Javier Rivas is a lecturer in Financial Mathematics and Quantitative Techniques at the Madrid Campus of EAE Business School. The lecturer expresses his gratitude for the award and emphasized the faculty’s potential and the level of satisfaction of the School’s students.
You have been named as the Best Lecturer on Full-Time Programs at EAE Business School. What does this award mean to you?
A great deal, obviously, on the Full-Time programs, there are hundreds of colleagues of an extremely high standard who are thoroughly dedicated to their teaching, so receiving this award means an enormous amount. Evaluating who is the best or worst teacher is often very subjective and depends on factors that are unrelated to teaching, to a large extent. Therefore, the words that first springs to mind is gratitude, to my students, the coordinators, the other lecturers, support staff and, of course, my family, who see me less that they should during peak periods of work.
You are a lecturer in Financial Mathematics and Quantitative Techniques, among other subjects. How do you manage to grab the students’ attention?
That’s easy: spend less time on theory and focus more on the practical side of things. In fact, any student studying on a Full-Time Finance program have to know about these topics and, what’s more, they should like them. So, it’s easy but, in my opinion, the differential factor is they practically don’t see any formulas or use calculators. Once students have learned how it works, we move on to resolving practical cases in Excel or other applications that are as similar to what they are going to face in their future professional lives.
You combine teaching with your consultancy and executive coaching duties. What value does your professional experience add to your classes?
It makes all the difference. Sometimes the theory is extracted from the practice, not the other way around. In my opinion, it is basic. The role of the lecturer on a master is to give students something beyond what they can read in a book, and that comes from experience. We are witnessing a revolution in higher education, there is a great deal of capacity for students to access to contents free of charge, or almost. Therefore, education should not simply involve the transfer of contents, but rather skills that cannot be acquired be referring in a manual.
How would you describe EAE Business School’s Full-Time students?
In general, they are people who want to learn, some based on prior experience, others with not so much time under their belt, but everyone has a clear vocation for learning. They are international groups, which generates a great deal of value for the students, but also for the lecturer, who has to adapt their teaching style to different uses and customs.
In a volatile, uncertain and changing environment, what skills do new professionals need to develop?
As well as acquiring the knowledge required by a professional studying a master in a certain area, in my opinion, there are two basic skills. The first, without a doubt, is adaptability to new environments, both in technological and cultural terms. The second is the ability to work as a team, which is a skill they develop on the different group projects and particularly in the course of their Master’s Thesis.
Training gives students who take Full-Time masters added value in terms of their professional career prospects. To want extent do they need to be trained?
Nowadays, education is taken for granted as a criterion for applicants for any executive position. On many occasions, not even a leading master in its category guarantees a good professional career. Therefore, it is essential to take a master that gives you key skills for your subsequent professional development. That is where lecturers should focus their efforts.
How would you describe students doing a Master program at EAE Business School when they arrive and leave?
They come with great expectations and leave with more knowledge, as different people to those that arrived. They have had an international experience, they have worked as part of a team and, most importantly, they have learned. I would say that it is a very comprehensive experience, which can be seen by the students’ evolution during and after the master.
How important is networking and contact with the EAE Community?
I don’t really like the English term ‘networking’. I think that the Spanish term ‘network of contacts’ captures the idea better. How important is it? Very. After the master, the contacts you have made can help you a great deal, not only in terms of finding work but also to do business, often abroad. The network of contacts that you make at EAE is special in terms of its geographical scope and the partner companies that offer internships, all of which will be highly useful in the students’ professional life.
What advice would you give students who have just graduated?
In fact, just one: always enjoy your work. They are going to be well prepared so they should never just put up with something that doesn’t motivate them. To enjoy, we often have to overcome our fear of change and leap into the unknown (with a network or parachute, if possible).