A Conversation with Alumna Melina Palmer

Blue dress leaning

We sat down with Behavioral Economics alumna Melina Palmer to talk about her work as an applied behavioral economist and her company, The Brainy Business. Melina is set to speak at SXSW 2023 with her session, “Using Brain Science to Be a Better Manager.”

“My undergraduate degree is in business administration and marketing, so my initial work was very focused on how behavioral economics can be applied to brand strategy and marketing communications.”

While pursuing her master’s in behavioral economics from TCSPP, Melina realized very quickly that all the things which were so clear to her — including how insights from behavioral science can be applied to communication, brand strategy, marketing, and more — were not being spoken about. She decided to take that on and launched The Brainy Business podcast in 2018.

The show now has over 700,000 downloads in over 170 countries. She has had guests including Dan Ariely, Robert Cialdini, Katy Milkman, John List, and many other notable behavioral economists and scientists from around the world.

“Launching the show got me connected with the Texas A&M University Human Behavior Laboratory, where I now teach applied behavioral economics as part of our certificate program. I teach foundations of behavioral economics, pricing strategy and product development, internal communication and change management, and advanced concepts of behavioral economics.”

Melina has written two books: What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You and What Your Employees Need and Can’t Tell You. She was named as one of Greenbook’s 20 Future List Honorees for 2022, was named to ESOMAR’s Insight250, and writes a column on behavioral economics and business for Inc Magazine.

“The field of behavioral economics is still in its infancy. There is a lot of interest from industry professionals around the world in this area. Companies know they need this, but don’t necessarily know where to start.”

Melina’s advice to current students?

“Reach out to organizations about informational interviews while you are still in school. Now is the time to start networking (LinkedIn is your friend). Be generous on social media and find ways you can be of service to the field. Careers are a long game and investing in relationships is critical to everyone’s success.”

Learn more about Melina and The Brainy Business here.

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