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Eye on Alumni Interview: José Plata Puyana, Competition '12

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This antitrust lawyer entered the Master's with no quantitative background. He graduated with the analytical tools that set him up for a career in regulatory agencies and eventually his own consulting firm. 

Describe your career path before and after the Barcelona GSE.

After more than five years working in Colombia for different law firms, where I produced non-compliance reports and litigated competition law cases before administrative authorities and judges, I decided to pursue postgraduate education at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. The Master's Program in Competition and Market Regulation was my first choice. Pursuing this path was not easy considering that my background was legal and not quantitative, but in order to catch up I took courses in Colombia on Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Mathematics, Statistics and Econometrics before applying to the Barcelona GSE.

After graduating from the Barcelona GSE, I supplemented my studies with a Master of Laws at Georgetown University. At Georgetown, I focused my education in energy trading and US antitrust. Then, I returned to Colombia to work for the government. For five years, I had the chance to work at the Colombian Antitrust Authority as Director of the Competition Advocacy Team, where I designed quantitative tools to monitor antitrust compliance in power generation companies.

Later on, I was appoint Deputy Superintendent of Energy and Gas at the Colombian Superintendence of Public Utilities, where I was the enforcer of energy regulation and participated actively in the debates held within the Colombian regulator to update the power and gas wholesale markets about the latest trends.   

The bundle of law, economics and quantitative analysis that I assembled at Barcelona GSE enabled me perform wonderfully and to lead a multidisciplinary team of more than 100 people including engineers, accountants, finance experts, economists and lawyers in a way that could only be possible with the tools I acquired during the Master's Program in Competition and Market Regulation.

Tell us about your most memorable project or moment so far.

After accumulating state-of-the-art education and experience in private law firms and the government, I decided to move forward and associated with a finance expert in order to create my own consulting firm. MarkUp Consultores is the name of my entrepreneurship project. We provide specialized services involving law, economics and finance in energy regulation and antitrust.

I started by own business a year ago, and during my time at MarkUp Consultores I have had the chance to perform as a Consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on energy market reform, advise foreign Independent Power Producers that have invested in Colombia to develop and execute renewable energy projects on a large scale, and render services to market players in the financial sector to develop exchange markets in the electricity market.

Another interesting side of MarkUp Consultores has been the one related to assisting clients in expert testimonies before courts involving antitrust and quantification of damages.

Which courses, projects, or experiences during the Master's prepared you for where you find yourself today?

During the Master at Barcelona GSE, I gained substantial training in economics of competition and market regulation, as well as quantitative methods to assess market power and regulate to mitigate it. Such quantitative knowledge enabled me to understand better how to apply the regulation and how to monitor its compliance during my time as a public servant and nowadays as a consultant.

The following is the list of courses that provided me with the set of tools that I have applied the most during my professional career: Economics of Competition Policy, Economics of Market Regulation, Quantitative Analysis of Markets and Firm Conduct and Quantitative Methods of Market Regulation.

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

I wish to invite lawyers who practice competition law to supplement their legal knowledge with economics and quantitative tools. Completing the Master in Competition and Market Regulation implies an additional effort for these students who lack a quantitative background, but my experience shows not only that it is doable but also that is a rewarding experience when a competition law practitioner gets to identify that he or she understands the best of both worlds: economics and law.

How do you stay connected with classmates or alumni in your city?

After returning to Colombia I have been impressed by Barcelona GSE Alumni appointed at high rank government positions, such as: Advisor to the head of the Colombian Antitrust Authority, Commissioner at the Water and Basic Sanitation Regulatory Commission and Viceminister of Regional Development and Public Finance. That networking of Barcelona GSE alumni holding positions at the Government enabled me to perform better during my time as public servant.

Moreover, the official Barcelona GSE Alumni Network has been active in Bogotá where I currently live. Attending get-together events has been another means to stay connected with alumni.

networking in Bogota
Barcelona GSE Alumni get-together in Bogotá, May 2019

Connect with José on LinkedIn

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