Escuela Internacional de Verano

MEET THE 2018 INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL VISITING PROFESSORS – CYCLE 2

Julio 6, 2018

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Daniella Laureiro (ETH Zurich), Fernando Roxas (Asian Institute of Management), Marcel Zeelenberg (Tilburg University) and Jaime Sabal (ESADE Business School) joined the International Summer School during June 18 -29. 

The following document summarizes some of the main findings that resulted from an interview related to their experience at Universidad de los Andes School of Management.

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

LAUREIRO

  • A student actually asked me that last night. I think it was clear to me that I didn't want to work at a multinational and I wondered whether I had this motivation of starting my own company. On the other hand, I had this pull towards doing research. So I ended up staying at university to do my research and then I did my PhD and I became a professor. But I don't think I ever decided that I was going to stay in academia, it was a very gradual thing.

ROXAS

  • It seemed like a good idea at the time. I don't know I guess I just wanted to try it and I started to like it and I thought well why not, and now it's been 18 years.

What are the most satisfying aspects of being a scholar?

LAUREIRO

  • The freedom to choose my own work. But I also think that that freedom is the curse of academia. We have so much freedom but it also comes with so much responsibility because we are like entrepreneurs in that we have our own projects, budgets and responsibility for choosing whom to work with. I think that the freedom to do all that is what I appreciate the most but I also think that it is the biggest burden.

ROXAS

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

LAUREIRO

  • I look into the cognitive antecedents of strategy so it has a lot to do with the psychology of individuals who make decisions; it could be a top management team, or whoever who makes decisions that affect the organizational outcomes. So in particular I look into new sciences and psychology in order to understand how people come up with new ideas and implement them.

ROXAS

  • Well my longest research has been on energy. So I started with that and later on I added the field of sustainability and today I am the executive director of the tourism center in that school. So our platform agenda is actually helping develop sustainable tourism. So my research is basically in those three areas.

Please tell us a special anecdote from your academic life.

LAUREIRO

ROXAS

  • I can't think of a specific one. Let's take this course I am teaching here in Bogota called Sources and Uses of Power. In my school, I teach a course called systems thinking. Someone developed it for me because I took it when I was an MBA student, but I took the strategy course and turned it into an applied systems thinking course, which is what this course is about. Its main intention is to teach students to use their whole brain thinking skills to study strategy. I think the students are learning a lot. I don't know if they are enjoying it, but I think they are learning a lot. I think it is a great way to teach strategy because it forces the students not just to hear about someone else's strategy, but to think about how they could come up with a similar strategy. I think that is a great experience for both the teacher and the students.

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

LAUREIRO

  • I think we need to be more efficient at innovation. I am convinced that innovation is going to happen every now and then. Just by chance you end up discovering penicillin when you are doing something else, but that is not the most efficient way to do things. I think historically we have given a lot of weight to "luck" and "genius" but we know that innovation can be a process that can be incentivized and directed. Of course it is not 100% controlled but it can be somehow managed. I think that it is a contribution when we try to understand how to understand the brain better to help people become more creative and to target their ideas towards their goals.

ROXAS

  • Well of course it's hard to think of a problem that is as large as energy. It continues to challenge societies. Especially in developing countries in Asia, energy is a big issue and now with global warming and climate change it has become an even bigger issue. Sustainability is part and parcel of those kinds of issues like how do we maintain our lifestyles and make sure that our society and environment are sustainable. Sustainable tourism is important today because the Philippines are trying to position itself as a sustainable tourism destination.

How would you describe your teaching philosophy?

LAUREIRO

  • I strongly believe that we learn better by practicing, by doing. I think that part of my role as an educator is to channel and direct people towards experimenting and learning by themselves. What is really good about the topics that I teach is that they have to do with yourself, self-awareness, self-knowledge, awareness of your personality, and communicative abilities and when people start observing themselves they do really well. So my belief about how to teach such things is that it is very hands-on. The other thing is that I think we are a lot more motivated when we see the use of what we do. It is really important that we have something like a contract on the first day of class with clear goals that we will achieve by the end of the course.

ROXAS

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

LAUREIRO

  • It is very humbling, precisely because of the topics, I think. It gets very personal. Yesterday I had a one-to-one session because there are topics we can't talk about in front of 53 people. So we have individual sessions. And it is very humbling to see how they connect it to their lives, and how deeply many of them manage to really look at themselves, behaviors they don't like, biases they have, and really start searching. And it is really humbling to see how they absorb that and come up with good ideas about how to put all these things into practice. They really use the material from the class very deeply, and I learn a huge deal from that.

ROXAS

  • Some of them can be very, very intelligent so because you create a system of interaction with the students, you are also learning so it is not a one-way street as far as getting new ideas or concerns. That's what I love about this learning methodology.

During your visit, what surprised you about Colombia?

LAUREIRO

  • I think people's friendliness. I live in a place where people are very kind and very polite. There is very high social control, trust, things that are not generally present in a city like Bogotá but people's friendliness is always very surprising and that is really nice to come back to.

ROXAS

  • I haven't seen anything else outside of Bogotá but I think I'm pleasantly surprised that many of the students are very sharp, they're smart, inquisitive, and curious and that makes for a great class. That's what I will always remember about Bogotá.

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

LAUREIRO

  • Something particular about the students here in Colombia in comparison to students in other places where I have taught this course is that they are more "thirsty". They are way more participative and really open, really curious, they are really helpful and very willing to tear themselves apart in a way and explore.

ROXAS

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