2022 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Angélica María Sánchez-Riofrío, Universidad Espíritu Santo-Ecuador

Angélica María Sánchez-Riofrío

Universidad Espíritu Santo-Ecuador

“Angelica was invited professor of the Ethics and Social Responsibility at Universidad del Rosario in Colombia. Angelica Sanchez-Riofrio stands out not only for her outstanding teaching experience but also her research participation. She is an exceptionally gifted lecturer who keeps her students enthralled with compelling arguments and well-documented research. She is also a member of the research project ‘Regional Learning Community’ based in our university. Moreover, she has co-author several papers about strategy and corporate social responsibility. As an Invited Professor, she has demonstrated exceptional skills as a teacher and mentor. I am pretty sure, Angelica, would be a future academic leader in Latin America and the Caribbean region.” – Merlin Patricia Grueso Hinestroza

Angélica María Sánchez-Riofrío, 37, is Associate Professor at Universidad Espíritu Santo-Ecuador.

Her research investigates corporate strategies and social responsibility, along with R&D and economic development. Her work has appeared in publications such as UNEMI Science Magazine, Journal of Strategic Sciences, Innovation and Development, Administrative Science Magazine, Financial Analysis, Journal of Social Sciences and others. She is the author of the 2018 book, “Human Talent in the Knowledge Economy.”

After growing up in Ecuador, Sánchez-Riofrío was the first Ecuadorian to earn her Ph.D. at Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain where she was given the Extraordinary Doctorate Award. She was also the first Ph.D. hired as a full-time professor by her university in 2014.

She is one of the founders of Ecuador’s first doctoral program in business administration, and she directly contributes to training more teachers and researchers in her country. She writes her own business cases about Ecuadorian companies so that her students learn about local businesses instead of only about Apple and McDonald’s.


At current institution since what year? 2014


  • Ph.D. in Business Administration (Outstanding CUM LAUDE and Extraordinary Doctorate Award), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos- Spain.
  • MBA program, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos- Spain.
  • Diploma in Asian and Japanese Studies, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan
  • BSc in International Business with a minor in Marketing (CUM LAUDE), Universidad Espíritu Santo-Ecuador                             

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Strategic Management and Research Methodology


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… Well, my parents were university teachers but in the Health Department. So, I always had that profession as an option. During my bachelor’s degree, I met Prof. Lee Nordgren (Harvard alumni). She has been a role model for me. I said to myself, “if I become a business professor, I would like to be like her.” Later on, when the best teacher in my MBA program, Prof. Luis Ángel, asked me to join his research team to pursue my Ph.D. studies, I definitely knew I wanted to be a business school professor. 

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I am currently researching corporate strategies in Europe. I am also studying digitalization in emerging markets and, finally, the role of women in economic development in Ecuador. I am particularly attracted to this last topic. We found out that female-owned firms’ performance should not be evaluated based only on their financial outcomes. From a feminist perspective, female business owners have a more comprehensive vision of performance, which is why economic and social measures should be included to measure the performance of companies led by women.

Interestingly, firms providing more social benefits (e.g. employment and higher wages) have higher survival rates. Moreover, female-owned enterprises tend to give higher wages per employee for all firm sizes. Although female-owned microenterprises are less (financially) efficient, they tend to provide more for their employees and possibly communities, through the economic stimulus they provide, in terms of the size of the financial outcomes.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I would probably work as a real estate agent. I have two rented properties in Ecuador. I like to keep an eye on real estate prices and watch tv shows about this topic.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? From a classroom perspective, I try to customize my classes, and I always try to understand the viewpoint and situation of the students. I have students with very different profiles in terms of profession, social and economic background, age, etc. I try to adapt my classes according to my audience and learning environment (face-to-face, virtual or hybrid). From a business perspective, my research includes the best companies in Ecuador so my students could apply my findings to their own companies.

One word that describes my first time teaching: exciting. I was back in my alma mater with eager students that reminded me of myself.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Teaching is a vocation. As a teacher, you won´t get rich. However, wealth is not measured by the millions you have in your bank account but by the number of people you help with your work. And in this profession, you can leave such a significant positive (or negative) impact on your students, future entrepreneurs, business people, and politicians, who can change the world. 

Professor I most admire and why: It is complicated for me to choose just one professor. Several teachers, especially from USA, Canadá, Spain, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, UK, and Japan, have inspired me during these years. Listed in chronological order, I especially admire Lee Nordgren, Hitoshi Suga, Luis Ángel Guerras-Martín, Diana Benito-Osorio, Nathaniel Lupton, Merlín Grueso, and Olga Hawn. I apologize for the omissions. I reiterate my thanks to all my mentors, advisors, and colleagues worldwide.  


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? I never get bored. I get an update on what is happening in the Latin American business ecosystem from first-hand business students (most of them already working or owning a company).

What is most challenging? The most challenging is finding a balance between teaching, researching, and personal life. I want to be up to date in my teaching skills, tools, content, coach my students outside classes, etc, but I also need time to research, apply for grants, and socialize my results to our community. I am also a wife (13-years of marriage) and a mother of a 6-year-old girl, so it is hard to find a balance. At the end, what will determine the future of my academic career is the number of A+ articles, my citations, and my impact factor, but only balance could help me leave a footprint as a human being.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: curious

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: lazy

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… tough but fair professor (or at least lenient)


What are your hobbies? Dance, read, and travel with my family

How will you spend your summer? I love to travel, so anywhere as long as I am with my husband and my daughter

Favorite place(s) to vacation: The beach

Favorite book(s): The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits by G.K. Prahalad, and Tell to Win by Peter Guber

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? I would say “Don’t Look Up” because it is a sharp satire about climate change, media, academia, and politicians. Unfortunately, it is a valid criticism of our profession. My favorite show now is The Playbook from Netflix.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I like all kinds of music, especially upbeat music (such as merengue and salsa), because I can dance.


If I had my way, the future business school would have much more of this… most of the classes would be at the companies, and most of our students would be working part-time in those companies. Every particular time, we would have to change the scenario and move to a different actor of the business ecosystem, such as government or tax offices, etc. During classes, we would use virtual reality to interact with students around the globe and solve cases and virtual reality simulations.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… focusing on those types of businesses that create economic value and, in turn, social development. The private sector is where most of the resources, jobs, and investments are, so to get social and economic development; we need all actors of society to get involved.  

I’m grateful for… my family, my friends, my mentors, and colleagues from all over the world who have always supported me through the years. I am thankful because I do what I love, and I get paid for it. 


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