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Institute for Research in Marketing

The Institute for Research in Marketing brings together the expertise of the Carlson School’s marketing faculty with top marketers and market research professionals from global brands, creating thought-provoking dialogue and driving the science and practice of marketing forward. This two-way conversation provides greater context for faculty research and encourages real-world adoption of that research, leading to better business strategies and more effective public policies.


Advisory Board

The Institute’s Board of Advisors consists of industry leaders from major firms and provides guidance, facilitates partnerships, and assists with national outreach and advocacy.


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Your gift will help strengthen collaborative industry/academic research projects, support faculty research, and help promote outreach, advocacy and ambassadorship for the Institute.


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Thank You for Attending the 2023 Ignite Conference

Do I Belong? How Brands Build Community
Friday, November 17, 2023


Conference Website



About Ignite

With over 300 in-person attendees, as well as a national online audience, the Ignite Conference sparks creative ideas around current industry topics to help marketing practitioners keep pace with today's dynamic trends. Ignite fuses the distinct marketing perspective of some of the country’s leading business scholars with those of corporate leaders from premier global companies.


IRM Spotlight

Learn more about an Institute for Research in Marketing Advisory Industry Board Member:


Martha Bennett

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) & EVP - nVent 

Martha is a marketing executive who is committed to solving the next big problem and turning a business from floundering to fabulous. Her team describes me as a transparent leader who is passionate about developing the next level of leaders, transforming culture while delivering bottom line results. More recently she's using her voice as an advocate for social justice. 

She has built her career experience thus far working across large multi-national companies, public sector government agencies, and even a stint in an entrepreneurial family run enterprise where every decision - big or small has a personal impact. In each role, she applied her strengths in strategy, marketing excellence, changing culture and delivering results to make a lasting impact on her legacy.  

Learn more about Martha on LinkedIn



Learn more about an Institute for Research in Marketing Advisory Faculty Board Member:


Akshay Rao

Professor, Marketing


Akshay R. Rao holds the General Mills Chair in Marketing at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.  He has an undergraduate honors degree in Economics from Madras University (India), a Masters in Business Administration from XLRI (India), and a PhD in Marketing from Virginia Tech. In 2011, he was honored as a “Distinguished Alumnus” by XLRI (India). At Carlson, he has also served as the founding Director of the Institute for Research in Marketing, an academic-industry think tank established with the corporate partnership of seventeen multi-national firms, from 2005-2010. In 1997-2000, he served as the Director of the Doctoral program and in 2003-2006 he served as Chairman of the Marketing & Logistics Management Department. He has served as a Visiting Professor at M. I. T. and at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. At Carlson he has received several awards for teaching excellence including the Curtis Cup Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Executive MBA program in 2012, and was recognized as an Outstanding Faculty member in the 4th and 5th editions of Business Week’s Guide to the Best Business Schools. 

Learn more about Akshay


Fall 2023 IRM Campaign Competition

Thank You Best Buy For Sponsoring!

Sofia MarconRyley BednarczykRyan HallonquistRayn KhanShashank Murali, and Jasmine Nguyen -- the winning team in the IRM Campaign Competition with Board member company Best Buy. Student's in Michelle Champlin Bergner, MBA capstone Marketing course competed to create the best strategic marketing plan to meet Best Buy's needs. A special shout out to Best Buy's Mandy Jelinek and Jennifer Faris Sposeto, MBA for working closely with students throughout the semester, and to additional Best Buy judges,  Carrie Craig and Amanda Renneke. Thank you for making this experience possible for students and for a fantastic semester!

Contact Institute for Research in Marketing