• New Faculty Profile: Carlos Rufin


The Faculty Spotlight feature is designed to introduce prospective students to the teaching and research interests of the Sawyer Business School Faculty. Each week a new faculty member will be profiled.

No matter which subject he may be teaching, there is one truth Professor Carlos Rufin wants all his students to know. “I teach business students to be alert about the non-business environment, to always be aware of what’s going on outside the business world. You must pay attention to the government, the larger community, and the social forces. I’m particularly interested in how businesses manage their environmental and social footprints. Companies have to be very careful when they make an investment to know what kind of environmental impact they are going to have. You have to factor in what the impact of your decisions will be. And these are not issues that have been emphasized in business schools.”

A native of Barcelona, Spain, Carlos Rufin studied at Princeton University and Columbia University before earning a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Trained in international development issues, he is a consultant to the World Bank, and the author of numerous scholarly publications, including a book on the reform of the electric power industry around the world and especially in Brazil and other Latin American countries.

“When multinationals invest in utilities in developing countries, how do they deal with poor people? How do you provide electricity at an affordable price to the urban areas? This is very important to the people and to the companies as well. The poor people may steal your electricity, or refuse to pay their bills. And if the government perceives that you are not interested in helping the people, they will not treat you as well either.”

Traditionally, business students are taught how to analyze issues of price, competition, and marketing. Rufin wants his students to also have tools for understanding broader environment and social forces. “Even though decisions about social policy are made at a very high level, MBA students early in their careers frequently get jobs as analysts. Upper management will say, ‘Write me a memo about this. Let me know what courses of action are possible and what you recommend.’ They can have great impact, and must be ready.”

Carlos Rufin also emphasizes the need for business people to learn other languages. He recommends Spanish, German and Chinese as being relevant to today’s global economy. He hopes someday to spend time at Suffolk’s Madrid and Dakar locations, but for now he is appreciating the Sawyer Business School’s downtown Boston location.

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Carlos Rufin

Assistant Professor of Management