University of Gothenburg

Meet Imelda Taraj

She has always wanted to pursue a career in academia and thinks that moving to Sweden was one of the best decisions she has made so far. Meet Imelda Taraj, one of the doctoral students at the Department of Business Administration.

Can you tell about yourself?
- My name is Imelda and I come from Albania. I did my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance in Tirana and after I finished, I started working as an Auditor at KPMG Albania. I worked for five years with KPMG, where I grew as a professional in accounting and auditing. However, I always wanted to pursue a career in academia, therefore I decided to apply for a Master’s degree in Sweden. While moving to Sweden posed many challenges from a cultural perspective, I believe this was one of the best decisions that I made so far since it helped me grow in many different ways.  I was admitted to the master’s degree in Accounting and Financial Management in 2017 and after successfully completing my Master’s degree I applied for a PhD position at the Accounting section. Now, I am in the second year of the PhD program and I am enjoying learning more about research in my field and conducting my own research.

What is your research about and what made you interested in that topic?
- I am interested in Capital Market research in Accounting and more specifically, I study how information content of narrative accounting disclosures impacts stock prices. I use Natural Language Processing tools to measure characteristics of information content.  My curiosity about Capital Market research in Accounting started during my work as an auditor, where I was engaged primarily with the quality of financial reporting. As the next step in my education, I wanted to learn and study how information quality impacts the decision making of the intended users.  

What is life like as a doctoral student?
- Having been part of the University of Gothenburg for two years before I started my PhD program, the transition to a doctoral student was natural to me. I knew some of my new colleagues in our department and I was happy to become part of them. Also, it was very exciting to get to know my cohort, the new PhD students that started this journey at the same time with me. We became good friends in a short time and I am very grateful to be able share our success, fears, fikas, international lunches and so much more. As a doctoral student, I started the first year of the programme with attending mandatory PhD courses, which gave me a background on different fields and methods of research in Business Administration. Also, I used that time to think about my own research interests.

Now, during the second year, I am focusing on writing my research proposal, which I will later present in my Planning Seminar. Unfortunately, during this time, we have to work remotely due to the pandemic and this means that the social contact is reduced. However, becoming part of different doctoral student committees gave me the opportunity to widen my circle of peers, learn so much from their experience and organize online mingling events. I have enjoyed every step of this journey till now and while life as a doctoral student may offer many ups and downs, the continues support I have gotten from peers, supervisors and other colleagues has been indispensable and makes this experience worthwhile.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Gothenburg? 
- I chose to pursue my PhD at the University of Gothenburg, mainly because I was already familiar with the quality of education you get while studying at this university. Further, having discovered my research interest during my Master’s degree and having had invaluable and continues support and guidance from my master’s thesis supervisor, I wanted to continue this collaboration and develop my abilities in conducting research under her supervision. Another reason why I chose University of Gothenburg was because as a PhD student, you are encouraged to find and pursue your research interest, so you are not obliged to comply with a pre-set research topic. I believe, this helps you grow as a researcher because you become passionate about your work.

What are the advantages of being a doctoral student in Sweden?
- I believe one major advantage of being a doctoral student in Sweden is the fact that you have the status of an employee of the university and you have full health and social benefits. The working environment supports you financially and intellectually and that allows you to focus your efforts and time on your research project.

Another advantage is that Swedish universities are well connected with partner Universities worldwide, thus as a PhD student you have the opportunity to exchange experiences, knowledge and get to know like-minded PhD students with whom you could work with in the future. Another important advantage that I would like to mention is the encouragement you get to have a work-life balance. The university supports you financially to pursue sport’s activities, create mingling activities with other PhD students and overall, helps to create a social and healthy environment for the employees.

What do you like about Gothenburg? Favorite places?
- I liked Gothenburg since the first day I moved here for my Master’s degree. The city was perfect for me: not too big, not too small, not too calm and not too loud. As Swedish say, just lagom! The city gives a groovy and alternative feeling, with cozy cafes, small narrow streets, beautiful architecture, breathtaking forests and lakes, and with proximity to the islands and the sea. During these three years, this city has become home to me and I have found many places that I visit very often. Some of my favorite places in Gothenburg are: Delsjön, Liseberg, Skansen Krona, Archipelagoes of Gothenburg and forests, which luckily you will find in almost all the neighborhoods.