The top-selling International Marketing textbook defines international marketing as “the performance of business activities designed to plan, price, promote, and direct the flow of a company’s goods and services to consumers or users in more than one nation for a profit.” The argument is that “more than one nation” is what separates domestic from international marketing. We can also argue that “for a profit” is a constraining qualifier since the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, non-profit organizations, and philanthropic organizations – to name a few categories – also use “international marketing” tools, skills, and knowledge to cross country borders with their activities.

But that’s not the focus of this blog! Instead, let’s use the definition of international marketing as a general guide to the topic. What I do want to focus on is Michigan State University’s influence on international marketing scholarship. For about half a century, MSU’s Broad College of Business has been a leader in international marketing scholarship – research, teaching, services, and outreach. MSU has some 1,400 faculty conducting research, teaching, service, and outreach in 176 countries – and a number of these professors are entrenched in international marketing scholarship. Ultimately, research rankings drive the prestige and reputation of an academic institution such as Michigan State University.

We have university rankings, college rankings (e.g., business schools), and department rankings. However, since “international marketing” is a sub-topic within the broader topic of “marketing” (i.e., most business schools/colleges have a Department of Marketing), we seldom have rankings for such a specialized area. Thankfully, options exist to help us out.

In particular, “Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.” Google Scholar also allows researchers to self-identify their “Areas of Interest” (up to five phrases in one profile). This makes it especially appropriate to use Google Scholar for key phrases such as “international marketing” since the researchers themselves have self-identified by typing in the phrase and saving it to their profiles.

Interestingly, albeit not surprisingly, eight of the top 12 researchers in "International Marketing" (as of May 27, 2018, Google Scholar) are or have been affiliated with the Department of Marketing in the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. These scholars include:

#1 – G. Tomas M. Hult (44,000+ citations)
#2 – S. Tamer Cavusgil (35,000+ citations)
#3 – Roger J. Calantone (34,000+ citations)
#6 – Pervez Ghauri (17,000+ citations)
#7 – Gary A. Knight (17,000+ citations)
#8 – Masaaki Kotabe (16,000+ citations)
#11 – Shaoming Zou (10,000+ citations)
#12 – David A. Griffith (10,000+ citations)

Professors Tomas Hult and Roger Calantone are Byington Endowed Chair and Broad University Professor of Business, respectively, and currently at Michigan State University. Tamer Cavusgil is MSU professor emeritus but still active at Georgia State University. Gary Knight (1997), Masaaki Kotabe (1987), and Shaoming Zou (1994) received their doctoral degrees (PhD) in Marketing at MSU. David Griffith (2003-2012) and Pervez Ghauri (2000-2002) were affiliated with MSU as faculty during a portion of their professional careers. The non-MSU faculty in the top 12 include #4 – Adamantios Diamantopoulos; #5 – Rajan Varadarajan; #9 – David Tse; and #10 – Michael Czinkota. However, each of these four scholars has produced articles and/or books in co-authorship with one or more MSU affiliated faculty.

In closing, the Marketing Department in the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University “creates knowledge by doing empirical research at the “state of the science” and translating it to the practitioner’s “state of the art,” while developing transformational marketing leaders who make business happen. Core competence is in the exercise of managerial and strategic marketing, with focal areas of emphasis in 1) Market Research and Analytics, 2) Sales and Business Development, 3) Customer Experience and Relationship Marketing, 4) New Product Development and Innovation, and 5) International Marketing.” We are proud of our “international marketing” heritage and scholarly leadership, and appreciate the opportunity to have an influence on business practice and research in the field of international marketing.


Dr. Tomas Hult is Professor and Byington Endowed Chair in International Business in the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, where he also serves as the Director of the International Business Center (which is a CIBE-funded center by the U.S. Department of Education). Dr. Hult is Executive Director of the Academy of International Business, with members in some 90 countries. His International Business (12e) and Global Business Today (10e) books (McGraw-Hill Education), with Charles W. L. Hill, are the market leaders in IB textbooks worldwide. Professor Hult is one of the top cited international business scholars, and in 2016 he was selected as the Academy of Marketing Science Distinguished Marketing Educator as that year's top marketing professor globally for career scholarly career achievements.


Share this article