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Learning How to Think, Not What to Think: Lessons from a WQU Professor

November 28, 2022
By teaching both critical thinking and technical skills, WQU’s Professor Sergio Garcia ensures that his students learn how to think through and solve the problems they might face in their careers.

WorldQuant University has an ambitious mission: make advanced, quality education accessible to capable students everywhere. WorldQuant University is able to deliver on this ambitious mission because of the commitment and engagement of its diversely trained faculty.

WQU Professor Sergio Garcia is an ardent believer in the power not only of a good education, but one that is continuous. He believes lifelong learning is “the main engine for personal and professional growth” and ultimately what advances society in a positive way.

A world-class education, however, is expensive. Worse yet, pursuing this education far too often requires that students leave home and or their countries of residence. Sergio considers it his duty as a professional to contribute to the education of learners across the globe with no restrictions. “I completely agree with the idea that talent is distributed worldwide,” he said, “even if resources aren’t.”

Sergio spent much of his academic career studying under the “classical European system that emphasized becoming proficient in technical skills.” However, as a doctoral student in the U.S., he learned from professors that championed critical thinking. They bridged theoretical knowledge with applied, real world applications.

To Sergio’s surprise, he still encounters people who only value technical skills. “They do not know what they’re missing! It’s not so much about learning what to think, but how to think,” he says. “My students might forget the specific material, but if I can teach them to think, they’ll learn how to solve the problems they face later in their careers.”

While students feel grateful for the opportunity to learn from somebody of Sergio’s professional caliber, the admiration according to Sergio goes both ways. “Teaching at WQU offers access to students with the most diverse backgrounds and experiences,” he said. “They are enthusiastic about learning, which is refreshing and contributes to a fantastic learning environment.”

Because WQU brings together students with a breadth of cultural orientations and values, students and faculty have the opportunity to learn from different points of view. “This sometimes poses a challenge,” said Sergio, “but at the end of the day, financial markets are just about understanding other people’s views, incentives, and logical processes. I believe this gives our students an advantage.”

Sergio’s greatest reward is seeing where students end up after they graduate from WorldQuant University. “Seeing former students update their current positions or advancing in a career because of their experience at WQU,” he said, “nothing compares to that.”

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