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Remembering Dr. Jain

School mourns passing of a beloved marketing professor

By Jacqueline Molik Ghosen

Arun K. Jain, longtime faculty member and Samuel P. Capen Professor of Marketing Research in the School of Management, died unexpectedly March 3. He was 71.

Born in India, Jain earned advanced degrees in business from the University of Allahabad and came to the U.S. in the late 1960s.

After graduating from the International Center for the Advancement of Management Education at the Stanford University School of Business in 1968, Jain obtained an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley. He went on to earn a doctoral degree in marketing in 1974 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he worked as a research assistant at the Wharton School.

Jain joined the University at Buffalo in 1973 and, over the course of the next 42 years, impacted the lives of countless students and contributed significantly to the school's reputation through his scholarship and many media interviews.

A Fulbright scholar and prolific researcher, Jain published more than 60 articles in international journals and in 1982 co-authored "Marketing Research: Applications and Problems," an influential text in the field of marketing.

Known nationally and internationally as an expert in retail marketing, especially supermarket retailing, he often was cited in such media outlets as the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek.

In 2000, he established the school's Center for Relationship Marketing, which analyzes transactional data from more than 5 million households.

Well known for his popularity with students, Jain and his wife, Jean, often hosted student receptions in their home. He received the "Professor of the Year" award in 1989 and "Most Captivating Professor" in 1997. He was also a recipient of the prestigious SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1990.

Jain with David Schembri, president of Smart USA, in the Center for the Arts parking lot during a 2009 MBA Smart Car marketing project. Photo: Douglas Levere

"It's rare to find someone who was such an accomplished researcher and academic on the scholarship side, but also an exemplary teacher who has that kind of dedication to his students," said Paul Tesluk, dean of the School of Management.

Dozens of alumni conveyed condolences and memories in person and by email and social media.

"My analytics and research skills are all based upon his teachings," said Ron Veiders, MBA '01, director of marketing at Dynabrade. "His classes shaped my understanding and foundation of market research, competitive research, trade marketing - everything that's allowed me to succeed in my career."

Jain cultivated an extensive alumni network, bringing many graduates into his classes to speak to his current students. He often shaped entire semesters around real-life business cases, enabling graduates to make an immediate impact on the competitiveness and profitability of their employers.

"Dr. Jain had a tremendous impact on my life," said Sanjay Gupta, MBA '00, vice president and portfolio manager of CDM, a global health care advertising agency. A frequent guest in Jain's classes, Gupta came from New York City to speak to Jain's MBA marketing class last fall. "He will remain in my memory as a great human being, mentor and an amazing person full of energy."

Jain also tapped into his robust alumni network to help current MBAs find jobs and internships.

He worked, taught and conducted research in more than 20 countries, including Hungary, Latvia, China and Singapore, and was a business consultant to several major corporations around the globe, including Honeywell, M&T Bank and Fisher-Price.

"Dr. Jain was a great professor with an unparalleled world view," said Praphul Misra, MBA '91, managing director of Oi Media in New Delhi, India. "He genuinely cared for his students' career success, and we will miss him dearly."

In addition to his wide travels, Jain was an avid photographer and enjoyed listening to classical music. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Jean, and his adult children, Roshan and Neera.

Donations in Jain's memory can be made to the Dr. Arun K. Jain Student Assistance Fund.

A legacy for students

The Graduate Management Association honored Jain by wearing bow ties at the group's Spring Soirée event.

Arun Jain’s career, passion and vision were always centered on his students.

He and his wife, Jean, personally established three commencement award funds in the School of Management. He understood and embraced the importance of generosity. Jain was looking forward to retiring in spring 2016 and, prior to his death, a plan was underway to establish a fund in his honor. He was touched and enthusiastic about this and clearly stated he wanted the fund to benefit students.

To create a legacy in his memory, the School of Management has established the Dr. Arun K. Jain Student Assistance Fund, with the goal of raising enough money to endow the fund. If you wish to share in this vision by making a personal gift, you can do so at http://bit.ly/jainfund.