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Carlos León Rincón

Dr. Carlos León Rincón obtained his PhD on Monday, 23rd of February, 2015 at Tilburg University. His dissertation “Financial Stability from a Network Perspective” explores how financial networks’ analysis may help to better map financial systems, and to overcome some limitations of traditional approaches to financial stability. Ambitious and well organized, he managed to synchronize his role as Research & Development Manager at the Central Bank of Colombia and his long distance PhD research project.

"My ambitions are aimed at the never-ending task of producing more and better research related to the field I like: Finance."

Why did you decide to do your PhD at Tilburg University?

"The first time I decided to obtain my PhD was around 2009, when I was working as Junior Researcher at the Central Bank of Colombia (Banco de la República). However, because relocating my family was costly in personal and professional terms, I postponed such project.

A couple of years later, I found out about the PhD for Professionals Program at Tilburg University. It was the perfect opportunity to obtain my PhD without distressing my family with a problematic relocation. I decided to apply for the Program at the end of 2012. By April 2013 I had been accepted, and my research project had been approved."

You completed your PhD at Tilburg University all the way from Colombia. What were the challenges of this long distance PhD?

The main challenge for a long distance PhD is time management. As I kept my job as Research & Development Manager at the Central Bank, I had to organize my research agenda and my family time in such a way that I could dedicate about 20-30 hours per week to the PhD. The key was to be able to synchronize my research agenda at the Central Bank with my PhD research project; diminishing my sleep cycle about 2-3 hours per day in order to work at home also helped. The support of the Central Bank and of my family was most important for managing my time in an efficient manner.

My two supervisors, Prof. dr. Luc Renneboog and Prof. dr. Ron Berndsen, were well-aware of the challenge. They were rigorous when revising and correcting the articles. They were always ready to answer my e-mails and to have conferences (by phone or Skype) when needed. Besides, their expertise in the subject, along with their research and writing skills, greatly contributed to the quality of my research.

What has your career been like?

"I finished in 1998 my Finance and Internationals Relations undergraduate degree from Universidad Externado de Colombia. Afterwards, while working at the Treasury Office of Bogotá, I was granted a partial scholarship to undertake an International Economics degree at Universidad Externado de Colombia. After obtaining the graduate degree I worked at the Ministry of Finance of Colombia, from 2001 to 2004. In 2004 I was granted the Joint Japan - World Bank Scholarship to undertake the Master of Science in Banking and Finance from HEC-Université de Lausanne (Switzerland). I returned to Colombia in 2005, and I began working at Banco de la República, the Central Bank of Colombia. I have been appointed to several positions, including Junior Researcher for the Foreign Reserves Department and for the Operations and Market Development Department. In 2010 the Central Bank decided to create the Financial Market Oversight Department, and to appoint me as its Research & Development Manager, which is the position I currently hold. Most of the time I have also worked as part-time assistant professor and professor at undergraduate and graduate level at Universidad Externado de Colombia and Universidad del Rosario, lecturing about International Economics and Matlab programming."

What are your ambitions?

"In my case the main goal of obtaining a PhD is to enhance my research abilities. Therefore, my ambitions are aimed at the never-ending task of producing more and better research related to the field I like: Finance. I have already attained a couple of publications in good journals and books, and I aim at making my research influential for the related literature. Moreover, I expect to continue my academic career by part-time lecturing at undergraduate and graduate level."

What role did Tilburg University play in your life and career?

"My PhD at Tilburg University has affected my career in a positive and decisive manner. The new research abilities I have gained during the Ph.D. program have allowed me to take my articles to a new level, which may be easily verified by checking the journals and books that accepted them for publication.
Moreover, obtaining the Ph.D. from a top-ranked university, with a long tradition in research in Finance, is also a valuable asset. I am certain that my Ph.D. degree and my enhanced research abilities will open new opportunities in terms of scientific research and academic reputation."

Will Tilburg University still play a role in your live after obtaining your PhD?

"The link with Tilburg University remains strong. Not only because I made good friends and colleagues with my supervisors and Ph.D. committee members, but also because the University decided to offer me a CentER Extramural Fellow position to keep on interacting with Faculty’s members while contributing with new research. Additionally, as the University organizes several research conferences that fit my interests, I am certain that I will try to participate as much as I can in the corresponding forthcoming call for papers."