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Meet Felipe Martínez, expert on Process Improvement and Organisational Design

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Felipe Martínez works at the Department of Management and teaches classes related with Process Improvement and Organisational Design, namely ‘Operations Management’, ‘Quality, Environment, Health and Safety Management’ and ‘Organisational Architecture’. We have asked him few questions regarding his experience at the Faculty of Business Administration and teaching in international environment and below we bring you his answers.

1. What do you like about teaching? What is your favourite part of your courses?

Wow! Everything. It is the activity I love the most… that is why I teach. But, specifically, I like the opportunity to share knowledge, especially when students experience the so called “aha” moment, when you say something and they open their eyes like, “Wow, I did not know that”. I expect to have conversation with my students, so we can talk about processes and organisations within the class topics. During workshops I feel happy when students use concepts and knowledge, add their own inputs and they realize that those have sense. That is why I find the interaction so important.

2. What about your teaching methods? Would you say you use some methods that are not so common in the Czech environment?

Well, they are not unique but there are not found often. My approach is practical and I do follow the perspective of “Learning by doing”. Then, students develop projects and make presentations in my classes. I make workshops almost every class and, I try to do not speak too much… I want to have a conversation with the students. I do also implement “open book” tests. For me it is not important to memorize concepts – it is important to use them. In, what is called, “the real life” your boss will address you an instruction in few sentences or short email and you must be able to deliver the expected result at the expected time. Sources are thousands (google, books, notes, colleagues, friends, etc)… but it is your knowledge that make sense over those sources to produce the expected result. That is why I allow students to work with all sources, in a specific task, and then we have a conversation about it.

Also, I do understand that modern technologies and social media are useful and normal so I try to implement these in my classes.

3. What is it like to teach students of international programmes at the Faculty of Business Administration? Are there any specifics?

Diversity and heterogeneity. Different backgrounds come together to learn. We, teachers, must be able to deliver the class to a wide range of knowledge level within a wide level of English. I am a Czech citizen originally from Colombia. I had the opportunity to live in countries such as Argentina, India and lately Canada. So, I like to be immerse in a foreign environment been local.

The main difference from teaching only Czech students is when you are teaching the Czech, you have only one culture and it is quite easy to understand each other. While when teaching international students, everyone has different perspective on the same issue, everyone has different experience, and that is a challenge which also makes the class more interesting sometimes. It also makes Operational Management totally different just because the culture background is different.

Every semester the lecture has framework and topic but then we talk about issues that are related to the countries students are from.

4. Do you get feedback from your students? 

I always try to be very open with my students and I like to get the feedback. I do implement a Google form survey and the link is always provided in the last slide of my presentation. There students can anonymously evaluate the course and my performance. That helps me a lot, mainly in first weeks of semester when we try to understand each other and work together. Then, I can improve the course within the semester for the same students rather than for the students for the next semester. Furthermore, I am always open to listen to their inputs by which we are circling back to the conversation and dialogue, which are, according to my opinion, the most important parts of the teaching.

5. What do you like about the University of Economics, Prague?

Well, we are in Prague, this is big endowment, meaning that every single semester we have people from all over the world, in our courses and programmes as well. We are well-situated, it is really easy to get to the dorms and also to the downtown. You can study and enjoy Prague at the same time. The Faculty of Business Administration is part of the 1% of Leading Business Schools thanks to the EQUIS Accreditation. The school also has really nice facilities and the campus is not too big, with really pleasant environment for studying. And the people here are true experts so I think it is really worthy to come to study here not only because of the environment but for the level of knowledge we provide here.