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Eye on Alumni: Marta Guasch '17

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Marta Guasch '17 (International Trade, Finance, and Development) is a Research Assistant in the Macroeconomics & Growth Department of The World Bank. When she applied for the Master's, she was not sure about the PhD, but the ITFD program equipped her with "the skills and knowledge necessary, as well as critical thinking," and now she has been accepted to pursue a PhD in Economics at LSE.

How was your experience at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics?

My year at Barcelona Graduate School of Economics was definitely very challenging but exciting. The best part of my experience at the school was the community built with my classmates. The environment was very stimulating and always collaborative, which made the difficulty of the program and the long times in the library easier to overcome. The school really incentivized this atmosphere, organizing many activities and events to build a good relationship among students, and to promote a healthy balance between the intense course work and the social life.

The Master's in International Trade, Finance, and Development is, without a doubt, very demanding, but the relevance of the materials as well as the outstanding faculty really inspired me. The professors were very accessible, always willing to solve my questions and to provide guidance.

Why did you choose to study in the ITFD Program at the Barcelona GSE?

The ITFD program really overcame my expectations. It is a very rigorous and demanding program, which places a huge emphasis on the interaction between theory and empirical work. I decided to study this master because I wanted to work on economic research, but I was not sure about the PhD, and it certainly equipped me with the skills and knowledge necessary, as well as with the critical thinking that is crucial in this profession. My experience at Barcelona GSE really helped me ensure I wanted to pursue a career in the research field.

For me, one of the advantages of the ITFD program is the large range of elective courses available. This allows you to specialize in areas you already are interested in, but also to discover new topics that may change your current preferences. For instance, when I joined the masters’ I wanted to specialize in international trade, but, once in the program, I discovered my interest in macro-finance, which is my current area of research.

After completing the Master's Degree, you have worked in research positions for different institutions. Could you learn from researchers while you were studying at the Barcelona GSE?

The lecturers are active researchers whose areas of investigation are completely related with the course. Therefore, they have a deep knowledge on the most updated strand of literature and on the current academic discussions. They usually provided examples of the topics covered in class using their own research, which was very helpful when it comes to the application of the different theories learnt.

The World Bank is where you have been working since 2018. How is your day-to-day in the office?

As a research analyst at the Macroeconomics and Growth Department of the Developing Research Group of the World Bank, I worked on different academic papers and policy reports on macroeconomics and international finance. My day-to-day responsibilities included gathering and manipulating very large datasets, performing econometric estimations, analyzing and explaining outputs and results, preparing literature reviews, generating new ideas, writing summaries of the work, and helping prepare academic papers for top-tier finance and economic journals. My positions at the World Bank required me the regular application of many concepts learned during my Master's, from different econometric techniques to economic theories used to support the papers. I also learnt in the ITFD master program how to use the statistical softwares that are fundamental for this work.

Now you have been accepted to the PhD in Economics at LSE. Did the ITFD Program prepare you well to work at The World Bank and to apply for the PhD?

There is no doubt ITFD has had a huge repercussion on my professional and personal life. The program not only prepared me academically to work as a researcher, but it also offered me career paths that I could have never dreamed of. The job application for the research position at CaixaBank Research was exclusively offered in the Barcelona GSE Career Services, and I was strongly recommended by some professors for the position at the World Bank. The excellence and reputation of the program is well-known in the academic world. For instance, all research assistants in my unit at the World Bank were Barcelona GSE alumni who studied the ITFD program.

I am certain that ITFD provided me with the strong theoretical preparation and intellectual rigor necessary to develop a career in research, as well as for applying for PhD programs.

Connect with Marta on LinkedIn

Learn more about the International Trade, Finance, and Development Program