Guest article by Arne De Keyser for our My Academic Role Model series.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a role model is a person who someone admires and whose behavior they try to copy. For the purpose of this article, I altered this definition slightly and defined my role models as people that I admire and from whom I have learned a great deal through interaction and collaboration

Writing this article proved to be easier said than done. I had to restrain myself from writing a 20-page manuscript about everyone who has played a role and had an impact on my (still short) career in the service field. Nevertheless, a few individuals stand out and deserve recognition. 

Bart Larivière

The first person I would like to mention is Bart Larivière, who is a close friend and the reason I am part of this community. In 2010, Bart invited me to start a PhD, and I have not since regretted saying yes. Bart taught me what it takes to become an academic and how to navigate this sometimes challenging environment. Most importantly, he made me realize that there is one key rule to follow: collaborate with (1) smart and (2) fun people.  

Katrien Verleye

Second comes Katrien Verleye, who I consider to be my no. 1 co-author and someone who is very dear to me. Having shared an office for several years in Ghent, we need few words to know what the other is thinking. I value our many research discussions, which can last several hours. Katrien is a highly-talented academic with exceptional conceptual thinking skills and a strong focus on making a difference. I cannot stress enough how much my own research (and person) skills improved by collaborating with Katrien. 

Kay Lemon

Another role model is Kay Lemon (having Kay appear multiple times in this series is no coincidence!). Spending some time with Kay at Boston College felt like being in a pressure cooker (in a good way!) – never did I learn so much about research, the publishing process, writing, … in such a short period of time. Whenever I’m in need of advice (career-wise, dealing with a ‘nasty’ reviewer, …), Kay is one of my go-to people.  

Jeroen Schepers

I would also like to dedicate a paragraph to Jeroen Schepers and Christophe Lembregts. I met Jeroen during my PhD when he came to give a talk in Ghent, and we had an immediate connect (sharing a similar sense of humor helps ;-)). After publishing our first paper in IJRM, we kept in touch and met annually for a social dinner between  Ghent and Eindhoven.

Christophe Lembregts

Recently, we teamed up with Christophe (a CB researcher by heart), who is one of the smartest and most humble research minds I have encountered. Both of these guys live up to the key rule – smart & fun – and have made me learn a great deal about conducting experimental work and continuously pushing to mind the details. 

There are several other people that would deserve their own paragraph – I’m thinking about Tim Keiningham (who immediately welcomed me in the service family and keeps pushing me to believe in myself), Yves Van Vaerenbergh (my academic “brother”, whose broad level of knowledge inspires to read widely myself), Lerzan Aksoy (whose level of empathy and managerial talents I can only be envious of, and that next to being an outstanding researcher and co-author), Jay Kandampully (who’s invited me to become an AE for JOSM, and has been providing young scholars so many opportunities to grow), Chiara Orsingher (an amazing co-author, always challenging my thinking, and my all-time favorite Italian), Simon Hazée (sharp, always well-prepared and a joy to work with), Khalid Mehmood (whose path is inspiring and admirable), Sertan Kabadayi (a though, but fair opponent during my PhD defence, and always highly supportive), Mike Brady (who invited me to join the JSR editorial board), and many others…  

I’m immensely grateful to be part of this community and will keep trying to pay this forward! For next episodes in this series, I’d like to nominate Sarah Köcher (TU Dortmund) and Anders Gustafsson (BI).

Arne De Keyser
Associate Professor of Marketing, EDHEC Business School