Cycle 1. Alonso Martínez, Jeroen Kuilman and Claude Chailan

June 22, 2016


These are the professors that visited us from May 31st until June 11th. Click on each name to view full CVs.

Professor Alonso Martínez
Professor Jeroen Kuilman
Professor Claude Chailan

They gave us some insights about their lives and their opinions on the School of Management and Colombia. Get to know them better through these 10 questions.

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

Martínez: I actually was a consultant for 26 years and when I retired from consulting I decided that I wanted to pursue an academic career, a second career. That was 8 years ago. 

Kuilman: I think that was during my Master's degree. As part of the Master you have to write a Master thesis and I really enjoyed doing that: the process of doing research for my thesis. Then I thought, "ok, maybe let's pursue a PhD project", which is actually one big Master thesis. That was how I got involved in research in 2001.

Chailan: That was 10 years ago, maybe 11 now. But I worked for 25 years previously in international companies in different fields. At one moment I decided that maybe it was a good idea to move and to enter a new field to share my experience, but also to learn something myself.


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

Martínez: I think it is being able to study a topic that you like and go deep into it. When you're in consulting you're just in one project and then go to a totally different project. Here, if I like the subject, I can just dig into it.

Kuilman: For me the most satisfying aspect is to have a lot of freedom in terms of the topics that I can study. Also in terms of the place where you work, the fact that I'm very mobile, that I'm not stuck in a 9 to 5 job. Sometimes you work during the evenings and in the weekends and in different locations. So it's that flexibility that I like the most.



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

Martínez: I want to continue to with my current research area which is about how to develop business opportunities in emerging markets and how to do growth strategies in emerging markets.

Kuilman: I would like to look more at small businesses and how they're being run. There's a lot of variation in terms of how they are run. Sometimes small businesses are owned by larger corporations and these chains of small organizations. Sometimes it's husband and wife teams. Sometimes it's very professional management and I'd like to study what are the differences between these different types of corporate governance.

Chailan: In fact, as many professors, I already do have some strong research areas that I'm mainly trying to capitalize on. Myself, I work in two very different fields. The first one relates to the links between marketing and strategy. There are everyday more direct links which were less obvious in the previous decades. For instance, I'm working on brand portfolio management which means having many brands inside a company that need important strategic decisions. My second axis relates to the development of business in emerging countries, and particularly, I'm researching in the field of marketing from emerging countries. How can companies from emerging countries develop a business abroad including other emerging countries?

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




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


Kuilman: I think by far the most important way that you contribute to society is through teaching. That’s the opportunity where you’re able to translate what you observe in the literature, in scientific evidence, in statistics and you pass it along to students to provide them with insightful suggestions.

Chailan: We should ask the students, shouldn't we? As a professor I help students or participants to perform, feel, understand and analyze better and consequently to be able themselves to develop businesses that contribute to the community as a whole. The better the preparation we provide for our students, the more they will contribute to developing the society for the benefit of everyone.


6. How would you describe your teaching philosophy?

Martínez: I think a lot of my teaching philosophy is around letting students explore all the multiple opportunities that we have in the world. Actually, what they find most interesting about my class is that the final project is a project to do to propose a business that they want in any emerging market in the world as long as it makes strategic sense and that it's the right market and the right business. It opens a huge amount of possibilities.

Kuilman: My teaching philosophy has a lot to do with providing structure to students. I think students are not able to study effectively if they don’t know what is expected of them. So, in my courses I try to make very clear what are we going to do. I bring students from point A to point B, so my job is to guide students along that road. In that sense a course is very literally a course.

Chailan: Nowadays, my teaching philosophy might be to force the students to understand better what is at stake, to get the big picture. My goal is to help them understand the context as a whole and also to use their expertise in an appropriate way.


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

Martínez: Among other things, they come up with projects or things that I had no idea existed. So every time I read the projects it is fascinating. And then several of them have actually gone on to pursue those projects and I generally keep in touch with them. So it is really interesting to see young people develop in new projects that came up in my class.

Kuilman: I think student can be very creative, especially in Colombia. I think for some reason students are immensely creative. Whenever I ask students to do presentations they come up with a lot of new insights and creative class exercises. Their work is so interesting for me that sometimes I can use it again in my courses when I teach at other places. So, it’s especially the creativity.

Chailan: Thanks to the places I get to visit, what I learn the most is about the diversity of thinking, of moods, of approaches depending on the cultural backgrounds of students. So it's very interesting because, one of interests of this job is that while being a professor, you learn a lot. When it comes to the people themselves, to the behavior, to the impact of history I can say I'm learning every day.


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

Martínez: I'm Colombian. Not a lot surprises me about Colombia. But actually this time one thing surprised me. Even though I come here often I hadn't spent time in Bogotá. This city is becoming incredibly dynamic and I was actually very surprised by the world-class infrastructure of los Andes.


Chailan: It's not my first visit to Colombia. But what is obvious is the economic evolution. I'm seeing nowadays all these constructions in the city which means that, in some way, there is confidence in the future. People are making huge investments when it comes to real estate, so some people really have good faith that the future will be better than the present or the past. I'm seeing that the country is really moving ahead, that is more concentrated on the future than in the past.


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

Martínez: I take a big desire to be even more engaged. I'm engaged with los Andes, I'm actually part of the los Andes Foundation in New York to help the university to connect with the States. My visit just made it even more interesting and more exciting.

Kuilman: A lot of new teaching material because the students are so creative and they push my thinking. They give me all kinds of new exercises that we can do in the class. So, in terms of teaching, I get a lot of new input.

Chailan: Good memories and the final exams to assess! Now, really, I'm going back home with the will to come back and take the time to visit the country as a tourist.


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

Martínez: I had several meetings with the Dean and the Vice Deans and other people exploring what the School of Management of the future should be and how los Andes should be positioned. I was really impressed by how forward-looking they are. I'd say this is probably the best business school in Latin America.

Kuilman: I think the School is incredibly well run. Everything is very well taken care of. They arrange the flight, and the hotel. Then they make sure that the taxi is there every day on time. Just the way courses are being run, you get support by a teaching assistant. The staff is very friendly; the other professors are very friendly. This whole Summer School is being set up in a very professional way.

Chailan: The School of Management at Uniandes is a great school. It's doing a good job. It has great professors and also great students. The premises of the School are obviously very nice, but also very practical and professional. The fame of the School is very significant worldwide because it's one of the few School that have obtained the three important accreditations that exist in this field. My perception is the School Management is and will be, everyday more, a strong contributor to the future of the country. It's very important that the young people, not only understand the techniques of a good management, but all the aspects surrounding it such as ethics, social responsibility, engagement towards the community. I believe that this is one of the places in this country where there is this mix between the mastery of managerial techniques and the understanding of key concepts of the country for the future.



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