Glen L. Urban

April 15, 1940

Brief Biography

Urban Fellow Portrait

Glen Urban is an expert in marketing and new product development. He was elected a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) for “improvements in the process of product development through new models, concepts, and methods of data collection.” Urban originally studied engineering at the University of Wisconsin prior to pursuing an MBA in 1964. His masters thesis dealt with product planning in the aerospace industry. After considering a position at General Electric, Urban went on to study marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Upon receiving his PhD in 1966, Urban joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, where he has since remained.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Urban worked closely with former MIT colleague, David B. Montgomery, on a series of books on management science in marketing. Later that decade, Urban became interested in bringing management science to public health care. He worked on family planning problems and established a small non-profit dedicated to addressing such issues The firm, Management Science for Health, now employs over three thousand individuals and has evolved into a major international player in solving pressing health concerns including AIDS and family planning in the developing world.

As an academic, it has always been Urban’s view that marketing researchers should impact practice. With his mentor John D. C. Little, he co-founded Management Decision Systems, Inc. Over a ten year period, the firm sold two thousand packaged goods studies. These studies were eventually copied and found their place in numerous other companies across the nation. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Urban used information acceleration with General Motors to determine the marketing viability and forecast the sales of electric cars. His findings encouraged GM leadership to abandon the development of a purely electric vehicle in favor of hybrids.  Urban’s study was eventually replicated by Toyota Motors, leading to the market introduction of the wildly successful Prius.

As Dean of the Sloan School from 1993 to 1998, Urban embarked on a strategy to enhance the scale of the school, increasing the number of students and faculty and growing the masters program by fifty percent. Under Urban, students at Sloan were given the opportunity to pursue either an MS or MBA, depending on which professional route they wanted to take. Most of the faculty members he hired were recent or untenured PhDs who showed bright promise for future endeavors. In 1999, he co-founded and chaired the Digital Business Center of the university.

Urban is a two-time recipient of the American Marketing Association’s William F. O’Dell Award for influential articles published in the Journal of Marketing Research. The first paper, a 1983 article co-authored with Alvin J. Silk on pre-test-market evaluation of new packaged goods, led to the adoption of new marketing models in a number of consumer driven industries. The second, co-authored with Gerald M. Katz in 1988, further expanded his work in pre-test-market models. Urban won the John D. C. Little Award of the Marketing Science Society in 1986 for a Management Science article on market share rewards and was named a finalist for the prize twenty-three years later for his paper on website morphing. The INFORMS Society for Marketing Science named him a Fellow of the society in 2009 his contributions to the improvement of marketing practice via research and education.  

Other Biographies

Wikipedia Entry for Glen L. Urban

Glen Urban. Academics: Biographical Summary. Accessed May 14, 2015. (link)

Pearson Informit. Authors: Glen L. Urban. Accessed May 14, 2015. (link


University of Wisconsin, BS 1963

University of Wisconsin, MBA 1964

Northwestern University, PhD 1966 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas
  • Automobiles

Oral Histories

Glen Urban (2010) Interview by Karen Arenson, July 9. The MIT 150 Infinite Oral History Project. (video)

Memoirs and Autobiographies


Glen L. Urban Resume

Awards and Honors

William F. O'Dell Award 1983 & 1988

John D. C. Little Award 1986

Paul D. Converse Award 1996

AMA Charles Coolidge Parlin Award 1999

INFORMS Marketing Science Association Fellow 2009

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2010

Selected Publications

Montgomery D. B. & Urban G. L. (1969) Management Science in Marketing. Prentice Hall: Engelwood Cliffs, NJ.

Montgomery D. B. & Urban G. L. (1970) Applications of Management Science in Marketing. Prentice Hall: Engelwood Cliffs, NJ.

Silk A. J. & Urban G. L. (1978) Pre-test-market evaluation of new packages goods. A model and measurement methodology. Journal of Marketing Research, 15(2): 171-191.

Katz G. M. & Urban G. L. (1983) Pres-test-market models: validation and managerial implications. Journal of Marketing Research, 20(3): 221-234.

Carter T., Gaskin S., Mucha Z, & Urban G. L. (1986) Market share rewards to pioneering brands: an empirical analysis and strategic implications. Management Science, 32(6): 645-659.

Robert J. & Urban G. L. (1989) Modeling multiattribute utility, risk, and belief dynamics for new consumer durable choice. Management Science, 34(2): 167-185.

Hauser J. R., Robert J., & Urban G. L. (1990) Prelaunch forecasting of new automobiles. Management Science, 36(4): 401-421.

Kalyananaram G. & Urban G. L. (1992) Dynamic effects of the order of entry on market share, trial penetration, and repeat purchases for frequently purchases consumer goods. Management Science, 11(3): 235-250.

Hauser J. R., Urban G. L., & Weinberg B. D. (1996) Premarket forecasting of really-new products. Journal of Marketing, 60(1): 47-60.

Urban G. L. (2004) Digital Marketing Strategy. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Urban G. L. (2005) Don’t Just Relate – Advocate. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Urban G. L. (2009) Website morphing. Marketing Science, 28(2): 202-223.