University of Dallas faculty member, Laura Muñoz, Ph.D, has been promoted to associate professor of marketing at the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business. Muñoz’s research over the last decade has covered matters within professional selling, marketing and entrepreneurship and pedagogy. Throughout her research into professional selling, Muñoz has been a proponent of the theory of neutralizations, taking her findings to businesses looking to proactively create or improve ethical culture within their organization.
Business Research Piqued by Curiosity
“My study into this field began because I was curious about what was happening in the mind of a salesperson,” said Muñoz. “We often see professionals express that they knew their actions were not ethical, yet they continue to behave in an unethical manner.”
Her most personal research, however, has been in the realm of marketing and entrepreneurship. When her mother, a retired medical doctor, opened a medical business Muñoz found herself enthralled by the entrepreneurial adventure.
“Being raised in a developing country, I often see and read academic articles in a different light,” said Muñoz. “This led me to question the current understanding of an entrepreneur. I argued that sometimes people are pushed into entrepreneurship. Often what we see in developing countries when people are unable to find work, they become self-employed in order to survive.”
Today, Muñoz has turned this idea into understanding how and why complex startups are born, specifically the booming craft brewing industry in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Feeding the Classroom Experience
But what truly motivates her is what many students at the college of business know all too well: her passion for guiding and motivating students.
“Research feeds the classroom experience,” said Muñoz. “As a professor, my research allows me to personally test theories and approaches then return to the classroom able to say ‘this is what works, this is what needs refinement.”
For Muñoz, this is clearly reflected in her teaching style where you’ll find students actively engaged in classroom-wide conversations, connections being made between textbook theories and real life business experiences.
Along with her other research, Muñoz is also involved in pedagogical study, actively looking for ways of improving her teaching and the experience provided to students. Much of the work she has contributed to the field continues to be used in other university business programs.
A Student-Centric Approach
As Muñoz looks back on her time at UDallas, what she most fondly remembers are the relationships she’s built with students. Since joining the faculty in 2012, she has served as founder and advisor to two student groups: Market Share – Marketing, an American Marketing Association student group and the Entrepreneurship Society.
In 2014 she coached undergraduate business student, Mary Trinko, who at the time had no formal sales education for the national Sales Decathlon at Northern Illinois University. For months, they trained one-on-one, over the phone and on the weekends. Trinko placed 16th out of 150 competing students and left with a job offer one year before even graduating.
When describing her goal as a researcher and professor, Muñoz explains, “I have to make this experience valuable and relevant for my students. My career has already been established, theirs is waiting to be launched.”