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Welcome to 300 The Fenway's "Know Your Professor." Here's your opportunity to get to know Simmons' professors on a more personal level. You'll get the inside scoop on their favorite books, music, hidden talents, and more.

Meet Professor Jill Avery from the School of Management. Professor Avery is perhaps best known for her background in brand management and customer relationship management. But did you know she volunteers at the Museum of Fine Arts and loves sushi? Plus, you may be surprised to hear about the last concert she attended!

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What is your favorite class to teach?
My two favorites are Consumer Behavior (MGMT 230) and Creating Brand Value (MGMT 231). I spent 10 years as a brand manager for Gillette, Braun, Samuel Adams, and AT&T before becoming a professor, so teaching students about brand management brings me back to my roots. Brands are such an important part of contemporary culture and I believe that our brands are windows into our identities, so I love unraveling the mystique that brands have for their consumers. I also love teaching Consumer Behavior because it is fascinating to understand "why we buy". The course teaches us how to be better marketers, but, more importantly, how to understand ourselves as consumers and to be more mindful of the many invisible forces persuading us to buy.

What book are you currently reading?
I just finished The Little Book by Selden Edwards. It is a fascinating novel about time travel, family ancestry, and intellectualism in turn of the century Vienna. It resonated with me because 1.) it illustrates the life-long influence good teachers have on their students, 2.) it transported me to a magical time and place, and 3.) I visited Austria this past summer with my family to be a guest professor at the University of Innsbruck, so it was wonderful to learn more about the country's cultural, political, and intellectual history. I also read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein to my children this summer. It was the first time I'd read it since I was a child and it still fascinated me.

What's your favorite book?
I hate this question! As a former English literature major, I struggle with choosing only one favorite book, as there are so many books that have been influential in my life. Books that have been particularly resonant with me are F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise, Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles (I chose to name my daughter Tess in tribute to this one!), Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. More recently, I have enjoyed Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Continue reading Know Your Professor: Jill Avery.


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