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University of Gothenburg

Meet Zelalem Abay

He has a deep interest in sustainable finance and likes that doctoral students are entitled to all social benefits as any other employees at the university. Meet Zelalem Abay, one of the doctoral students at the Department of Business Administration.

Can you tell a little about yourself?
- I have a master’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Karlstad University, Sweden. I was working as a lecturer in Ethiopia for about seven years before I came to Sweden to study.

What is your research about and what made you interested in that topic?
- To put it in a simplified way, my research deals with examining the economic implications of Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) disclosure, performance and its assurance. Since recently, issues related to sustainability in general and sustainable finance in particular are becoming increasingly an important topic that attracts attention from government, investors and academics, among the many. One of the integral parts of sustainable finance is ESG and deciding to study the topic was in line to my deep interest in sustainable finance as well as the research stream has a huge research potential that academicians are, at least partly, looking for.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Gothenburg? 
- During my two year master’s degree study time in Sweden, I got the opportunity to understand and experience the educational system of universities in Sweden which I found very student centric and more interactive with the professors. More importantly, the School of Business, Economics and Law is among the best Schools both in Sweden and in the region. Hence, deciding to apply for a PhD study in Sweden and particularly at such prestigious school in the University was pretty easy.

What is life like as a doctoral student?
- It is obvious that the PhD education needs more concentration and thus needs more time for both the courses and the thesis. There are always ups and downs in the PhD process but what matters more is the time, discipline and effort you put in.

What are the advantages of being a doctoral student in Sweden?
- PhD students are considered as employees of the University and you are entitled to all social benefits as any other employees. I think this is the unique and most important advantage of being a PhD student in Sweden.

What do you like about Gothenburg? Favorite places?
- The sociable and easy-going nature of Göteborgare (people living in Gothenburg) is the most I like from Gothenburg. Besides, Gothenburg is close to nature and home to museums with easily accessible transportation and I also like the cozy cafés, restaurants and bars in the city.