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Eye on Alumni Interview: Patricia Gómez-González '09

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This alum from one of the first cohorts of Barcelona GSE masters students went on to obtain her PhD in Economics from MIT and now works as a research economist at the Bank of Spain in Madrid.

Describe your career path since graduating from the Barcelona GSE.

After graduating from the master program in July 2009, I started the PhD program at MIT in September. My areas of specialization were Macroeconomics and International Economics, a choice that I had very much taken already during my years as an undergraduate at UPF and especially during the master program at the Barcelona GSE. I wrote my thesis on International Economics with a special emphasis on sovereign debt and its interaction with financial markets. I went to the job market for PhD candidtes in January 2014 and interviewed with the Bank of Spain. After giving a research seminar at the Bank and holding several interviews there, I was offered a position as a research economist in the Economic Analysis and Forecasting Department. As you probably can guess, I accepted the offer and have been working there since September 2014.

What has been the most memorable project at the Bank so far?

In the beginning of this year I contributed to the Annual Report of the Bank of Spain (“Informe Anual” in Spanish) with a box about the macroeconomic effects for the Spanish economy of the low oil prices during the second half of 2014. It required a lot of teamwork, and I learned a lot from the models used at the Bank and from the previous research on the topic. Also, the Annual Report is discussed in front of the entire Economics, Statistics, and Research Directorate. Some of the conclusions of the box were somewhat surprising, so it generated some debate. Defending the work and the conclusions for the first time in front of the entire Directorate was enriching and memorable.

Is this what you pictured yourself doing after the master program?

Yes, more or less. During the master program I already knew I was going to pursue a PhD. I expected to be working in academia or in some international organization or central bank doing research after it.

The year at the Barcelona GSE influenced my career a lot. My research interests are close to many of the topics that researchers at the Barcelona GSE work on and related to several classes I took during the master. During the master program, I was introduced to many of the modeling techniques I currently use for my research. I am still in touch with several of my professors of that year and talk to some of them about my work.

What hints or advice would you give to current students who want to follow a career path like yours?

I would recommend learning as much as they can, attending classes and doing problem sets; but most importantly discussing economics issues with friends, talking to professors about research ideas, keeping a critical view of what they are taught in class, thinking about the match between models and the empirical evidence, being a research assistant if they can.

What do you miss most about the Barcelona GSE?

The collegiality and the great events that were organized! I feel we all learned a lot and worked hard. There was a lot of teamwork and interesting discussions. I remember learning a lot from the professors and from great questions that my peers had. Then, of course, on the weekends or after work we would get together for a beer by the Barceloneta, or throw a party in someone’s place. It felt like everyone was a big family enjoying their single year in a great city like Barcelona!

Are you able to keep in touch with your classmates from the master?

As a matter of fact, I keep in touch with several of my classmates that year, but none of them live in Madrid. The flipside of that is that I have friends all over the world: Florence, Vienna, Paris, Barcelona, California, New Haven, Australia…


Interview conducted in May 2015.

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