Dr. Laurence Welford is a Professor at SRH University, Heidelberg; who came to Paraguay as a Visiting Scholar to teach Marketing at Universidad Paraguayo Alemana.
He studied at King’s College London in England. After that he got an MBA at Lake Forrest Graduate School of Management.
Dr. Welford worked at very importants companies such as F. Hoffman – La Roche, Abbott Laboratories in the International Division, and is currently working at SRH University at Heidelberg.
We wanted to know about his stay in Paraguay, and so we did a little interview to him. Here we share part of the interview.
– Do you want to tell us about your subject? Was it marketing right?
Dr. Welford: Yes, it was “Principles of Marketing”. It was a foundation course, an introduction.
I do the first 2 weeks so they get all the basic ideas in place, they do a Project with me, the teams do concentrate in different products and so they can put into practice what they learned with me. And in the exam the teams make short presentations. Each team will present to me their products and they’ll get a grade for that. They’ll also do a multiple choice exam to test their knowledge.
– How was your experience with Paraguayan students?
Dr. Welford: With Paraguayan students? Oh, they are fantastic. They are extremely motivated, they are more interested (…).
– Is there any difference between paraguayan culture and yours? Between the students here and in Europe?
Dr. Welford: Let me think about it. What I can say is that Paraguayan students are a Little more passionate, and the imagination into the work that they imply… German students don’t put so much passion into their work.
I think that their main challenge will be that – from what I heard about how marketing is done here in Paraguay, generally – they might find a few challenges in implementing into the commercial structures here, some of the key points of marketing into the business world. Because I believe is a lot more based on relationships (in Paraguay).
– Maybe, in Paraguay we don’t have an exactly definition of what Marketing is. For someone it can be one thing, and for other people is something totally different.
Dr. Welford: Ok. Maybe this course will help Students to understand that. I can tell you based in a couple of pieces of feedback, quoting a student who said “what you’ve done in this course is, you made me see marketing with your eyes. You changed my perception about what is marketing all about” and maybe that’s a good thing because a lot of students when they start learning marketing say “aw great” (for no good) put marketing in the next block, like something good to learn about branding and about advertising, and that’s all what marketing is. That’s the perception. But what has been done is reinforce and made them rethink about marketing as an ethical discipline and in order to be able to make its claim or promise to the customer (to the potential customer) you have to base that on concrete knowledge and facts, so that your promises about what you can deliver to the customer are credible, and believable, and things you actually can deliver on.
– Is more than just advertising.
Dr. Welford: Is a lot more than advertising. It has to do with development as well, the conception.
-What did you like most about Paraguay?
Dr. Welford: The people and the warmth of the people. The fact that they are so approachable and friendly.
– Did you know about UPA before you came?
Dr. Welford: I was here 2 years ago. I did this course 2 years ago and I knew about UPA from the start, the reason is I worked at SRH University in Heidelberg and this has been always on our radar screen. We were always informed about UPA. Also, we communicated and worked very close to Dr. Stijn during Projects.
– That’s good for the UPA image because it is important to promote the global/international education.
Dr. Welford: I think you are focus on providing a more international type of education for the students. That’s very good. You have classes for the Students for the Spanish speaking, they also have classes in German, they also receive teaching in English and courses in English to improve their English. If they are German speaking or Spanish speaking, they get German class. So that’s fantastic for the overall, let’s say the customer offering to the students.
The students end up, once they’ve been through this different language courses, and getting in the different languages, helps them to get really unified global citizens and that increases their chances of getting, if they want, an international career in business. So its a really good value proposition for the students. And that’s probably for speaking to the students and hearing all what they have to say. That might be one of the drivers of choosing to come here rather than other University.
– Would you like to come again to the UPA?
Dr. Welford: Oh definitely, I would have come last year, but my Schedule was so busy that it was impossible. That’s why I promised I would definitely come this year. We’ll see how it goes. For long you have students that need a visiting marketing professor I’m interested.