When and why did you decide to pursue an academic career?
During junior year of College I decided to pursue my academic career. I actually studied about economic research and found it kind of fascinating. So I started asking my professors how did you got involved in this, and they said: go torture yourself and get a PhD; so I started there.
What are the most satisfying aspects of being a scholar?
There are a lot of satisfying aspects. On the research site, just to be able to contribute to something noble, it is fantastic. Studying and advancing on the understanding of the mechanisms that drive behavior and change the way we think and act, I think that’s really exciting. Getting to go to conferences and seminars is also very stimulating. Everyday can be different from the day before. Logistically, it is nice to have your own schedule. Teaching can be frustrating, but it gets a lot easier kind of fun, too.
What other research areas would you like to develop in the future?
I started to think more about financing decision-making and finance in terms of equity compensation programs, and that’s something that I’ve not research yet and maybe in the future I can start doing it.
Please tell us a special anecdote from your academic life.
How does your work contribute to the society as a whole?
I guess some of my work investigates on how hierarchies or institutional barriers can change the way people behave and the way they think about each other’s. Some of my work shows that it is very hard to maintain pro-social relationships with other people when they are in a different level of a hierarchy and being aware of that might help us. Not necessarily the way we work in hierarchies but maybe qualify the approach when we are working in different areas.
How would you describe your teaching philosophy?
I tried a number of things early on. Whether making the class more entertaining or more interactive, but it all felt a little forced. Then I remembered that the classes I remember most where the ones that really challenged me. So I tried to design my courses to be very challenging; whether you are the bottom student in the class or the top student in the class. Nobody feels like it is easy. I think the students respond pretty well to that, as long as they know they are going to be evaluated fairly. Challenging doesn’t necessarily mean a bad grade. I think that if you challenge them, they will respond positively.
What do you learn the most from the interaction with your students?
Patience. Realizing that if I say something and they don’t understand its’ probably my fault. And I have to work harder on clarification and sort of communicating directly. Actually, this turn out to be a big help when I started my family as it works with young children as well. So I have students to thank for that.
During your visit, what surprised you about Colombia?
After your visit, what do you take from Colombia back home?
A better appreciation for good coffee. And, during my seminar, the interaction was fantastic. It was a very active participation. The questions where made in a way that challenged me to have good responses and to think more deeply about the matter. But I never felt challenged personally. I thought the questions where really good to dig deeper into the research and I think that was very nice.
What would you highlight from your visit to Universidad de los Andes School of Management?