A Conversation with Distinguished Professor Neelankavil

Meet the People of Zarb: Robert E. Brockway Endowed  Distinguished Professor James P. Neelankavil

[Note: This is one in a series of posts to highlight the people who contribute to making the Zarb School of Business a special place.]

Here is our Q&A with Dr. Neelankavil, one of the Zarb School’s distinguished professors.

  • Could you describe your educational, academic, and professional background.

I received a B.Sc in Physics and Mathematics from St. Thomas College, part of Kerala University, India; an MBA with distinction in Management and Marketing from the Asian Institute of Management, Manila Philippines; and a Ph. D. in International Business with a minor in Marketing from the Stern School of Business, New York University

I have taught International Business and Marketing courses at the Asian Institute of Management (1972-1973); at New York Institute of Technology (1976-1978); Montclair College (1978-1979); Stern School of Business (1979-1983); and the Zarb School of Business (1983-present).

In addition, I have held visiting professorships at the S.D.A Bocconi University in Milan, Italy; Rotterdam School of Management in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Asian Institute of Management in Manila, Philippines; and Stern School of Business in New York, USA. I was also a Fulbright Senior Specialist to the Philippines with recurring assignments to Tunisia and Colombia that I had to decline for personal reasons.

I had 9 years of corporate experience at an American company in India, first as a management trainee (1961-1963) and then has production supervisor (1963 -1970).

  • What are your major areas of teaching and research interest?

My teaching interests are Corporate Strategy, International Business, International Marketing, International Business Research, and Marketing Strategy.

My major research interests are Cross-Cultural Management, Economic Development of Developing Countries, National Debt and Its Effects on Growth, International Business Research, Advertising Copy Research, and International Advertising Self-Regulation. 

I have published in such journals as Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Advertising Research, Business Horizons, European Journal of Marketing, and International Journal of Cross Cultural Management.

  • What is your philosophy with regard to the three major goals for ZSOB faculty: teaching, research, and service?

In teaching, I want to be current and relevant, and to provide an experiential learning opportunity for my students. I also emphasize the importance of communicating both orally and in written format. In addition, I want the students to understand the importance of analysis (in-depth) and creativity in developing strategic initiatives and decision-making.

In research, I focus on current issues I see as relevant in advancing the literature in the fields of International Business, Globalization, and Cross-Country Research.

My service goals are simple — to be available to provide a helping hand in furthering the cause of my Department, the Zarb School, and Hofstra University.

  • Please describe some of your accomplishments while at the Zarb School.

I have been an effective teacher and a productive researcher. I have volunteered for challenging service assignments and accepted demanding administrative assignments when needed.

  • How have you seen the Zarb School change over the years?

From its positioning as a purely teaching institution, the Zarb School of Business has slowly grown into a well-recognized business school with well-rounded faculty who have transitioned into more advanced research output.

  • What is something most people don’t know about you?

I am not sure. If I had to guess, it would be that my calm approach and wanting to be a gentleman can sometimes be mistaken for not being tough and for being a weak person. Secondly, once in a while, my disciplined approach in the classroom is misconstrued as being heartless. I am quite the opposite — very caring!

  • Any final thoughts?

Despite of my trepidations when I joined the Zarb School of Business 31 years ago, I have had a career here that was rewarding — having taught some excellent students, interacted with very fine faculty (a few became very close personal friends), gotten assistance from a group of wonderful administrative assistants, and  dealt with some fine administrators.


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