Q&A with Rafael Becerril Arreola – UofSC News & Events

For Hispanic Heritage Month, UofSC Today spoke to several faculty members about why they came to the university, the focus of their work, and how their background influences their perspective.

Rafael Becerril Arreola is Associate Professor of Marketing at the Darla Moore School of Business. He examines the impact of socioeconomic factors on consumer behavior, business decisions, and market outcomes.

Becerril was born in Mexico but has traveled the world and worked in Korea and Hong Kong. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from ITESM’s Toluca campus in Mexico; a Masters of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto; and a doctorate in management from UCLA.

Tell us something about your background that shapes who you are and that you wish more people to understand.

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What I thought was very Mexican, very Latino is hard to say. We have strong families, but so do Asians and many other groups. Food and traditions shape a person, but once you’ve travelled, you may become a little less focused on your heritage.

Many Americans consider Hispanics to be low-educated people who work in specific jobs and have a specific upbringing and principles. What I wish is that more people become more aware of the diversity of Latinos. There are many differences between us.

Have you been able to network with others from similar backgrounds at university or in the wider community? If so, how?

Yes, I am a member of the Latino and Hispanic Faculty Caucus, which provides an opportunity to meet other Latino faculty. While there aren’t many of us at the University of South Carolina, the caucus exposes you to different ideas and ways of thinking, which is nice.

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Did your background/place of origin influence your decision to study at a university and become a professor?

Yes and no. No, in the sense that I grew up in a small town in Mexico and didn’t know anyone with a PhD. There was no one in my family with a postgraduate education.

And yes, because the environment was not very conducive to social mobility. You know there are opportunities outside of home, so that kind of pushed me. I like academics, research and continuous learning. Realizing that opening doors is a good way pushed me in this direction.

Who are your Hispanic or Latino/Latinx role models? Any favorite Hispanic or Latino/Latinx themed music, movies, books?

I see role models as someone you respect and want to emulate in a way. Two people who have made important contributions to the country are Cesar Chavez and Sonia Sotomayor. I may not agree with everything they have done and said, but I respect certain things they have achieved. Cesar Chavez started out with little in life, but he has achieved a lot. Not because he became famous, but because he was able to shape labor markets, fight for people’s rights, improve the lives of the Latino community, and improve the rights of workers of all races. And Justice Sonia Sotomayor; The judiciary is not very diverse. As a minority woman, it cannot have been easy for her to get to where she is. The fact that she did it must be respected regardless of political views.

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One of my favorite books is Dreamland: The True Story of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Chinones. He is a great journalist and does a very good job. And there are a number of Mexican-American directors who have done excellent work, including Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro.

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Topics: Faculty, Research, Initiatives, Leadership, Careers, Darla Moore School of Business

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