The Annual Alumni Dinner 2014


The Annual Alumni Dinner is always an eagerly-anticipated opportunity for our alumni community to come together, to celebrate achievements and reflect on the year that has passed.


This year, more than 500 alumni and friends within the MBS community were very privileged to hear Professor Philip Kotler deliver the Charles Goode Oration at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne. 

Visit the photo gallery​.

Professor Kotler is the SC Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Widely acknowledged as the ‘father of modern marketing’ and the world’s foremost expert on strategic marketing, Professor Kotler has written dozens of textbooks which remain to this day the authoritative texts on the topic.  

“He has also consulted to governments and I understand that Ronald Reagan had his number on speed-dial and would call on him for advice,” noted MBS Dean Professor Zeger Degraeve in his introduction.  “As far as I know, he is the only marketing professor who has been issued with a commemorative stamp – in Indonesia marking his 75th birthday!”  

Claiming that it would be impossible to sum up in a few words the length and breadth of Professor Kotler’s extraordinary career, Professor Degraeve made a simple observation: “The world is divided into two groups – the marketers and the non-believers.  For most of his working life, Professor Kotler has converted the non-marketers into believers.  There are a few accountants, lawyers and engineers in this room who have had career changes into the world of marketing … and for that we probably have Philip to blame!”

Marketing = Behavioural Economics

According to Professor Kotler, “’Markets’ and ‘trade’ have a long history but ‘marketing’ did not exist as a term until the early 1900s.”

As a classically-trained economist coming into this new field, he wanted more of a decision focus. “Marketing looks at how (purchasing) decisions are actually made,” he explained.

Reminding the audience of Peter Drucker’s maxim that the “aim of marketing is to make selling unnecessary”, he went on to impress that the Chief Marketing Officer should be asking of everyone within their organisation: “Are we doing the right thing by the customer?”

Marketing is Everything

Professor Kotler claimed that CEOs set the tone for marketing within companies and outlined his four types of CEOs (in ascending order of desirability):

  • 1P CEO: believes it is all about promotion,
  • 4P CEO: believes marketing is responsible for tactics around product, price, place and promotion,
  • STP CEO: realises that the starting point before the 4Ps should be segmentation, targeting and positioning, and
  • ME CEO: believes ‘marketing is everything’ and encourages customer-centricity to permeate the organisation.

Professor Kotler also presented listed some CEOs he respected for their marketing vision, including:

  • Richard Branson, Virgin
  • Walt Disney, Disney
  • Bill Gates, Microsoft
  • Steve Jobs, Apple
  • Jeff Bezos, Amazon
  • Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA
  • Anita Roddick, The Body Shop
  • Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines


2014 Honorary Fellows and Alumni Awards

At the conclusion of the oration, the 2014 Honorary Fellows of Melbourne Business School - John Elliott (MBA 1969), Darvell Hutchinson AM and Margaret Jackson AC (MBA 1983) - were invited onto the stage to receive their honorary fellowships.

An Honorary Fellowship is awarded to individuals such as these three who have provided extraordinary support to MBS and made significant contributions to the world of business and management across our region.

Professor Degraeve also announced the Alumni Award winners Jasmin Herro (MURRA 2013) and Adam Trippe-Smith (SEMBA 2010).​