Exploring Consumerism

February 28, 2018

male student pointing at sculptureVisiting entertainment companies, historic landmarks, and local shopping destinations are all part of Assistant Professor of Business Administration Kristen Smirnov’s JanTerm course, Consumer Behavior. During the course, students stepped off campus and traveled throughout Los Angeles to examine various forms of consumerism.

As part of the first excursion, students attended a showing of The Last Jedi on the IMAX screen at the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. It was an opportunity for the class to discuss how streaming services are changing the way people consume media and the effect that has on traditional media production. A trip to the J. Paul Getty Museum allowed the class to examine the consumer experience at a large not-for-profit organization, as well as appreciate the impressive collection of masterpieces. 

“Being able to get off campus during JanTerm makes the class so much more engaging,” said Smirnov. “We were able to strike a balance between in-class theory development and the students actually encountering a variety of real concerns and challenges related to consumer behavior.”

As a final trip, the class found themselves at the headquarters of Blizzard Entertainment, a developer and publisher of computer games. During their visit, students took a tour of the company’s main campus and engaged in an hour-long Q&A session with J. Allen Brack, senior vice president at Blizzard and executive producer of World of Warcraft. The visit allowed students to see how consumer-focused companies develop and maintain products, develop consumer engagement strategies, and react to changing markets.

By: Priscilla Lam ’18