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Professor Mark Durkin

Professor Mark Durkin

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined Open University in December 2023, coming from Ulster University where I had been Executive Dean of their Business School for over seven years. My educational philosophy is based on the power of entrepreneurial education to release the potential of people, irrespective of their background or education level, to create new opportunities in their lives and to equip them to convert such opportunities into meaningful value. This value can accrue at the level of the individual themselves, their family, the company they work for or would wish to start and/or society more generally. 

Prior to joining Ulster I spent over a decade in various service, sales and strategic marketing roles within the Bank of Ireland Group in Ireland. After joining Bank of Ireland I began what was to become an 18 year part-time study journey through my banking diploma, marketing studies, a human resource programme and my PhD. I joined Ulster as a Lecturer in Marketing and pioneered a new curriculum in electronic and digitised marketing. I was always passionate about knowledge exchange and was involved in seven KTPs and several Innovation Vouchers during my early years as I attempted to close the gap between theory and practice in my teaching and research. 

I was appointed SL and Head of School for Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Ulster in 2002 and developed the School, internationally pioneering a relationship with Babson College, Boston through which we partnered on entrepreneurial education models. This complemented a second premier US relationship which the School had with Harvard Business School focused on competitiveness. My PhD in 2005 (Loughborough University) focused on technology-enabled banking relationships and I spent 6 months in Australia on sabbatical following my graduation where I worked in Melbourne Business School and Monash University. I was awarded the UK Chartered Institute of Marketing’s ‘Marketing Person of the Year’ in 2006 in recognition of his contribution to marketing education in Ireland.  

I have held senior positions in both academic leadership and professional services leadership contexts, the latter involving setting up and leading a new Student Marketing Division within Ulster through a 3 year career break from academic life. As Executive Dean for the Ulster University Business School I was committed to embedding entrepreneurial leadership principles within a digitally-oriented business curriculum and to internationalising that business curriculum. Under my term as ED the Faculty grew international numbers by 1000% and now enjoys partnerships in China, Qatar, Switzerland and the USA (Babson College, Havard Business School, St Joseph's Haub School of Business) as well as direct student pipelines from India, Pakistan and Nigeria. The Business School was accredited by the UK Small Business Charter in 2021 and I created a Centre for Sustainable Family Enterprise to build on that achievement and reflecting NI's reliance on Family Business and the School's research competence in this area. A second teaching and research centre was launched in 2022 focused on Fintech and Open Finance, one of the region's fastest growing sectors. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Fellow of the Institute of Banking, an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a Senior Fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy. In 2020 I was elected by members to the International Board of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and in 2022 was elected Vice-Chair. I led Ulster’s AACSB accreditation effort and secured Small Business Charter in 2021 and Athena Swan Bronze 2022. I’ve undertaken CPD at both Wharton Business School, Philadelphia and Babson College, Boston.

In my spare time I sit on the boards of two amazing NI charities – Friends of the Cancer Centre and The Odyssey Trust.

Research interests

Research Activity

My research interests lie at the interface between technology and marketing. My PhD focused on optimising relationship banking practices across physical and virtual banking contexts and my interest in financial services marketing has remained. More recently this interest has evolved to embrace crowdfunding and peer-peer lending activity and I have published in these areas most recently. The area of managerial competency sets with respect to the adoption and utilisation of new technologies is also of interest as is the future of retail financial services delivery at a time when banks are closing their branches, and an ageing population still shows a social need for access to finance on a more local/ physical basis.


  • Editorial board of Marketing, Intelligence and PlanningJournal of Financial Services MarketingInternational Journal of Education Management  and International Journal of Bank Marketing
  • Guest editor for two special issues of the Journal of Marketing Management in the areas of Financial Services Marketing and Food Marketing
  • Guest editor of Service Industries Journal (with McCartan and Brady) focusing on social media marketing (2016)
  • Curatorial Board of Journal of Consumer Behaviour (2023 - )


Durkin. M., McCartan, A and Brady, M (eds) (2016), Social Media Marketing in Services, Taylor and Francis, London

McKeown, N. and Durkin, M. (2017), Seven Principles of Digital Strategy, Business Expert Press, Boston, USA


Research funding

Completed 7 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, numerous Innovation Vouchers, consultancy and various grant awards, most recently as CI on the UKRI funded “Moving the dial on economic inactivity to build inclusive futures across Northern Ireland” delivered through the Local Policy Innovation Partnerships Phase 2 (£6.5m). 

Student Supervision and Examining:

  • Supervised 5 PhD candidates to completion in areas of e-marketing and retail financial services marketing.
  • Currently supervising 2 PhD candidates in the area of digital banking and SME-Bank relationships and social networks in Islamic Banking.
  • Regular external examiner for PhD / DPhil awards.


Recent Outputs:

Simmons, G. and Durkin, M. (2023) “Expanding understanding of brand value co-creation on social media from an S-D logic perspective: Introducing structuration theory” , Marketing Theory, available at

Laffey, D., Durkin, M., Cummins, D. and Gandy, T. (2021), A shift in power? Value co-creation through successful crowdfunding, Technological Forecasting & Social Change

Laffey, D., Durkin, M., Cummins, D. and Gandy, T. (2021), Opportunity or threat? The views of bankers towards crowdfunding, International Review of Entrepreneurship, 19(1), 137-150

Durkin, M. and Perez, (2017), Examining SME engagement with local government clients: a design school model for the model for the marketing of digital transformation services, The Marketing Review, 17(3), 259-281

Teaching interests

My philosophy of teaching has always been to inform my teaching practice with research and to test the learning outcomes with live business case applications which students are responsible for company / market engagement. I have worked with many companies nationally and internationally in this regard most notably USA bakery giant Cinnabon which worked with me on an MBA marketing module and used the findings of the assessments to move towards opening a franchise operation in Dublin. Two of the MBA students were to join Cinnabon in Dublin to run this franchise at the end of the module. I’m passionate about innovation in active learning pedagogies as a way of closing the theory-practice gap and enabling students to adopt new ways of thinking and acting differently around opportunity – especially in times of volatility.

Teaching Cases: 

Durkin, M. and Hollywood, L. (2015), The Sweet Smell of Success: the case of Cinnabon, Teaching Case in Fahy, J. and Jobber, D. (2015), Foundations of Marketing, 7th edition, Chapter 11, McGraw-Hill, London, 246-249

Durkin, M. and Bain, P. (2012), Differentiating Document Destruction Services: the ShredBank Case, Teaching Case in Jobber, D. and Fahy, J. (2012), Foundations of Marketing, 4th edition, Chapter 7, McGraw-Hill, London , pp193-195

External collaborations

I currently sit on the boards of two amazing NI charities – Friends of the Cancer Centre and The Odyssey Trust. I formerly held Directorships of various organisations including the NI Chamber of Commerce, Young Enterprise NI and Bryson Care.

I am currently a Visiting Professor to both Hubei Normal Unversity and Hebei Geo University in China and a visiting scholar to Babson College Boston.