Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?.
I am Gloria Gardenal, since 2011 University Researcher (RU) in Corporate Finance at the Department of Management. I graduated at Ca' Foscari in Economics of Financial Intermediaries and Markets with honours and, after a short work experience in finance, I started my PhD in Business at Ca' Foscari. For one year I was a visiting student at the Department of Economics at University College London (UCL). My research focuses on risk and financial decision-making, both for individuals and firms, with an emphasis on behavioural aspects. I teach basic and advanced Corporate Finance courses, both in Italian and English.
Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
Honestly, no, but I have always had a great passion for studying. After completing my university exams, I worked in finance (portfolio and asset management) for about a year, during which time I wrote my dissertation and graduated. While working, I often missed university. That is why a few months after graduating I applied for a PhD in Business at Ca' Foscari and won a scholarship. This is how my journey in the university began. The PhD was very exciting: it thrilled me and challenged me both intellectually and personally. The research experience abroad in those years also helped me understand many things, reinforced my motivation and gave me useful tools to continue on this road.
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
Teaching means feeding young people's curiosity, lighting a fire, encouraging them to go deeper. I don't deny the more traditional part of teaching, that is, providing basic notions: these are the starting point, the foundations to build on in order to understand the subject in depth and then be able to interpret the world. However, I think that we should make use of all the technological and other tools that can facilitate and stimulate learning, as well as the exchange of ideas. The pandemic has undoubtedly boosted this, but researching means looking at the world from a privileged observatory, understanding the problems of the real economy, companies and individuals from the inside. In some cases, it means anticipating what will happen in the near future.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
I would advise young people approaching research today to gain as much experience as possible in foreign universities (PhD, post-doc, visiting, participation in European calls for researchers' mobility, etc.) and to create a network of contacts. Research is a job that cannot be done alone and having international (as well as national) co-authors can be very important, both as a stimulus and to create a competitive curriculum. I also recommend keeping an open mind, especially at the beginning of your PhD, about types of research (e.g. qualitative and quantitative) and methods of data collection/analysis.
Which degree programme would you recommend to a young graduate and why?
As a newly appointed Guidance Officer for incoming students in the Department of Management, I can't help but recommend our two Bachelor's Degree Programmes, namely Business Administration and Digital Management, the former being more traditional but with an all-round approach to all management disciplines, and the latter more innovative and digitally focused. I would also recommend choosing courses taught entirely in English because a thorough knowledge of English is absolutely essential these days.