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


For Hispanic Heritage Month, UofSC Today spoke with several faculty members about why they came to college, what they work for, and how their backgrounds influence their outlook.

Rafael Becerril Arreola is an associate professor of marketing at the Darla Moore School of Business. It studies the effects of socio-economic factors on consumer behaviors, business decisions and market outcomes.

Becerril was born in Mexico but has traveled the world, working in Korea and Hong Kong. He earned an undergraduate degree in electrical and computer engineering at the Toluca campus of ITESM in Mexico; a Master of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto; and a doctorate in management from UCLA.

Tell us something about your background/legacy that shapes who you are that you wish more people understood.

What I thought was very Mexican of me, very Latino, it’s hard to say. We have strong families, but Asians and many other groups too. Foods and traditions shape a person, but once you’ve traveled, you can become a little less focused on your heritage.

Many Americans think of Hispanics as people with little education, working in particular types of jobs, and having a certain education and principles. What I wish is for more people to be more aware of the diversity of Latinos. There are many differences between us.

Have you been able to connect with others who share a similar experience, either at the university or in the community at large? If so, how?

Yes, I am a member of the Latino and Hispanic Teachers Caucus, which is a way to get to know other Latino teachers. Even though there aren’t many of us at the University of South Carolina, caucusing exposes you to different ideas and ways of thinking, which is a good thing.

Did your background/where you grew up influence your decision to enter higher education and become a teacher?

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

And yes, because the environment was not very conducive to social mobility. You know there are opportunities outside of my home, so that pushed me. I love academics, research and continuous learning. The realization that it was a good way to open doors pushed me in that direction.

Who are your Hispanic or Latino/Latinx role models? Do you have any favorite Hispanic or Latino/Latinx-themed music, movies, or books?

I consider role models as someone you respect and would like to emulate in some way. Two people who have made significant contributions to the country are Cesar Chavez and Sonia Sotomayor. I may not agree with everything they did and said, but I respect some things they did. Cesar Chavez started with little in life, but he accomplished a lot. It’s not because he became famous, but because he was able to shape labor markets, fight for people’s rights, improve the lives of the Latin American community and improve the rights of workers of all breeds. And Judge Sonia Sotomayor; the judicial system is not very diversified. Being a minority woman, it must not have been easy for her to get where she is. The fact that she did is something to be respected, regardless of political views.

One of my favorite books is Dreamland: The True Story of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones. He is a great journalist and he does a very good job. And there are a number of Mexican American directors who have done good 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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