Global Experience and Expertise
To teach business courses, a successful professor must have real-life experience, says Jose Godinez, a new, tenure-track hire in the Girard School’s management department.
Godinez began his career with an industrial engineering degree and jobs at construction companies in his native Guatemala.
“Even though I did not find my passion working in construction companies, they taught me a great deal about business,” says Godinez. He learned about the importance of keeping within a budget, managing a project and meeting a deadline.
“Of course, I draw on each of those experiences in the classes I teach.”
Godinez is currently a term faculty member who began teaching at Merrimack College this spring semester. His formal appointment as an assistant professor of management begins in the fall.
“I bring a practical side to the study of business, not only a theoretical one. I also bring a great deal of knowledge in doing business in different countries, dealing with different cultures,” says Godinez. He earned academic degrees not only in Guatemala but also the United States, England and Scotland. His dissertation deals with how corruption affects the attraction of foreign direct investment to Latin America, and he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh.
His international trajectory began after he received his B.S. in industrial engineering from Universidad Rafael Landivar in 2003. He also had accumulated work experience as an assistant manager for a marketing company and as a project manager for a construction company, both in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
“I had just finished my engineering degree and I wanted to learn English,” he says.
Enrolling at Georgetown University, he took his first English class in January 2004 and received a certificate in business administration and professional English in 2005.
“There I learned that as an engineer I would have a lot of freedom to change processes but no authority to make strategic decisions. That was the reason why I decided to switch to business studies,” Godinez says.
To bolster his business background, he transferred to Johns Hopkins University and received a B.S. in business management in 2007. Now he knew he wanted to study international business. And his business career continued, as he worked as a financial analyst in Guatemala, then for a construction company in Maryland.
“I realized then that I could not truly understand international business by limiting my education to two countries.” His research led him to the United Kingdom and a top-rated program at the University of Manchester, where he received an M.S. in international business in 2008.
With his extensive graduate work and keen research interest, he was able to complete a Ph.D. swiftly at the University of Edinburgh. Schools in the United Kingdom allow students to finish in three years. He handed in his dissertation within 2 years, 9 months of starting the program and graduated in November 2013.
In his dissertation, he concluded that Latin American firms located in countries with low levels of corruption are deterred by high corruption in a host country in which they might invest. And firms headquartered in countries with high corruption levels are not affected by corruption in the host country.
“The implications of this are vast,” Godinez says. “Developing countries need foreign direct investment from developed countries and should improve their corruption enforcement to achieve this.”
His research, centered on strategies for companies that want to operate abroad, is closely related to strategy courses he will teach at the Girard School, he says. He will teach Strategic Analysis and Decision Making to undergraduates, Competition, Innovation and Strategic Advantage to graduates.
The undergraduate course will analyze how general managers enhance and sustain business performance to achieve competitive advantage. “The central concept of this course is to enable students to think critically regarding a firm’s allocation of critical resources over time in pursuit of specific goals and objectives,” he says.
The graduate course will examine how managers work to integrate operations, marketing, finance, information systems and management processes to achieve competitive advantage, he says. Students will learn how to analyze the external environment and assess the capabilities of an organization to craft competitive strategies.
Case studies, he says, will show students “how managers combine analysis with creative problem solving to achieve innovative strategies, to create new markets and to compete in novel ways.”
With his Ph.D. in management, Godinez still retains connections to his engineering background. He says his proudest accomplishment is being the only member of the Guatemalan Council of Science and Technology who researches and teaches business issues.