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#international: "Going abroad is recommendable for everyone"

Anxo Calvo Silvosa

Anxo Calvo Silvosa, PhD, from A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, visited Pforzheim Business School as guest lecturer in January 2019. At his home university he is the dean of the faculty of Economics and Business and teaches in the area of Finance Economics and Accounting. In the interview with student reporter Lia Sophie Wilmes he tells about his passion for renewable energies, the importance of international experience and what he likes most about Pforzheim.

Mr. Calvo Silvosa, you have been to Pforzheim several times. This year you came in January – intentionally or accidentally?
Intentionally, because I was invited to lecture here this winter semester. I am carrying out a seminar about International Finance, which is a part of International Business. I think January is a good time to be here – I get so see all the snow!

How is the weather in A Coruña at this time of the year?
At the moment it is rather cold in my home town. It rains quite a lot and it is very windy. But unfortunately we don’t have snow like in the Black Forest. In fact, there are a lot of sea storms in A Coruña due to its openness to the Atlantic Ocean.

Being here for the fourth time: What do you value most about Pforzheim?
For me the best aspect of the Business School are its students - they are very committed and highly motivated. Another positive aspect is that the Business School maintains very close ties with the industry, so students have the chance to get in contact with important firms during their studies. As a result, I think Pforzheim is in a very strong position, partly due to being a “Hochschule”.

Do you think it is important for business students to gather international experience?
It is absolutely needed! I am fully convinced that students should go to foreign countries and get in contact with other people, businesses and ideas, other cultures... They need those experiences in order to carry out business activities successfully. But of course it is not only about the profit, but also about all the interesting experiences they can gather abroad. In my case, I benefit a lot from the contact with other students and teaching methodologies. So going abroad is recommendable for everyone, but especially for students in today’s day and age.

In your research you deal with renewable energies. What fascinates you about this topic?
The first time I encountered this topic was when I was studying Shareholder Value Creation. A bit later I joined the regional Galician government and took over the responsibility for the mining and energy industry. By that time we promoted renewable energies, mostly wind farms and sources of marine energy. It was a very interesting work, because renewable energies are not only about the energy problem itself, but also about the environment and the whole economy. In my opinion the topic has great potential to create wealth for everyone. And of course it is a very useful way to fight climate change and thus global warming.

At the University of A Coruña you are the dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business. What kind of projects are you currently involved in?
At the moment there are three goals we are striving for. They are all connected with each other and equally important for us. First of all we want to increase the degree of internationalization of our faculty. Therefore we are trying to settle more Erasmus agreements with foreign universities. We already have a lot of those agreements, but we would still like for more international students to come to our university. We also encourage interchanges among professors, so increase the number of guest lecturers. Secondly, we encourage teaching in English. Obviously this is closely related to and supports our first goal. Fortunately we are already able to offer various courses in English, but in our opinion it is not enough. The third topic we are trying to improve is our faculty’s link to the industry. We want our students to get to know the real working world by getting closer to the firms in their surroundings. That is very important, because it allows them to get excellent jobs in the future.

Would you share a typical Galician saying with us?

Yes of course! But first I would like to tell you something funny about the Galician people. Throughout Spain we are known for something weird. I give you an example: Galicians normally answer a question with a counter question. So when we meet someone on a staircase and he or she asks “Where are you going?” Galicians would probably answer “Why do you want to know that?”. I think we do it, because we sometimes have the feeling that people from outside Galicia might not approach us with good intentions. That’s why we seem so careful and try to avoid direct answers. But, to return to your question, I can assure you that otherwise we are very open, friendly and optimistic people! One of our favourite Galician sayings is “Nunca choveu que non escampase”, meaning that even though it rains, it will stop eventually. So when you have a problem seeming to be insoluble, you should not be concerned – you will always find a way to solve it.

Thank you for the interview, Mr. Calvo Silvosa.

The University of A Coruña is a young Galician university with a very old tradition. In the late 1980s the Galician government decided to split the University of Santiago de Compostela, one of the oldest Spanish universities, into three. So two new campuses, in Vigo and A Coruña, were formed. At the Economics and Business faculty of the University of A Coruña around 3000 students are enrolled. They either pursue a degree in one of the three Bachelor’s or four Master’s programs, among them a traditional MBA program.