This is the story of how my mentors played a pivotal role in shaping my career. As anyone, I cannot say that I am entirely self-made, I attribute my success to a combination of luck, perseverance, and, most importantly, a supportive network of mentors.

Hailing from León, Spain, I attended my local university and graduated with a degree in Economics. During my time there, I worked as a tennis coach for children and teenagers over the weekends. Upon nearing the end of my degree, I found myself without a clear path forward. With the need to save up some funds, I planned on increasing my hours as a tennis coach and attempting to travel abroad.

However, fate intervened in the form of my Microeconomics teacher, Carlos Arias, whom I bumped into one Friday evening while still waiting for my exam results. Carlos suggested that I enroll in a newly-created Master’s program in Economic Analysis and Game Theory in the University of Oviedo, as well as offering me a scholarship to work as a research assistant. Throughout my time working in the department, I received ample support from most of the senior staff, but it was Jose Baños, the Master’s coordinator, who left the greatest impact on my career.

Jose was incredibly supportive of me and my colleague, Manu. With the help of Rosa Aza, he secured a substantial budget from the Ministry of Public Works, enabling us to conduct research on transportation demand estimation. After a couple of years, he assisted me with the bureaucracy to obtain a 3-year scholarship to pursue a Ph.D.

Both my supervisors, Jose and Matias, were not only instrumental in their financial backing, but also served as excellent co-authors on our papers and offered invaluable guidance on my next steps.

In addition to these individuals, many others played crucial roles in the early stages of my career: Rosa Aza, Antonio Pinilla, Placido Rodriguez, Victor Fernandez, Piet Rietveld, Thomas de Graff, among others. Their generosity in sharing their experiences, knowledge, and advice with me directly impacted my growth as a professional.

As you can see from my story, my mentors played a vital role in shaping my career during crucial moments. That’s why I strongly believe in giving back and paying it forward by offering guidance to others. As such, I’m always open to speaking with strangers who may need support in their own career journeys. To make myself more available, I’ve established weekly Office hours where individuals can reach me with any questions or concerns they may have. Providing advice to those in need is something that I find both fulfilling and rewarding.