Like several Biola University Crowell School of Business faculty, Jake Aguas came to academia after a productive career in the business world. Aguas spent 25 years in the banking and market research industries, including serving at two Fortune 100 companies. He has a passion for understanding the impact of sweeping cultural changes and preparing students for a dynamic and turbulent future.
Aguas has a bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA and studied under Nobel Prize laureate Lloyd Shapley and economists William R. Allen, Armen Alchian, and George W. Hilton. Aguas shared they helped shape his economic and entrepreneurial approaches to management. He holds a master’s of organizational leadership from Biola and a certificate in marketing research from the University of Notre Dame. He’s currently working on his doctorate in organizational leadership with a concentration in human resources at Regent University in Virginia.
Here, Aguas shares about his background and his personal leader, “CEO Jesus.”
How did you decide to major in economics as an undergraduate?
I started off my college career as an electrical engineering major. However, I was quickly drawn to the social sciences. Economics offered the perfect balance between business, math, psychology, and applicability to real world events.
Have you always worked in business or did you start in another field? How do you bring that experience into the classroom?
I have worked in numerous fields, including marketing research, entertainment, and financial services. I currently do organizational consulting for both domestic and international companies. All my experiences have had two common elements: leadership and business.
Before joining the Crowell School of Business faculty, I spent 15 years with the retail banking division of JPMorgan Chase. Most notably, I served as its Manager of HR Talent Acquisition for the western United States. Now, I teach, coach and mentor my students using the same methods that I utilized in the corporate workspace. My students prepare competitive resumes, learn how to analyze organizations and make recommendations, and build their levels of emotional intelligence (EQ). They learn how to effectively interview and stand out. Throughout the semester, they learn workplace constructs such as empowerment delegation, collaboration, professionalism and accountability.
You teach some pretty challenging material in your courses, but you have to make that complex stuff accessible. What are your strategies for doing that?
The world is constantly changing. In order to stay relevant, I have to color my lectures and discussions with current, real-world examples. I spend a considerable amount of time pivoting and breaking down complex theories and concepts into conversational pieces with immediate application for the marketplace. I leverage technology and innovation in the classroom — I attempt to connect with students through methods that they are familiar with.
What are your research interests?
My current research interests include the megatrends that are reshaping the United States: globalization, technology and innovation, knowledge work, entrepreneurship, COVID-19 and the changing workforce. In fact, I just had a book published on the topic! I am currently writing a book with Biola senior student Madeleine Prater, called Generation Z and the COVID-19 Global Crisis. I am also preparing to work on my dissertation on the topic of generational differences.
What is your favorite thing about Biola?
I get the opportunity to start all my classes, every semester, helping students understand who they are in Christ, first. Understanding their identity in Christ is foundational, especially for business students. The workplace often places profit over purpose and people, so my students need to learn who the real CEO is — Jesus — and acquire tools and knowledge that will keep them God-centered.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I am a Star Wars fanatic. In my free time, I collect action figures, books, and other Star Wars collectibles. My other hobby is fishing. There is no better way to recharge than to be fishing in a little cove at sunrise with the family!
Learn more and apply to the Crowell School of Business.