Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Business school offers new specialization

The business school will offer a services marketing specialization beginning this fall, making The University of Alabama campus one of only a handful of these programs in the nation.

Associate professor David Mothersbaugh, who created the program at the University, said his work started after the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration implemented a strategic planning process assessing what areas of the college were strong or may need improvement.

“One area we were really doing well in was the sales program,” Mothersbaugh said. “When we went out and researched the job market, we found about 80 percent of the U.S. economy is service or service-related, and when we talked to corporate organizations, they indicated in fact they could use people who were trained to develop and manage world-class service teams.”

Mothersbaugh said services are intangible performances and activities like insurance or the non-food component of a restaurant or the delivery of an experience, so the student demand for this program has been high.

“Managing the customer experience is a very service related topic,” he said. “And a lot of times services offer a challenge because it’s like a theater where you have to teach your employees how to deep act to convey emotions that seem authentic.”

This specialization is a three-class sequence, Mothersbaugh said, that is geared toward a student who wants to manage teams of people, deliver premier services, manage customer relationships or even work with other areas of an organization such as sales.

“It’s a good complement to a lot of different majors both inside and outside of the business school,” he said. “Outside of the business school, we are partnering with the fashion retailing group, so I look forward to working with them.”

The soft launch of the program was this semester, but it’s fully approved now, and the program will roll out this fall, Mothersbaugh said.

“We just hired a fully dedicated professor to this program, Tom Baker, who is from Clemson, and we just got approval to hire a full-time director for the program,” he said. “This will be an industry-based person who can develop the program to its fullest and create partnerships with corporations to match students up and bring them together.”

Diane Johnson, head of the management and marketing department, said this new specialization was a huge opportunity for her department and will complement its highly successful sales program.

“Our dean, Dr. Hardin, challenged the college when he took over as dean two years ago to create programs that were innovative, rigorous and relevant,” she said. “The services specialization meets all three of those keys.”

Johnson said the courses will be challenging, but they will provide students with the knowledge, skills and abilities they’ll need to fill the jobs in this area.

One student, Morgen Jensen, a junior majoring in marketing, said the services marketing specialization appealed to her because she knew it would add more value to her degree and make her a better candidate for future professional positions.

“The material covered in class goes above and beyond just showing students how to be better service providers,” Jensen said. “It teaches us how to provide the best customer experience possible while maintaining a well-run service organization.”



More to Discover