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Faculty Spotlight: Michael Zimbalist

Posted in: School of Communication and Media News

Michael Zimbalist Bio photo

With a successful advertising career spanning 20 years, Michael Zimbalist joins Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media as an adjunct professor for the newly-developed course, “Advertising in a Digital Age”. In fact, this isn’t Zimbalist’s first time in front of the classroom, “I have always enjoyed teaching,” he recalls, “My very first job out of college was teaching high school chemistry, and I found that teaching deepened my understanding of the subject.”


Today, Zimbalist works at the Philadelphia Media Network as chief strategy and innovation officer where he leads all consumer and business-to-business marketing, advertising campaigns, branding, business intelligence, and strategic partnerships. His previous experience extends to many other media companies including Disney, ABC Television, the New York Times Company, and more.


While speaking about what lead him to the school’s digital advertising course, Zimbalist says, “Digital has changed advertising so much during the 20 years that I’ve been working in the field, and I am hoping to deepen my own understanding of the subject by teaching it. It’s already happening. For example, through listening to how my students are persuaded to buy products they see on Instagram, I’ve gotten some insight into how messages are perceived on that platform.”


Students are already both receptive and excited about the curriculum with many praising its distinct perspective of the media industry. For many, what sets the course apart from others is Zimbalist’s approach to the material itself. Listening in on student commentaries during lectures, it’s clear his passion and knowledge base does not go unnoticed. “My experience helps shape the dialog and the lessons so that they are centered around skills and situations students are likely to encounter when they set out on a career in media, advertising, or PR,” Zimbalist mentions. When describing his own approach to teaching the material, he mentions his want for the course to be interactive and stimulating discussion.


While reflecting on what he wants students to take away from the course, Zimbalist emphasizes his want for their comprehensive understanding of the profession. “I would like them to understand how advertising works and be able to analyze the advertising they see in the world using the terms and language of the profession,” he says, “I also want them to understand the industry and various roles within it.” The School of Communication and Media is excited to welcome Michael Zimbalist to the campus community and looks forward to the knowledgeable insight and experience “Advertising in a Digital Age” will provide students.