Associate Professor Suzanne Shu lived and worked in a number of states throughout the U.S. before accepting a position at UCLA Anderson. Raised in Florida, New York, Massachusetts and Nevada, Shu attended Cornell University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering. There, she started work as an admissions officer at the College of Engineering, with a focus on recruiting more women into the field of study. After graduation, she took a position in the telecom industry in New Jersey. The next stop was the University of Chicago for her MBA and a doctorate in behavioral sciences, before accepting her first academic job in Dallas.
Shu credits the leap to academia with a course in her MBA program, “Managerial Decision Making” (similar to the course taught by UCLA Anderson Professor Craig Fox.) It drove her to learn more about decisions and behaviors, areas that were puzzling in the workplace.
“As an engineering project manager, I learned about aspects of business that I hadn’t really been exposed to in college,” says Shu. “I also learned a lot about human behavior in the workplace, and watched people make decisions that didn’t always seem rational or optimal.”
It was UCLA Anderson’s strength in the research and study of behavioral science and decision-making that lead Shu to join the ranks. “There are only one or two other business schools across the country with as many outstanding faculty in this area,” she says. “It’s a very invigorating and productive environment with amazingly smart people who share and discuss the latest discoveries in marketing, behavioral economics, psychology and behavioral finance.”
Another UCLA Anderson attraction: the work that faculty do collaboratively on research projects. Shu cites joint efforts with UCLA Anderson colleagues and UCLA Medical School faculty on how to use behavioral economics to encourage healthy behavior among patients.
Shu has recently become interested in “decumulation,” which involves how people manage their retirement income once they’ve stopped working. She looks at ways people can optimize their spending and make better quality decisions more easily that reflect their own needs and situations.
Shu also revels in teaching marketing courses to students who think the discipline is only about advertising. “We take a very rigorous approach to marketing that includes teaching quantitative tools that help marketers make informed decisions about customers and their environments. Getting students to see the relationships between marketing and statistics, strategy, economics and even finance is very rewarding.”
For more on Shu, head to her Anderson page.