From one stage to another

November 16, 2016 //

tony-dibennedettoDr. Anthony Di Benedetto
Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Resides: Philadelphia

It’s been a few decades since Dr. Anthony Di Benedetto grabbed his bass, got on stage, and played music in front of big crowds. But the longtime Fox professor still harkens back to his rock-and-roll days in the 1970s whenever he gets to the front of a class and speaks to his students.

“I’m always conscious of being on stage,” he said. “It’s a little bit like doing theater or music. I still remember things like not turning your back on the audience. I really concentrate on not turning my back on my class. And as far as being engaging, the way you address the class is, in a sense, the way you would address an audience.

“I would say I’m better in a classroom because of what I’ve done in music.”

In other ways, music also helped Di Benedetto reach the stage where he is today — as one of the world’s leading research scholars in innovation and technology management. When he was a child growing up in Montreal, he had a tough time making friends. His parents spoke to a psychologist, who encouraged them to find an outlet for their son.

And so music it was.

“Sure enough, when I was in high school, I met a lot of people through music,” he said. “It was fun. And I stayed with it.”

Di Benedetto played in several bands in high school, college, and throughout his 20s, using his skills on the bass to become a valuable commodity because, as he put it, “everyone else wanted to play lead guitar.”

And he was good enough to make a little money at it, too, playing covers of The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones in clubs and hotels around Montreal for one popular band and what he called “oom-pah” music and pop songs in German clubs for another.

But when it came time to thinking about his future, he decided that the life of a professional musician just wasn’t for him.

“The short story is I gave up rock-and-roll to get my MBA,” said Di Benedetto, who earned his MBA and PhD at McGill University, before launching his career as a professor, joining the Temple University faculty in 1990, and remaining there ever since.
Di Benedetto is certainly happy with that choice, admitting that he seldom plays music and rarely even thinks about his days in a band. But it will always be an exciting, interesting and eye-opening time in his life.

When asked if he’d ever play again, he left the door slightly ajar.

“A musician never says that he’s unemployed,” he laughed. “He’s just between gigs.”