20 Minutes with Prof. Ray Leibman

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20 Minutes with Prof. Ray Leibman

Prof. Ray Leibman is currently an Adjunct Professor teaching Marketing at Martin Tuchman School of Management. Before getting to NJIT, Professor Leibman taught part-time at Rutgers-Newark until 2011 when he received an invitation to come teach the Executive MBA Program at NJIT. He then taught there for three years and soon transitioned into teaching undergraduate business courses which he has now been doing for the past three years.

Leibman grew up as a latchkey kid in the Bronx after moving from Belgium at the age of seven. He says, “I come from a very fascinating background because my parents went through the war. It was very fascinating to listen to my parents’ stories about how they survived. For me, life was wonderful after coming here.”

He and his second elder brother started school in the Bronx public schools. Shortly after, his eldest brother joined them after returning from service in the Belgium Army. Apart from his studies, growing up, Leibman had a passion for business. He recalls attending trade shows, saying, “I loved the environment, loved the meeting of people at the trade show, and loved the way they dress[ed].”

Shortly after receiving his High School Diploma, Leibman was drafted into the Vietnam War. Initially being scheduled for Officer Training, he ended up transitioning to Infantry. After the Vietnam war, he was transferred to Korea twice, after which came the end of his service. Coming back from the war, he chose to study Accounting at Pace University. Due to the war, the social and political tensions were high in America. He says, “[sic]Everyone was yelling at us and calling us war mongers, so I was not the least bit comfortable. So, I just went crazy, took 21 credits and graduated in 3 years instead of 4.”

With his diploma in accounting and a year of working in the accounting field, he realized that it was not his cup of tea. Leibman then moved over to working Sales at American Express in Manhattan and he loved it. He signed American Express to restaurants in the East Side, then before being moved over to the West Side. Leibman was the one who got Broadway to sign up for American Express along with many other New York theatres.

Enjoying the perks of free dinners at restaurants and first row tickets at shows, he knew he had found his true calling. As his career progressed, Leibman had the chance to work for French, German, Japanese, and Italian companies, and each offered its unique cultural backgrounds and experience. He states, “I just loved it! I am encouraging all of you young people to step out of New Jersey, travel and see the world.”

He continues sharing that the expectations from millennials is greater than his generation, “Five years ago it used to be, I wanna work for a firm that believes in ecology, sustainability, and I wanna save the whales. Now they say, I wanna make a lot of money. The change has come about simply because of the pressure; college education is not free.” When asked about his most rewarding experience, he stated, “I think the most rewarding [thing] is that I can help people,” and goes on to state that the happiest moments of his life were the births of his kids.

What are your plans for the near future?

Prof. Liebman, with his excellent track record, plans to continue teaching for as long as his health permits. “I feel like I am paying forward. I don’t want to die with regrets, and if I can get through to a few students, I’m fine because I can only show them the water.” 

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