Jennifer Zarzosa

Assistant Professor of Marketing

Anywhere you go, you need to promote yourself. You don’t have to be a brand manager to do that. Whether it’s writing a persuasive resume or engaging cover letter, or at an interview promoting yourself, you’re always selling something.

Jennifer Zarzosa followed an unconventional path to the teaching profession.

She was working for Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. when she was invited to participate in the PhD Project, which recruits minority professionals from businesses and encourages them to enter doctoral programs.

Zarzosa decided to attend the PhD Conference and applied for the program.

“It wasn’t planned. I didn’t really know what I was getting into,” Zarzosa said. “I had never thought about teaching and hadn’t realized what the Ph.D. meant.”

After earning her Ph.D. in marketing from New Mexico State University, Zarzosa became one of only 24 female Hispanic-Americans in the U.S. to become a marketing professor at a business school.

Zarzosa quickly became intrigued by the research aspect of teaching.

“I thought I would be mostly teaching, but I realized that it’s a lot more than that,” she said. “In academia you get to work on ideas that you find interesting and also continuously learn through the work of other scholars. You’re pretty much a student for life.”

Zarzosa teaches a promotions management course at Henderson and currently focuses her research on promotions. “I’m working with a colleague on native advertising, which is advertising embedded in organic content, such as an advertorial,” she said. “It’s a way for advertisers to circumvent consumer skepticism and resistance.”

Zarzosa has no regrets about entering the teaching profession. “When I wake up, I’m not thinking about being at the office at 8 a.m. chained to my desk and answering a lot of emails,” she said. “The teaching profession lends itself to a lot of creativity and autonomy – something I was personally looking for.

“The fact that I’m able to do that at a place like Henderson where the majority of students are first generation, that’s something that really resonates with me because I’m a first-generation student. I get to expose them to a world they might not know is out there since we are kind of tucked away geographically. I find that very fulfilling.”

Zarzosa sees students as products or brands, and her role as a professor is to shape them.

“On the first day, I tell them you are not the customer, you are the brand, the product,” she said. “You are a work in progress and I’m just one professor of many who is going to shape you. The customers are the companies who will employ you.”

School of Business

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Degree and School:
PhD - New Mexico State University

Fashion marketing
Social media
Luxury consumption

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