Meet Guergana Guintcheva, a Professor who is the hero of her own story
When she joined EDHEC Business School in 2002, Guergana Guintcheva was not only starting what would be a brilliant career as a professor and marketing consultant. Above all, she opened a new chapter in a life that was finally uncompromising, embracing her passion for culture, free to explore and to pass on.
Her story often joins history: born in communist Bulgaria, she grew up in a society without brands, but not without dreams! On her side of the Iron Curtain, she nurtured a fascination for the Arts, French and French culture. A few undubbed films are shown on national television, notably those of Louis de Funès, an opportunity to follow them religiously and to try to appropriate the language. And the few copies of Pif Gadget available at rare newsagents were passed from hand to hand in the playground. At the age of 14, she took the entrance exam for a foreign language school behind her parents' backs. Her parents had no problem with it: Guergana always finished first in her class, and her love of French gave her wings.
After graduating from high school with flying colours, she naturally decided to come to France to experience real life, far from La Grande Vadrouille and Le Gendarme à St Tropez. She dreamed of living the culture and of entering the Beaux-Arts, but at the time, Bulgaria was not yet a member of the European Union, and its citizens were therefore not eligible for grants. However, pragmatism prevailed and she chose to take a marketing/management course to have a better chance of ensuring her existence in France.
For someone who grew up with a certain praise for sobriety, the deluge of marketing and advertising that she discovered on her arrival was first a shock, then a questioning and quickly became an object of study. Her strength lies precisely in her outlook: the world of consumer society is put under the microscope of her critical mind and she quickly develops an approach to marketing based on transparency and consumer assistance, rather than manipulation. It is this very personal vision that she now passes on to her students: "For me, marketing is a tool for ethically changing consumer behaviour", she explains, "it is a noble subject when it respects the free will of the consumer, an aid to decision-making that seeks to enlighten rather than convince by any means."
Her thesis subject, dedicated to the world of food consumption, was still a pragmatic choice, dictated by the availability of research grants, but it was the last. Once she had her doctorate (1), it was the end of compromises: from now on, everything would be culture. She has never lost sight of the emotion that all forms of art have always provoked in her. Since 2002, she has chosen to explore these dimensions by working on the expression of emotions in the cultural experience. She works with local institutions, notably on the development of C'Art, a cultural network in the Lille region, and studies the museum experience in depth (2). With Philippe Aurier, her thesis director, she explores primary emotions in cinema, and then dissects complex emotions, such as nostalgia, melancholy or romanticism (3).
She is also looking into a long-standing passion: video games. Her first publication (4) on the subject is also a "coming-out" as she publishes it with her gamer pseudonym, the one she uses in real life to play Pokémon, Zelda, Assassin's Creed, The Last of Us, but also free-to-play games like Clash Royale, or online gaming with League of Legends. From the study of video game business models, she has more recently moved on to the study of the use of emotion in cinematics (5), gender stereotypes (6), or the skills developed through gaming (7). She is also very interested in the environmental impact of major exhibitions (8), or the representation of neurodiversity in cultural products.
But Guergana is also a formidable educator who has been passing on her passion for more than twenty years to the EDHEC classes: "What is important for me is to create a link", she explains, "a link between the generations, between the students and the school, between the students and the teachers. Our time together is short but has a profound impact on the long term, so it's crucial to know what values we want to transmit through this link. My office is covered with photos of the graduating class! All these links feed me, enrich me and continue to make me grow."
1996 : Master in Economics and Management, Montpellier University
1999 – 2001 : Assistant Professor, Montpellier University
2001 – 2002 : Assistant Professor, Toulouse University
2003 : PhD, Montpellier University - « L’univers de consommation. Conceptualisation et impact sur la substituabilité́ et la complémentarité́ des produits. Une application à la consommation alimentaire »
Since 2002 : Professor of Marketing, EDHEC Business School
(1) « L’univers de consommation. Conceptualisation et impact sur la substituabilité et la complémentarité des produits » (2010). Une application à la consommation alimentaire. Editions Universitaires Européennes, Rubrique Savoirs, ISBN : 9786131514401, pp. 252. https://www.theses.fr/2003MON20158
(2) Guintcheva G. & J. Passebois (2012), Lille Metropolitan Art Programme: an example of museum networking in the north of France, International Journal of Arts Management, vol. 15, n°1, pp. 54-64. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236941481_Lille_Metropolitan_Art_Programme_an_example_of_museum_networking_in_the_north_of_France
(3) Aurier, Ph. & G. Guintcheva (2015), The Dynamics of Emotions in Movie Consumption: A Spectator-Centered Approach, International Journal of Arts Management, Special issue: Worldwide Film Industry: Issues and Challenges, vol. 17, n° 2, pp. 5-18. https://hal.science/hal-02026013
(4) Guintcheva G.-Sapino (2017), L’impact du système de monétisation sur l’expérience de jeu des gamers. Le cas des jeux Free-to-Play, Revue Française de Gestion, vol. 43, n°262, pp. 37-50. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316052817_L'impact_du_systeme_de_monetisation_sur_l'experience_de_jeu_des_gamers_Le_cas_des_jeux_Free-To-Play
(5) Fandiño S. & G. Guintcheva (2019), Ludology vs Narratology: Effects of Narratives on Gamer’s Experience, AIMAC (Association internationale de management des arts et de la culture), July, Venice.
(6) Guintcheva G., Jemel-Fornetty H., Beloslava Daudé I. & Lacombe L. (2022), Napoléon vs Marie-Antoinette : Gender stereotypes in video game narratives, The Conversation (fr) - EDHEC Vox. https://www.edhec.edu/en/research-and-faculty/edhec-vox/gender-stereotypes-in-video-game-narratives
(7) Guintcheva G. & Houriet Segard G. (2020), Concentration, patience, stratégie… ces compétences que les jeux vidéos permettent de développer, The Conversation - EDHEC Vox. https://theconversation.com/concentration-patience-strategie-ces-competences-que-les-jeux-videos-permettent-de-developper-130808
(8) Guintcheva G. (2023), Expositions « blockbusters » : comment limiter leur impact environnemental ?, The Conversation - EDHEC Vox. https://theconversation.com/expositions-blockbusters-comment-limiter-leur-impact-environnemental-202161