Dr. Carlos DIAZ RUIZ

Professor in Marketing & Consumer studies

On teaching

One of the most important drivers when I decided to move from industry to academia was that I could be able to teach. The teachers I have had who stand out in my memory have some attributes in common: they helped me to solve problems in such a way that I would learn by myself, they all clarified difficult topics through examples and metaphors, and put knowledge in a format that was intuitive and fun. These role models have influenced my approach to teaching in business schools: I emphasize more the “business” than the “school.” When planning a curriculum or interacting with students, I am conscious that their goal is the business application. I contextualize the complex business theories in such a way that the managerial implications can be grasped easily. Rather than presenting myself as an expert who simply delivers information to students, I advocate students learning by doing. There is a torrent of new information in business theory and practice, and business students need to learn “how to learn by themselves.” Therefore, I encourage student autonomy where students play an active role in determining what and how they need to solve business problems. They will develop the life-long learning skills needed to keep themselves on the top of their disciplines.

I am fortunate to teach qualitative courses where interpretative skills are crucial. For these courses, I rely on guided discussions as the cornerstone of my approach. I acknowledge that many students need encouragement to talk in public, so I emphasize informal yet structured discussions. Therefore I rely on workshops and practical cases informed by theory more than simply communicating theory. I learned from my experience in industry that communicating complex ideas to top management is tricky. Presentations to C-level officers require creativity, credibility and confidence. I try to convey these important skills to my students through presentations and workshops. I benefit myself from guided discussions as well. My knowledge of the topics is greatly enriched when students produce new insights and new interpretations of theory.

As I gain experience and confidence as a teacher, I realize that teaching is the perfect complement to research. My current position as postdoctoral researcher emphasizes the research practice, but my experience teaching has been crucial to develop papers in new and unexpected directions. Moreover, as a marketing professional with expertise in intercultural communication, I apply techniques designed for international and exchange students. The learning challenges for students from different nationalities and backgrounds are well documented. The courses can be adapted to an international audience by adding visual, and rhetoric instruments to help students.

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