Research Associate in Administrative Science Rafael Ramiro Moreno came to the College this past fall to share his knowledge of international business with the College community. Ramiro first came to the United States when he was 16, as an exchange student. He attended business school in Barcelona but came back to the U.S. a second time through study abroad with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University. When he was given a third opportunity to come back to the States, he jumped at the chance and moved his family to Waterville, Maine. With three children, Ramiro wanted to give them the same experience he had growing up. He said, “This world is international and global. I want [my kids] to know that.”
In the fall, Professor Ramiro came to the Hill with a wealth of business experience. After business school, he spent six years at two American consulting firms, then spent eight years working in the multimedia business industry in a variety of countries. With more than 20 years of practice, Ramiro wanted to channel his expertise into the classroom. In the fall, he taught the class International Business and Management, which was a huge success.
This spring, however, Ramiro took a different path and has designed a class called International Business and the Online Challenge. “We focus on how technology is reshaping business,” Ramiro said. He spent a long time creating the class schedule and worked in a series of seven influential members of the international business community to speak to the class.
“They will lecture for awhile and then have a question-and-answer session at the end of the class to talk to the students.” Ramiro added, “I have also had excellent support from ITS [on campus]. There have been no problems with technology, which can be risky during class, but so far so good.”
These speakers come from all over the world with a variety of backgrounds. Many have dual nationalities from countries like Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Canada, Portugal, UK, Spain, Argentina and the U.S. They are doing business worldwide, developing markets in South America, Europe and India. “This is a liberal arts college. I think it is good to see things from different perspectives,” Ramiro said. While the majority of the speakers have lectured over Skype, students have still had the opportunity to connect with these important and influential members of the business world.
Ryan Fischer ’12 said the Skype talks are his favorite aspect of the class. “I often feel that technology detracts from learning instead of enhancing it; however, the Skype conversations with Professor Ramiro’s professional colleagues [are] invaluable,” Fischer said.
People who are interested in more than just business have also enjoyed the class. Government major Becca McAffee ’13 said, “I have not taken any other administrative science classes, so this class really has taught me a lot. Also, [Ramiro’s] perspective from Spain helps add diversity to the class discussions—his background really forces us to focus internationally.”
She has also enjoyed the Skype conversations, adding, “This part of the class almost seems as if I am going to a Goldfarb event meant for business nerds. I have really enjoyed this part of the class.”
Students are pushing for more classes like this, and maybe now after a successful first year, the College will take action. McAffee said, “I do not think that [the College] places a large enough influence on business courses. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really learn tangible skills at Colby. I think Colby ought to offer more courses like Ramiro’s course. When I have a job interview, I now have tangible skills.”
Similarly, Fischer said, “I think Ramiro’s class is completely unique and hope the College will consider offering more courses taught by experienced professionals.” He added, “I think Colby should offer more business related courses, especially those that broaden the way a student thinks, as Professor Ramiro’s class did for me.”
As a successful businessman, Ramiro offered some advice for students on the Hill. His first tip: work abroad. “Get international exposure with big numbers, learn how institutions are managed and study how power is shifting to other countries.” Through this experience, students can also “be open to international markets and can begin to build an international network. Maintain that network.”
So far, Ramiro is enjoying his time in Waterville. “Everyone has been nice. Being in the countryside is quite the change from a big city like Madrid.” Ramiro also noted that everyone at the College has been fantastic. “The resources and their international approaches [to teaching] are amazing.”