Vés enrere Research assistant: l'experiència d'Iker Caballero

Research assistant: l'experiència d'Iker Caballero



Iker Caballero, estudiant d'economia, ens explica en anglès en què consiteix ser un Research Assistant, i comparteix què li va aportar treballar a la Barcelona School of Economics.

During your undergraduate studies, you might had read many research papers focusing on different topics related to many of the concepts and theory reviewed in the lectures. However, did you know that many researchers rely on undergraduate students to help them with their projects? Even though they do not have as much experience as a PhD or Master’s student, professors and researchers are fond of giving opportunities to these undergraduate students so they can have a first contact with academic research. This type of positions are not very known inside the student community, but they can give you huge benefits for your future career, maybe more than working in a medium size firm.

My name is Iker Caballero, I am a fourth-year Economics student, and I’ve been working as a Research Assistant in the Barcelona School of Economics for Dr Björn Richter (Assistant Professor of Finance in UPF and affiliate researcher for BSE) and Dr Lukas Diebold (University of Mannheim) in their newest research paper for the last term. I want to briefly explain why these opportunities are very valuable and what was my experience.

I was looking for an opportunity like this for quite a long time, but I finally got it. At first, I was afraid of not having the appropriate level and being a burden for the project, as I am an undergraduate student with not that much experience in research projects. Even though, all of my fear vanished when I started working with Björn and Lukas.

Of course, researchers won’t give you a very hard task because of your current educational background, but they give you specific tasks and responsibilities that are quite time-demanding (so you can help them go faster). Because they knew I was new to this world, they did teach me a lot of techniques and methodologies to deal with what I had to do, from what to look for on the literature to how to deal with large databases in Stata, so do not worry about having the appropriate level or not: you will get it eventually.

The work environment was the best a student can ask for: a flexible schedule with kind and gentle coworkers. Björn and Lukas knew that I do study a lot, and that I would be doing an exchange program in the UK (apart from having my own personal responsibilities), so they let my work schedule be more flexible so I could do everything. Not every job can offer such a great advantage because of its nature, and not many employers would understand students’ responsibilities.

Due to the fast-learning environment (gaining technical skills) and the interest and commitment you have to show, these kinds of positions are highly valued for academic institutions. So, if you want to study a Master’s degree or a PhD in any university, a position like this one can increase your chances of being admitted. And even if you don’t want to pursue further studies, you gain such knowledge in programming tools and databases that it will also be attractive for the industry.

To sum up, my experience as a Research Assistant was incredible and it will help me a lot during my whole career. Therefore, seek and do not miss these opportunities, as many researchers are willing to give them and they will benefit you even more that other job positions out there.



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