When it comes to deciding between work and personal hobbies, Feng Jiao (assistant professor of finance at the Dhillon School of Business, Calgary campus) tries to blur the lines. He prioritizes helping his students in his free time and continues his research on international finance and globalization while embarking on world travels.
“I’ve been with the University for just over two years and I enjoy the culture here. My colleagues are very supportive and if I ever need assistance, I know I they’ll provide it. My research interest is in international finance, so I look at how financial markets interact with each other and work to find small, seemly insignificant triggers to international financial events.
I really like working with our students, and think they are our most important asset. I interact with them extensively both inside and outside the classroom. There’s this saying by Confucius, “Teacher for one day, father forever.” I believe that if I teach my students well, I will be like a father for a lifetime. My office door is always open, and a lot of my spare time is spent with them. When I’m not teaching or working on research, I’m in ping pong tournaments with present or past students. They make me value my job. When I see my students succeed, I am satisfied.
Since my research interest is in international finance, I enjoy traveling. It gives me a way to capture the world with my camera while analyzing how economic systems work in other places. I watch globalization unfold in real life.
One year, my wife and I went to Guatemala and were in a remote area to do some diving. We were invited into the home of a local couple who lived in a small house with no obvious signs of globalization; no power, no paved roads, and no signs of trade or commerce with a developed country. We were trying, unsuccessfully, to communicate despite the language barrier. Then the man pulled out his phone and we both started using translators on our phones and were able to communicate easily. It was a lesson to me that even if goods aren’t traveling between countries, information is and always will be.
I tell my students to look beyond the United States for their research ideas. They need to have an open mind and look beyond the information that’s easy to access. For anyone else who isn’t a student and interested in learning more about wealth and finance, I would encourage them to watch local news, get some popcorn and see a movie like Wolf of Wall Street, or just stop by my office and I’ll give you several books to read.”