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Indian professor in Spain shares insights on impact of Covid on changing consumer behaviour 

‘Consumer research can unravel the mysteries of consumption better than ever before,’ says Apeejay alumnus Dr. Jatinder Jit Singh, who is working with EADA Business School in Barcelona



Born and brought up in rural Punjab, Dr. Jatinder Jit Singh aspired to serve in the Indian Army like his maternal and paternal grandfathers. And so, as part of his preparation strategy, while Singh was preparing for the Combined Defence Services Exam, he also joined the MBA program at Apeejay, Jalandhar to enhance his management skills and knowledge. “I assumed these would help me during my army career,” he expressed. 

But unfortunately, his childhood dream came crashing down, when he was given a permanent rejection in the medical examination because of myopia, even after clearing all the other rounds. “I had to refocus my efforts and reset my expectations. I was in the second year of the MBA program at that time. After finishing the MBA, I got placed with a pharmaceutical company as a territory sales manager in central India. While I enjoyed the new challenge, I was not fully satisfied with my job,” the Apeejay alumnus mentioned.

Dr Singh had always been fascinated with scientific research and so, he decided instead to write the GMAT and applied to a few doctorate programs in the US. He received an opportunity from University of Mississippi, with a full tuition waiver, an assistantship, and a fellowship. Within a few months, he was in the US, working on his PhD project in the field of marketing. After completing his doctorate, the researcher was offered a faculty position in Spain. Currently, Dr Singh is working as an Associate Professor with EADA Business School in Barcelona. In his 15 years of academic journey, Dr Singh has worked as a core faculty member in two of the best business schools, ESADE and EADA, in Spain, and has taught market research, strategic analysis and business ethics to students as well as executive from more than 80 different countries. He has also published many research articles in leading academic journals. Currently, he lives in the Catalan countryside along with his partner and two children.

In this interview, he highlights how pandemic accelerated shift to online shopping and digital payments. Read edited excerpts: 

How and when did you decide to pursue your career abroad?

I moved to the US in the year 2002 to pursue my doctorate. I was interested in academic research and learning about the scientific method. US business schools provide a great opportunity in terms of scholarships and training.

Given your field of work, what intrigues you about academic research related to marketing/consumer behaviour?

Consumption is a universal phenomenon and we are always consuming from the moment we wake up until we call it a day and hit the hay. The study of consumer behavior is rather intriguing because it is based on an amalgam of underlying subject areas, such as, economics, sociology, psychology and anthropology. With advanced analytical tools, access to all kinds of data and the ease of conducting online experiments and surveys, consumer research can unravel the mysteries of consumption better than ever before. Personally, for me, the focus on ethics and sustainability is very intriguing. I am currently working on multiple projects that aim to understand why or why not consumers and managers make ethical/unethical decisions/choices. 

It’s certain that pandemic drastically impacted consumer behaviour in many aspects. Share two consumer behavior trends that are here to stay for a while.

Indeed, Covid related confinement had a strong impact on consumers’ behaviors. The growth of online retail shopping is one that comes to mind right away. During the pandemic induced restrictions, consumers had to switch to online channels. Many people got used to this new way of doing things and found it very convenient. As a result, many face-to-face interactions with businesses were replaced by the online ones. Another trend that can be mentioned is the switch from physical cash-based payment to new more advanced, contactless systems. Paper money is bound to become obsolete in the near future.

What memories do you have from Apeejay? How did it shape you for the future?

The mention of Apeejay brings back some amazing memories. Studying with a group of brilliant people with diverse backgrounds was very enriching. Sharing ideas and building upon each other’s work is  highly rewarding. Even though the variation among classmates in Apeejay was more localised (almost everyone was from Punjab), it did prepare me for the future diversity that I was eventually exposed to. Further, I had a science background in college. So, the Master’s degree at Apeejay helped me understand managerial concepts that were very useful for me down the road. This could not have been possible without the support of our professors who worked hard to make sure that we had a top-class learning experience.

Tips for aspirants wanting to study and work abroad?

Please believe in yourself and work hard. We have a very solid education system in India that prepares one well to take on the world. One must be confident and unafraid to put oneself out of one’s comfort zone. There are many scholarship opportunities available in universities across the globe, because everyone wants to attract the best talent, so use these opportunities to your advantage. Once you are abroad, do not shy away from experimenting and learning new things and enriching yourself.

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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