Nedret Billor (Auburn University) and Gyula Zilahy (Budapest University of Technology and Economics), were the faculty who joined the International Summer School from July 2 – 12. Our journalist interviewed them to enquire their impressions about Universidad de los Andes School of Management, students enrolled in their courses and their lives as scholars.
For Professor Billor this was the fifth time visiting Colombia and her first time at UASM and these were her impressions:
- During this visit, what has surprised you about Colombia?
- When and why did you decide to pursue an academic career?
I always liked doing research, when I was an undergrad student. I could have been a teacher, a math teacher as my bachelor degree is in mathematics, but I was interested in doing more than teaching. I just wanted to do research in mathematics. Because of a course that I took when I was an undergrad in statistics, I loved it. And that’s why I decided to pursue my PhD degree in statistics, and I really enjoy learning things every day. I’ve been working in academia over 30 years, every year we have to learn more, so, it’s a lot of fun.
- What are the most satisfying aspects of being a scholar?
- How does your work contribute to the society as a whole?
I am interested in prediction. Prediction of lifetimes, prediction of life-expectancies, prediction of rain… What are the factors affecting climate? All of these issues are currently very important and I think the field that I’m working in is really helping to answer some of the questions. So that’s why I believe the field that I’m in right now, where I work on lie-detection, robust statistical methods and these areas are definitely contributing to answering some of the questions and also making some changes in certain fields and people’s lives.
- What other research areas would you like to develop in the future?
- What do you learn the most from the interaction with your students?
They make me feel young! Because I have to learn every day. They are young and energetic, and it gives me energy. If they are curious, I have to make them more curious. So, it gives me great pleasure to work with students, so that’s why I invest a lot of my time at getting better at teaching. Because it’s a good communication, it’s a great way of communicating with students so that they can be interested in research, they can be interested in the field that they’re working in.
On the other hand, Professor Zilahy, who has previously visited UASM and participated in the International Summer School, shared his impressions about the evolution of the School, the country, and his course:
- When was the first time that you participated in the Universidad de los Andes School of Management International Summer School?
I think it was actually 2016, so three years ago now was the first time here. I came again in 2017, and this is the third time now.
- How have you perceived the evolution of the program since the first time you came?
- What would you consider as a salient feature of Universidad de los Andes School of Management students?
They must be very committed. My classes are from 6-9 in the evening, and many of them have a day job so I really appreciate that they are coming every day for two weeks, even on Saturday this year during the holidays. So, I think you have to be committed to do this. It’s a lot of information and a lot of work. In fact, it’s a summer course, which you would think is a bit more light but this course of mine is not so light I should say. You have to prepare for the roleplay, for the exercises, so it’s quite tough.
- What motivated you to participate again in Universidad de los Andes School of Management’s International Summer School?
- What changes have you perceived in Bogota/ Colombia during this visit?
It’s hard to say because it feels like I have a lot of time here. But of course I have to prepare so I didn’t have that much time to wander around. Actually I arrived here two days ago and I haven’t been outside of the hotel and the university. So maybe on the weekend I will have more time. So it’s hard to answer this question at this moment, but now I know a bit more, I am a bit more eager to wander around and I will see what is out there.
- What are you currently working on in terms of research?