Natalia promised herself to return to Gothenburg for her Master's degree
Natalia Salazar Bustamante from Mexico studied an exchange semester in Gothenburg and came back to study Economics for her Master’s degree. She has now returned to Mexico to work as a modeling analyst and has recently been elected to the board of the Alumni Mexico Sweden (AMS) association.
You first did an exchange semester in Gothenburg in 2016 and then decided to come back for your master’s in 2019. Can you tell us more about what made you come back?
I was mesmerized by how Gothenburg felt like a cosy student town with buildings spread across town. Gothenburg has a lot to offer so there was a lot to discover, for me it was a lot of fun to go out to the woods and be no more than 30 minutes from my apartment.
In particular, the part that captivated me the most is how the education is taught, Swedish students learn through their research and the available material for each lesson. In Mexico, we rely on what the teacher gives and nothing else, so during my exchange, it helped me to do more research on every topic I studied.
I must say that at the end of my exchange semester in 2017 I was in love with both the School and Gothenburg in general. I had professors that taught me a lot, the HHGS student union made me feel at home, and for every doubt, I had there was guidance from school and a lot of friends. But I felt like my experience was over very quickly and I discovered there were international Master’s programmes in Business and Economics.
I remember landing in Mexico in 2017 and promising myself to work and save money to go back and study for my master's degree. I did a lot of research on the Economics programme and I liked the fact that I could choose what to study because the programme has elective courses.
Long story short, I worked at KPMG for 2 years which allowed me to have money for all the steps (exams, visa, plane) and, I received a scholarship and funding from the Central Bank of Mexico. I am unbelievably happy that I was accepted and could accomplish my dream.
What subject did you find most interesting and why?
Development Economics! I chose Economics as my degree to in some way along my professional career contribute to decreasing poverty in Mexico. In this subject, we learned several theories and arguments that economists had made over the years, along with cases that have used these theories to check their efficiency. Through this lens, I could think of different scientific studies that can be done in Mexico to aid development.
Were you in any other extracurricular activities?
Yes, I was in the Graduate Student Association as the CFO in 2021 and also worked with the communication department at the University of Gothenburg to promote the University. I made a lot of good friends and I miss them a lot.
Now you are back in Mexico working as a modeling analyst at Nielsen, what is that like?
We develop statistical models provided by clients to understand where to allocate resources. Let’s say a company invested in Facebook, TV, Ads, and print, our job is to develop a regression that captures where is the best place to invest given the volume of sales or income. I recently started there but so far, I am happy working with other economists in my area.
What is Alumni Mexico Sweden?
AMS is a network of alumni certified by Svenska Institutet, whose aim is to promote initiatives that link Mexico and Sweden. The board comprises alumni who studied at a Swedish University for at least one term. We are four main board members working with the Swedish Embassy to foster said link.
What do you hope to achieve with the AMS?
I would like to organize activities that connect Sweden to Mexico because we have a lot of similarities as a society. Also, share what I learned in Sweden about traditions, sustainability, and way of life).
Why do you think it is important for alumni to have these kinds of networks?
When I came back from Sweden in 2022, I felt different. My experiences in Gothenburg changed me. So, even when I was home something was missing. One day, the Swedish embassy organized a networking event for alumni and that is where I found AMS. After that day I met so many alumni that had somewhat the same experiences and feelings about coming home. This is why I think alumni networks not only provide a professional network space but also a place where people that have similar experiences can gather and share memories. My personal goal is to share with other presumptive students the love that I developed for Sweden when I went in 2016.
Would you come back to Gothenburg a third time for a Ph.D.?