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Raquel Castaño is the director of the master in marketing programme and the research chair: Glocalization: Understanding the Latin American Consumer at Egade Business School, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.

With a PhD and an MBA from Tulane University in the US and two masters degrees from Egade, Prof Castaño has been a professor of marketing and consumer behaviour for the last 23 years at all levels of higher education. She has also worked as a marketing research manager and a brand manager.

Prof Castaño will be available to answer your questions in a live web chat this Thursday, 12th January 2012, between 15.00 and 16.00. Post your questions now to ask@ft.com and they will be answered on the day.

1. What does it mean to be a professor?

It means constant learning - the opportunity to touch a life while touching your own life.

2. When did you know you wanted to teach?

I knew I wanted to teach when I was a college student at Tecnológico de Monterrey and realised that trying to teach a subject helped me to learn the subject! Above all, I knew I wanted to teach because I truly believe that education is a vehicle through which we can achieve a better world.

3. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being surrounded by young people confronts you every day with new ideas and knowledge - you age much more slowly.

4. What inspires you?

I am inspired by people who create happiness in their lives and in the lives of other people. I was touched by the thoughts of an Indian writer, Arundhati Roy, author of the book The God of Small Things:

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away….”

5. What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?

“Strive for balance in your life.” I remember hearing this from a professor and also frequently from my mother. I have personally learned that striving for balance requires flexibility - the ability to adapt to changing times and circumstances.

6. What academic achievement are you most proud of?

The publication of an article in the Journal of Marketing Research. For this article, I had the privilege of being guided by Dr Mita Sujan - an outstanding researcher.

7. What advice would you give to women in business?

Conduct yourself with integrity. Don’t set your goals based on what other people think are important. Listen to yourself.

8. If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

I would have studied for my PhD earlier in my career. It gave me a good blend of humbleness and self-confidence. I think I became a better teacher and it also enabled me to start my career as a researcher, which I deeply enjoy. I also wish I would have trusted my intuition more often.

9. What is your favourite business book?

Market-Based Management by Roger Best. As the author states: “Gains in business/marketing knowledge without application are missed learning opportunities.”

10. What are your future plans?

My plans are to generate new research that contributes to a greater understanding of Latin American consumers. An understanding of the similarities and differences among diverse consumer segments in the region is essential, not only in order to discern how new technologies or ideas are adopted (eg computers, hybrid cars or green behaviours) but also in order to act in a socially responsible way, especially in communities that have an important number of vulnerable consumers.

Compiled by Charlotte Clarke

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