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International Education Week 2022: Faculty Profile

Maria Gabriela Vivero is an Associate Professor of Finance in the School of Business Administration. She has been at UD for 9 years. Most recently, she led the Business in Spain Faculty-Led Program in the summer of 2022. She is originally from Quito, Ecuador. 

What drew you to the field of finance, and how is it connected to global and intercultural learning? 

What drew me to finance and an academic career was my background and also my interest in understanding human behavior, but from the point of view of markets. Markets and financial institutions are just an expression of human behavior. I was interested in how humans interact and I thought finance was a good way to understand that behavior. Even though human contact is sometimes limited, the trade of goods and services always persists because of the forces of supply and demand in the market. Finance will always encompass different cultures and different patterns of needs and wants. There is research on how culture determines the types of financing arrangements that exist between people. But also culture determines personal behavior: individual behavior is strongly conditioned by our cultural background and heritage. 

Tell us about some of the ways you engage in global learning. 

At the University of Dayton, I have been very fortunate to become engaged in multiple ways when it comes to learning at the global level, either at my own learning or helping facilitate the learning of my students. Through [the GIA Center], I have been a part of 3 Faculty Led Programs abroad. I’ve also participated in the Business in Spain trip twice, and we went to Barcelona, Seville, and Málaga. As a faculty member, I am a part of the Global Education Seminar that is getting ready to travel to South Africa in the summer of 2023. We were scheduled to travel in 2020, but then we had the pandemic. It is a group of 6 professors that are traveling together from different academic units to learn about the history and culture of this region and gain perspective that we can integrate into our teaching, scholarship, and/or other faculty or student collaborations. Also, in my work as a researcher, I have always been engaged with research teams that involve multiple countries and cultures. So there has always been a global aspect to everything I have done since I have started my life as professor and also researcher. 

What is one important intercultural dimension of your experience at UD?

In the year 2021, I took a sabbatical during the spring, and during that time, I did something that I longed to do for a really long time: develop a course that is called Finance for the Common Good, FIN 200, which is currently being offered in the fall. It’s a class where I do a survey on the different aspects of the interaction between financial markets and society, so I go through different instances where markets and society interact, in which they are constantly connected with each other, and where markets can be tools to be used to advance social causes. They can assist particularly in a reduction of inequalities and the inclusion of disenfranchised members of society to the core of society. And when I’m doing this, I have been able to connect with multiple professors and academic units across campus, like the Human Rights Center, ETHOS Program, Human Rights Minor, Social Justice Chair, Kelly Johnson, and with Leslie Picca in Sociology. So when I create these links with different people in academic units that are different from the School of Business, I realize that inside of our campus there are actually different cultures. My class becomes that link, that bridge, that connects the different units of the University and that has been a very interesting experience for me. 

How is intercultural competence important in the field of finance? 

Between the years 2000 and about right before the pandemic, the world witnessed a huge increase in global trade, global travel, and businesses became more global in their nature. We saw more global brands, more international corporations, and as our business students become part of those organizations, it’s important that they understand that they’ll be typically working with teams of people that come from many different backgrounds. Being able to work with those diverse backgrounds is something that makes them stronger, so that they are able to come up with different ideas and solutions to different problems that they face in their organizations. 

When you think of home, what comes to mind?

I have lived in the United States for 30 years now, so when I think of home, my heart is always divided in two places: my hometown of Quito, Ecuador, and my current home, Dayton, Ohio. Both places are home to me and both together make me feel at peace. And as I visit more parts of the world, home becomes a wider place. 

Why is developing intercultural skills in students important to you?

I think it’s important to develop intercultural skills in students because it is essential for their future as conscientious citizens, for their life as members of the human race, part of a society that gathers people from multiple backgrounds, and as future professionals. Knowing how to deal with different cultures, whether these cultures are about professional backgrounds, national origins, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, religious affiliations, are quite important because the world is made up of a whole mosaic of people that come from many different venues and backgrounds and diversity has been shown to be a source of strength for societies. Ideas and innovative or ingenious solutions to pressing problems usually come when someone looks at a problem from multiple points of view or from a different point of view that hasn’t been considered before. So I think the younger that you’re able to see a diverse world, the more open you’re going to be to understanding multiple cultures. 

This profile is part of our series for International Education Week 2022. For the full list of events and opportunities, go to (UD login required). 

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