Asst. Prof. Jose Guajardo’s Chilean pride

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, we’re featuring interviews with members of our Latinx community.

Assoc. Prof. Jose Guajardo
Assoc. Prof. Jose Guajardo (photo: Noah Berger)

Asst. Prof. Jose Guajardo joined the Haas Operations and IT Management Group in 2012 after earning his PhD from the Wharton School. He’s focused his research on business model innovation and business analytics in operations, carving out a niche focused specifically on service business models. He’s delved into the sharing economy and found that peer-to-peer rental services can actually help manufacturers, rather than hurting sales. More recently, he’s found that businesses going solar may be better off leasing rather than buying, and also studied how rent-to-own businesses can best operate in the developing world.

We spoke with Guajardo about his Chilean heritage and how it influences his work.

What are the roots of your heritage?

I was born in Chile. I grew up in the south and went to college in Santiago. I moved to the U.S. together with my wife to do our PhDs at Penn, and stayed in the U.S. since then. This is also how I became the father of three Chilean-Americans, all of them born in Berkeley.

How does your heritage shape your career, your cultural values, or the way that you go about your research and/or teaching? 

It has had a significant impact in my research and teaching. Several of my research projects benefit from my connection with Chile (co-authors at the University of Chile, data from companies operating in Chile and Latin America, etc.). Recently, I taught in Spanish at Haas in a management program for executives visiting Berkeley from a wide range of Latin American countries. And frequently in my regular teaching I make reference to the business reality in Latin America. 

Video: Fans of Guajardo’s favorite soccer team, Club Universidad de Chile, show their “pasion azul” (passion for blue, or the team’s color) in a game against rivals Universidad Católica.

Is there an aspect of your cultural heritage that you enjoy sharing with others?

Latin America is about passion. Passion with a sense of urgency. Attending a football match or a music event anywhere in Latin America can be an experience. Spending September 18 in Chile can be a good example too, as the whole country celebrates the national independence in quite a unique way. Hard to explain in words, but easy to recognize when you experience it.