Rajendran Murthy: Focuses on learning by doing




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A. Sue Weisler

Raj Murthy, Saunders College of Business

Rajendran (Raj) Murthy is the blog creator of Digbert’s World: Marketing seen through an engineer’s eyes.

“Digbert describes my life in 30 seconds,” said the associate professor of marketing at Saunders College of Business about his educational website based on characters from Scott Adam’s satirical comic strip Dilbert. “I began my career as an engineer in a telecom company like Dilbert, then moved to business consulting like the savvy Dogbert, before I settled into teaching—so Dilbert and Dogbert equals Digbert.”

Murthy is a recipient of a 2016 Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching. Since joining RIT in 2009, he has been a pioneer in course development and integration of technology in the classroom. He created the Search Engine Marketing and Analytics class as part of RIT’s new media marketing curriculum—in which students applied for, and won, a $120,000 grant from the Google for Nonprofits program to implement Google AdWords and raise awareness for a nonprofit client in the area. In the past six years, his classes have helped more than 83 local businesses.

Murthy’s teaching methodology has not gone unnoticed; he is a six-time nominee for the Eisenhart and said it’s a great honor to receive tenure and RIT’s highest award in teaching the same year. “My primary focus in the classroom is learning by doing; I’m preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist yet,” he said.

“I believe in extraordinary awards for extraordinary effort and that means going beyond what is expected in the class. I’m told I am a tough grader who gives out a lot of work, but students come back to tell me they loved it.”

Born in Chennai (Madras), India, Murthy attended high school in the United Kingdom and completed his engineering degree at age 20—before coming to the U.S. to work as a consultant for Dun and Bradstreet, and later at World Bank in Washington, D.C. He met his wife, Monica Hodis (associate professor of marketing at St. John Fisher College) while pursuing his Ph.D. in business administration in Illinois. They live in Pittsford and are the proud parents of Nathan, who turns 2 this June.

Murthy speak six languages and has lived and worked in three continents. He said he feels strange when someone calls him, “Sir,” enjoys making or “modding” electronic circuitry, cars and working on engines, woodworking and cooking.

“But what I’m most proud of is that I’ve never missed, cancelled, or been late to class—not once in 10 years,” said Murthy. “Teaching at RIT is what I’m supposed to do; I feel a strong commitment to the students and my responsibilities as an educator.”

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A. Sue Weisler

Raj Murthy, Saunders College of Business