“Faculty in the Spotlight”: Lana MULIER, Professor of Marketing

This month, meet Lana MULIER, professor of Marketing, on the Lille campus.

With more than 700 faculty members, including 200 permanent professor-researchers, IÉSEG offers its students a high-quality learning experience based on four pillars: active learning, interdisciplinary studies, focused on skill acquisition, and personalized curricula.

Each month, “Faculty in the Spotlight” invites you to meet one of the School’s professors who presents their vision of teaching, their methods for imparting expertise and passion to students, and shares their best memories and anecdotes at IÉSEG.

Lana, can you tell us about your background?

I graduated from Ghent University with a degree in Communication Sciences and pursued a Ph.D. in Business Economics, which I completed in 2021. My passion for advertising, particularly visually appealing ads, dates back to my younger years when I adorned my room with them. Growing up, I also started to be intrigued by consumer psychology. During my Ph.D., I delved deeply into marketing, especially marketing effectiveness, which paved the way for my career trajectory. Initially, I focused on research but then I also served as a Teaching Assistant. I had no experience in teaching back then, but I developed my skills along the way and as I started to feel more and more comfortable teaching, I discovered that I loved it. I knew that combining teaching activities and research would be the perfect balance for me! After this first experience of teaching, I joined IÉSEG. I am also a visiting professor at the University of Antwerp. Since September 2023, I am also the Head of the Digital Marketing major in the Grande Ecole Program.

What is your area of teaching?

My domain comprises two aspects: on the one hand, for businesses and advertisers, we focus on improving their way of communicating and marketing, and on the other hand, it is about advising consumers to get informed about what’s going on in the marketing world and try to stimulate them to consume healthier and more sustainable and ethical food.

I developed a nudging game to gamify the concepts seen in class. It’s a game focused on improving sustainable and healthy consumption in a supermarket context. I thus create a supermarket simulation in the classroom that confronts students with nudging techniques that we use in the retail environment.

Can you tell us more about the courses that you teach at IÉSEG?

I teach a course on Digital Communication in the Grande Ecole Program (Marketing major), and the “Omnichannel Consumer Behavior” course in the “Retail Management & Business Development” apprenticeship program. I also teach “Consumer Behavior in a Digital World” for the Postgraduate programs.

I’ve had the opportunity to design myself two of the courses I teach in class. Regarding the other courses, I work with other colleagues and that’s really enriching because here at IÉSEG we have a big network of professionals among the Faculty. It is also a learning experience for me. I learn new ways of teaching and I adapt my teaching strategy to the audience and to the expectations of the School. I also integrate sustainability as much as possible in my courses as this is a topical issue in our economic world. I also collaborate with companies to bring the industry to the students in class so that they get acquainted with the corporate world. It’s very challenging for students to work on a project for a real company in the beginning, but then they become more confident.

How has your area of expertise evolved these part years?

Over the years, I’ve witnessed significant changes in the field of marketing, particularly with the rise of AI and digital content. Actually, in January last year, I asked my students how many of them had already tried out ChatGPT, and only a few students raised their hands. A few weeks ago, I asked the same question to my class, and this time, almost the entire class raised its hand.

The rapid evolution of AI is both inevitable and transformative. So, we, as professors, have to reflect upon this topic and see how to incorporate it into our teaching methods considering that it would be foolish not to allow using AI nowadays in our digital courses. So, I’ve adapted my courses accordingly, and the use of AI now plays an important role in course projects. I’ve also invited a guest speaker on Artificial Intelligence and Marketing to show students best practices.

I think AI is something positive for students’ learning experience. I like to make comparisons with Wikipedia. 15 years ago, students were not allowed to use it because it was perceived as being lazy to use it instead of going to the library and reading books….

Next year, I will coordinate a new course on digital content and I’m currently looking into how to use generative AI in this course and what type of workshops and partnerships with companies could be relevant for our students. I want to contribute to making IÉSEG a major innovative school in the field of AI.

What attracted you to IÉSEG and what do you like here in particular?

First of all, I was ready to move on from a public university to a private business school with high rankings and outstanding accreditation, and I was particularly attracted to the international dimension of the School. I also knew some professors here and they provided me with very positive feedback about it.

I was really looking forward to teaching smaller groups of students in order to have more interaction and discussions with them. IÉSEG put its trust in me as soon as I arrived and gave me the opportunity to design my own courses, which has been very stimulating for me. Additionally, the international setting and diverse colleagues have contributed to my growth as a professor. I find that there are many opportunities here at IÉSEG for us professors to learn and improve as well. It is extremely important that we educate ourselves on hot topics such as AI before educating our students.

What do you like most about being a professor?

The fact that I can combine the best of both worlds: teaching and research, and bringing research insights into the classroom. Students often think that research has nothing to do with their studies so, I find it important to show the relevancy of study findings with what’s being learned in class. It’s interesting for them to think about how to translate these findings into practical recommendations. I really enjoy seeing students’ progress and engagement in class through interactions. My goal is, in the end, to inspire them and provide them the keys to obtain a job in the marketing field.

IÉSEG's 60th Anniversary Badge