we arrive in Milan; it builds with the excitement of watching a football match at the San Siro; although an atheist I am awed by the beauty and reverence of the magnificent Duomo (cathedral). I am wowed by the fashion and taste of people on the streets. I am excited to share the fashion vision of Valentino, D&G, Moschino with my students. I am like a kid in a candy store shopping the magnificent Rinacente department store and amazing retailers and above all I love sitting in a cafe in the Piazza in Florence- in the warm sun watching Italians laugh and argue and kiss and enjoy life to its fullest. La Docle Vita.