Teaching the Secrets of Marketing

Why this Oregon professor remains a favorite long after students have left his classroom

BusinessWeek asked business undergrads to tell us about their favorite professors. Here's another installment in the series.

Mike Dore isn't one of those silly professors who jumps up on tables to be memorable. Instead, it's his low-key yet arresting teaching style that keeps University of Oregon marketing students on their toes. He always uses video in his class lectures, but he keeps the visuals interesting by picking out topics relevant to the students. "Every year, I take the Super Bowl ads, edit them down to 12 to 14 minutes, collect all the press, and do a whole lecture on why they're important," says Dore about one of his best-liked lectures.

Later in the course students are expected to come up with a product and prepare a full marketing plan and presentation as the final project. "One group developed a mobile barbecue pit and they are now marketing that in the real world," says Dore.

Before coming to Oregon, Dore split his time between running Los Angeles ad agency Gaunt-Dore-Snyder and teaching at the University of Southern California. He started his career at Carnation (now owned by Nestlé (NSRGY)) but always knew he wanted to teach. "I was given the opportunity to guest lecture for one of my bosses from Carnation and really enjoyed it," he remembers. Later he sold his company, got married, and moved to Oregon to be near his wife, Molly Hoffer.

Humor as a Teaching Tool

With almost 30 years of teaching experience, Dore has won plaudits before. He is a two-time winner of the Golden Apple Teaching Award for excellence from USC, and received the Business Advisory Council's undergraduate teaching award from the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business. Now, students responding to BusinessWeek's survey of undergrad business programs listed him as one of their favorite professors.

Dore never takes himself too seriously. Many times, he uses jokes to keeps his students engaged. "The way he talks is a lot of fun," says Amy Chu, an accounting senior at Oregon. "He's very humorous. I don't think there was a dull moment in his class." Even if the material itself was more dense than exciting, Chu adds that she was never bored.

Accessibility is another trademark of the professor. After official office hours he answers questions on his home phone and keeps in touch with students long after they've finished his course. "I had a project that was due in one of my other classes and he helped me out," says Chu, who felt comfortable reaching out to Dore even after she left the class.

Between research, lectures and answering student questions, the professor still manages to sneak in some time to pursue outside hobbies. For the past five years Dore and his wife have been building their new home from scratch, which in turn has also allowed him to pursue his passion for woodworking. "It's really lovely; most people think it should be in a design magazine," says Dore about the house, which has a large garden. He encourages his students to develop hobbies. "Some of the most successful business people have been very well read and they are involved with lots of different kinds of activities," says Dore. "I encourage my students to really get involved in life."

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.