Q&A with past Outstanding Alumni Award recipient, Felipe Korzenny

Felipe Korzenny is a 1975 communication graduate and 1997 Outstanding Alumni Award recipient. He received his master's in 1975 and then his doctorate in 1977, both in communication. Korzenny taught as an associate and assistant professor of communication at MSU and is currently professor emeritus of communication at Florida State University.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in academia?

My career has been a mix of business and academia. When finishing my undergraduate degree at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, I was already teaching there and also was involved in the advertising industry. I had a professor from the US (Robert Irving) who encouraged me to apply to Michigan State University to pursue graduate degrees in Communication. I applied, got accepted and became very involved in teaching and research, as that was required of all of us grad students. That experience further encouraged me to pursue academia. In particular, I had the unusual experience of being hired by my own department once I obtained my Ph.D. That was the beginning of my professional academic career. I also taught at San Francisco State University and Florida State University. These academic positions were mixed with stints in business. I started a market research company while in San Francisco and pursued that for some years before returning to academia at Florida State University.

How has earning a degree from ComArtSci made an impact on your pursuit of an academic career?

The requirements of my program included constant teaching and research; it became clear that obtaining a Ph.D. was an academic degree. My department had an international reputation for its rigor and research contributions and that further enhanced my chances in the academic world.

What advice do you have for students currently in ComArtSci looking to pursue academia after graduation?

Every student is different. Still, if a student wants an academic career, then a Ph.D. is necessary. Teaching and doing research while in school is fundamental for building an academic track and finding an academic position. For me, mixing academia with business experiences was enriching because I was able to bring to the classroom business-world experiences and examples.