Leadership Transition for Stellar Marketing Analytics Program

Sara Pitterle and Pushkar Raj
August 7, 2018

The robust business industry of marketing analytics ushers career changes for LSBE faculty.

It has been amazing to see where students have already taken their careers.

In mid-summer 2011, Sara Pitterle was hired as director of the newly established Marketing Analytics Major that the Board of Regents had approved that spring. The Program has flourished under Pitterle’s guidance because of her passion and zeal for analytics. However, with so much currently happening in the world of marketing analytics, Pitterle’s interest in new techniques and the challenges facing the industry has resulted in her decision to return to the industry. Pushkar Raj will take over the Marketing Analytics Program this Fall.  

 Pitterle’s tasks when she was hired in 2011 were to “bring the major to life and get a minor approved, write the specialized analytics curriculum, and shepherd these courses through the academic approval process. And, most importantly recruit students into this unique undergraduate program.” Today the Marketing Analytics Program has graduated seven cohorts of between 18 - 24 students. Graduates from the program have secured analytic positions with a wide range of companies, including maurices, Hormel, 3M, Schwans, IRi, and Nielsen.

“The program is structured in such a way that I really had a unique opportunity to mentor, teach, and coach students over the course of two and a half years,” she said. “This provided me a front row seat to the students’ development as analysts and to their transition from college student to young professional. I loved seeing some students who were unsure of their skills initially grow into confident and articulate analysts. This is a very broad field, and it has been amazing to see where students have already taken their careers.”

 Pitterle brought almost 20 years of industry experience in a variety of roles both in the U.S. and overseas to her position at LSBE. It’s the excitement of being an industry analyst that has lured her away from LSBE. “The analytics environment is changing rapidly, and there are a number of industries that I am very interested in learning more about and helping to grow using my knowledge and skills. It was a tough decision to leave LSBE, and I will truly miss my colleagues and the students; however, Pushkar will continue to integrate new applications into the program and grow its profile in the analytics arena.”

 Pushkar Raj, who joins the Marketing department as a director and instructor of Marketing Analytics, brings with him almost ten years of corporate work experience in customer insights and analytics space. Most recently, Pushkar worked at Walmart as a senior manager for two years in Customer Insights and Analytics using data centric and customer insights driven strategies to grow the Omni-channel business.

 “As director of LSBE’s Marketing Analytics Program, I get the opportunity to mentor and teach students, collaborate with industry partners, and shape the future of the program” said Raj. “It’s a challenging but hugely important task for which I am very excited.”

 Raj received his MBA in marketing research at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, A.C. Nielsen Center. While completing his MBA, Pushkar led student consulting projects for Orbitz and General Mills and completed a new product development consulting project with American Family Insurance. Prior to coming to the U.S., he held a variety of insights and analytics roles such as senior analyst at Dunnhumby, analyst at HSBC, and consultant at Deloitte – all based in India.

Additionally, Raj’s spouse, Dr. Devaleena Das, has joined the Department of Anthropology, Criminology, and Sociology in UMD’s CLA as an assistant professor.