MEET THE 2017 INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL VISITING PROFESSORS

July 21, 2017

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These are the professors who accompanied us from July 4 until July 14.

  1. When and why did you decide to pursue an academic career?

    Kathleen Randerson:

    Miguel Pina e Cunha: I decided it after I had a teaching experience for one year. I was finishing my undergraduate studies and after it I would be doing the military service. In the meantime I taught for a year and I really enjoyed the experience.

    Miguel Jaller: When I was doing my master at Universidad del Norte I got an offer to pursue my PhD in the US. I had to think about it for a while and I think it was the best fit between what I wanted to do: institutions advisor and my long-term goals.

  1. What are the most satisfying aspects of being a scholar?

    Randerson:  There, as you may well understand, are many satisfying aspects. The ones that I really prefer are: first of all, I'm always learning. When you are a scholar, you learn everyday. Another one that is really satisfying is the contact with the students. Finally, I must admit, that we have a lot of autonomy to decide what to do, what we want to research about and how we want to do it.

    Pina e Cunha:

    Jaller: I would say the first reason is to be my own boss. Additionally, having an impact on people, my students and my colleagues is very rewarding. It is satisfying to have an impact on the research community, the academic community and an impact in everything that I do, especially because of my topics: humanitarian logistics and disasters respond logistics. Some of the things that I do have an impact in saving lives.

  1. What other research areas would you like to develop in the future?

    Randerson:  I would really like to continue digging in the area that I started. I work on corporate entrepreneurship and family entrepreneurship. These two fields are so interesting and there is still a lot of work to be done. So I will continue to pursue my endeavors.

    Pina e Cunha: I'm currently working on something that I would like to persue in the future, which is the fact that the organizations are rife with paradoxes, contradictions and dilemmas. So I think that this is a really interesting area both from a theoretical perspective but also an applied perspective, because organizations need stability but they need change and they need to explore their needs to explode innovation. I think that organizations are very paradoxical entities and I've been in love with this topic for more than 10 years and I think I'll be working around it for an extra 10 more.

    Jaller: My current areas are Urban Freight and Civil Logistic and Disaster Respond Logistic. Something that I want to expand in the Disaster Respond Logistic is the “coordination between stakeholders in the response”. And what I want to further explore in Urban Logistic and freight is the impact of technology to make the system more sustainable.

  1. Please tell us a special anecdote from your academic life.

    Randerson:  A very recent anecdote happened actually here in Uniandes with one of my students. At the beginning of each season we talk about what was important, what we learned and what we found. During the week, one of my students, Camilo, for the very first time in my academic career, said, "what was really important was the framework of family entrepreneurship" and that was a very intense moment for me as a scholar. Because sometimes, we as researchers wonder if what we are doing is actually relevant, if people found it interesting and there, in that little moment, I had the answer.

    Pina e Cunha: I think that maybe the most relevant anecdote about my academic life is actually something that happened before my academic life. When I started studying in elementary school I thought that "been a teacher is exactly the job that I don't want to do in my life" and guess what, here I am.

    Jaller: 

  1. How does your work contribute to the society as a whole?

    Randerson:  Let's take for example my research areas in the field of family entrepreneurship. The field is dedicated to understanding how family influences the entrepreneur behavior of individuals and the family businesses. This is important for society because family businesses are an economic activity that brings profit to the family and create jobs. But what people don't realize is that family businesses and business families are the most often actors in sustainable efforts. So family businesses and business families would work in sustainable projects and more often for social entrepreneurship.

    Pina e Cunha: Honestly I don't know if it contributes in anything but the idea is that organizations sometimes are very strange places and I think that, sometimes, in organizations we do everything wrong. That's why one of my research streams has to do with this new field of positive organizations. So maybe we can create better organizations by emphasizing what is good rather than complaining about what is not. And hopefully this would make any sense for the world out there.

    Jaller: Well, based on my two research areas: my first goal is to improve quality of life. Either the day to day or during disasters, helping people to have access to products and services. My goals are to improve sustainability in terms of the environment, also the economic sustainability of achieving the different stakeholders to make cities or to make economies to be vibrant and active in the day to day. 

  1. How would you describe your teaching philosophy?

    Randerson:  I see my job as a teacher as one way to create a learning environment. I try to create an environment where students learn from me, from each other and I also learn from them.

    Pina e Cunha: I think that a good class is one with a lot of discussion and where people in the room with different ideas talk to each other. I like to challenge the assumptions that we have about organizations, because I think that very often we have wrong suppositions about them and I see that it's my mission to challenge those assumptions that we all might have.

    Jaller: I can summarize my teaching philosophy as "Trying to make the majority of my students learn as much as they want from the knowledge that I can offer".

  1. What do you learn the most from the interaction with your students?

    Randerson:  For me each student is a person. I have the chance to speak to small groups, which means that I get to know my students one to one and I learn from them what they are and who they are.

    Pina e Cunha: I think that I value the ability of learning from each other and I cannot think or assume that I know more. I have the obligation of knowing more in some topics but I think that sharing experiences is always very enriching and I think that my students keep reminding me to value the importance of humility.

    Jaller: Basically every question that they ask. Every way they structure their question, every time they express interest in one topic versus the other. Every time I ask for opinions and they give me something that blows my mind because it is something you were not considering even after talking to your colleagues. To add new blood from the students into the research or into the academic field is some of the things that I enjoy the most and appreciate the most. 

  1. During your visit, what surprised you about Colombia?

    Randerson: 

    Pina e Cunha: 

    Jaller: I come to Colombia frequently, to Bogotá and I'm also Barranquillero. But you see that the country is changing and some of the towns are now cities. You see the progress and you see that the things are improving. Still one of the main issues that are related with what I work with is traffic congestion. That's something that I still fear and hopefully some of the work that we do or that my colleagues do can help to improve some of the problems. But overall the country is in an economic booming and it influences every level.

  1. After your visit, what do you take from Colombia back home?

    Randerson: I would like to focus specifically in my experience in Uniandes. What I would like to take back home or apply or just implement in different contexts is that I'm really surprised with the International Summer Schools and the system of visiting. To be able to offer courses to students with professors that are all over the world is really interesting. Second of all, I really appreciate the way that the Faculty and the university work in synergy. For example we had meetings with the Dean, meetings with faculties and it's a very interesting model that I would like to do myself someday.

    Pina e Cunha: 

    Jaller: The students that I'm teaching here. They come with some points of view that I'm not aware because I use to deal with another type of students in my University. So that is something good. Talking to some colleagues about the challenges that they are facing, also improves the way I can think about the academia, think about research... I think it contributes to my career as well.

  1. What would you highlight from your visit to Universidad de los Andes School of Management?

    Randerson: This is one amazing experience. I would like to thank again Uniandes for the warm welcome that I received from the faculty, the Dean and the students.  Also the campus is amazing. I did a campus tour with my wonderful teacher assistant, Juliana, and I was amazed to see the very modern School of Management, the new student housing and also the gym, which is incredible. I don't even have a word to say how nice it is.

    Pina e Cunha: I think that the experience of being here is the fact that the school is extraordinary hospitable and for me it is always a pleasure to be in such a pleasant environment. The university has a very sophisticated and academic environment, with very committed students. A faculty group that is growing all the time and in this sense, I think that UniAndes is well aligned with the best practices around the world so I feel I'm in a very special place.

    Jaller: 

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