Have you met... Dr. Kyle Murray

On July 1st, 2021, Kyle Murray will step up as Acting Dean of the Alberta School of Business.

An award-winning teacher and researcher, Kyle earned his BSc (Specialization Psychology, 1994) and PhD (Marketing and Psychology, 2004) from the University of Alberta. He has been with the Alberta School of Business since 2008–serving as Vice Dean from 2017 to 2021 and as the Director of the School of Retailing from 2008 to 2017–and is well-positioned to lead the faculty come July 1st. Spend the next few minutes getting to know him a bit better!

Tell us about the focus of your research area (in three sentences or less)

My research examines human judgment and decision-making, using the tools of experimental psychology and behavioural economics to better understand the choices that people make. I'm currently working on complex behaviour change challenges in business and society, including the Canada-wide BIOrg project.

What is your favourite course to teach? 

In recent years I have taught Marketing to the Executive MBAs and Retail and Channel Management to undergraduate students. I have really enjoyed both of these courses. The MBAs bring a lot of experience to the classroom and the discussions we have are fascinating. The undergraduates are incredibly bright and enthusiastic, and they really engage with the material. I will miss the students in both of these courses.

What is your first memory at the U of A? 

I started at the U of A when I was 17 as a science undergrad (1994 BSc. Psychology), and I remember feeling like a small fish in a big ocean. But my first memory of the U of A was playing basketball in the summer camps in high school. That was a lot of fun and the campus is beautiful in the summer. When I graduated high school, I didn’t even consider going anywhere else.

What’s something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

People seem to be surprised when I tell them I grew up in Alberta in the small town of Fort Vermilion, and then went to High School in Ardrossan (just outside of Edmonton). A strength of our university is the global diversity of the faculty, but I’m one of the few that is actually from here.

What’s your favourite hobby or pastime?

I like to travel, I enjoy opera, I read a lot and I’m a fan of science fiction. During the pandemic, I have rediscovered the joy of multiplayer first-person shooters, which has allowed me to keep in regular contact with friends I used to see over drinks or dinner.

Where is your favourite place on campus? 

Ok, I’m obviously biased here, but for me, it is the Business Building. Especially in September when the students return and bring all their energy and excitement to the space. Our rooftop Japanese garden has amazing views across the river to downtown Edmonton.

If you were enrolling in one course, program or degree right now, what would it be?

I’d love to take David Deephouse’s MBA course SMO 686 Introduction to Indigenous Business. The feedback on that course has been phenomenal and the content is fascinating. I’d also like to sit in on Mark Huson’s course in FIN 658 New Venture Development and Tim Hannigan’s Entrepreneurship 101. That’s just in the Business School, there is so much to learn from world-leading experts across the University.

What’s something your coworkers don’t know about you?

Late in the summer, when the fruit is ripe on the tree in my backyard, I bake a great cherry pie.

What’s a weird pet peeve you have?

Interview questions about pet peeves … also nails or even chalk on a chalkboard (I don’t think I could have been a professor if we still used chalkboards).

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

Probably my grandparents. I miss them and they always gave me great advice.

Academically, it would be so hard to choose. Maybe psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky or marketing scholar Theodore Levitt.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

I would hesitate to give myself any advice, I’d hate to ruin the fun of life unfolding. But I’d be tempted to tell myself that I had just met my future wife, which 18 year old me would have found hard to believe. Oh, I’d probably also tell myself not to worry about that organic chemistry grade.

What is the biggest strength/opportunity that you see for the faculty in the next year? 

As we emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic, we will begin to revitalize our School’s culture and our student experience. This includes launching an online MBA and moving towards direct entry in our BCom program in the fall of 2022. It is going to be an exciting time to be part of the Alberta School of Business.