A few words with Juan Diaz

Could you introduce yourself briefly? Tell us a few things about your background, studies, and general interests.

I was born and raised in Colombia but moved to the United States upon finishing High School. I have a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in economics. I also hold master’s degrees in international migration and business administration from Swedish and American universities respectively. My professional background comprises experience in business strategy, management, international business, project management, policy research and government consulting, as well as passion and interest for rural economic development. Finally, I love to travel, to meet and interact with people from diverse backgrounds, and I am a devoted triathlete and avid runner.  

How was your moving to your new home? How are things going for you in your new place? Feel free to share with us your first experiences as an Early Career Researcher (surprises, challenges, anything you consider important).

My relocation from the U.S. to France was relatively smooth. I am very pleased with the studio apartment I rented, and the location could have not been better. I reside in a clean and quiet neighborhood surrounded by nice restaurants and shops; and I can walk to nearby sports centers and to an Olympic size pool. Also, I can easily reach the Paris School of Business (PSB) & l’Ecole Polytechnique (l’X) via public transportation. Paris is an amazing city and I feel lucky to be here!   

How is your work going? Have you attended any sort of research activities?

Upon arriving to Paris, I soon met my CORAL colleague, Costantino, supervisor Ignasi, and was lucky to be part of the theoretical secondments of four additional CORAL PhD candidates (Francesca, Yue, Mikel, and Chen) at PSB. Joining the discussions during these secondment sessions was extremely beneficial for my own research, and a positive eye opener for someone who wants to stay in academia, which is my case. Moreover, I have already met the faculty and PhD staff at l’Ecole Polytechnique where research presentations are held every Monday. It is an impressive academic institution and I hope to maximize my time there during the PhD studies.    

Could you share with us some key insights/ “aha moments” from your work so far?

The biggest ‘aha’ moment so far was learning the key differences between outstanding (4 start) published articles from lower ranking ones in terms of theoretical contribution, format, and design. Also, gaining key insights about the expectations when it comes to providing a theoretical contribution and how to get started on this demanding, yet rewarding, enterprise called ‘research’.    

What do you expect from the upcoming Training School at Zeitz?

Firs of all, I am looking forward to meeting in person my fellow CORAL PhDs, as well as the supervisors and industry partners, for the first time since we started this project. Additionally, I expect to have fruitful interactions and discussions during the methodology workshops, to receive significant feedback on my research proposal, and learn about the progress of my colleagues.   

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 955907.