Five questions with Sun Young Ahn, assistant professor of business

Why do college students reach for Maruchan instant noodles instead of Nissin Cup Noodles? And why do high school locker rooms smell of Axe body spray instead of Old Spice? These are the kinds of questions that kept Sun Young Ahn awake at night as an undergraduate studying consumer science and business administration at Seoul National University in Korea. Now, as assistant professor of business and leadership at Puget Sound, she’s helping her students explore consumer behavior and marketing in unconventional ways.

Q: You have degrees in consumer science, business, and cognitive sciences. Can you talk about the intersection of these fields?
A: The consumer sciences are part of the social sciences. They study consumers and are very close to business, which focuses not only on consumers, but marketing. In marketing, you need to understand how consumers are using products, what they want, and what they need. I double majored in consumer sciences and business because I was interested in the role of consumers in the marketplace and how consumers make decisions. It helped me to understand the broader picture.