Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Erika Arévalo, I am from Barranquilla, a Caribbean city in Colombia where is hot and sunny almost all the year. Swedish winter and its darkness has been challenging, but getting to experience the seasonal changes and how they affect people’s behaviors (including my own) or knowing Swedish food tradition according to the season, is quite interesting and fun.
How did you decide to become a doctoral student? And why did you decide to do it at JIBS?
I hold a B.A degree in Psychology and MSc. Degree in Business Administration. Before becoming a JIBSer, I worked for almost 4 years as an instructor within the department of marketing and international relations, at the Business School of Universidad Del Norte (Barranquilla, Colombia), which is one of JIBS’ partner universities in South America. That is the main reason why I am here. Since early in my bachelor studies I have been interested in academia. I pursued opportunities as a bachelor student that led me to being awarded a scholarship that allowed me to study the Master and then become an instructor at my Alma Mater. Becoming a doctoral student was a natural transition from that, not only as a career plan, but also as something close to my heart. Because of that interest, I was awarded a grant for doctoral studies by the Colombian Government.
I knew about JIBS because one of my colleagues back at Universidad del Norte told me about the opportunities to enroll in the PhD program. She had visited JIBS as a part of a teaching exchange program, so I took her comments and advise on JIBS and got in contact with Tomas Müllern, who invited me to come to Jönköping as he wanted to show me what JIBS is about, and to get a chance to get to know the people from his department. It’s far from home, so coming to Sweden was a big decision for me. Fortunately I had the chance to know the university, the people and the city; I really enjoyed that short visit and it wasn't hard for me to decide to apply to the program after that.
What are your main research interests?
My research interests are Consumer Behavior and Branding. Currently I am working in my research proposal which is focus on Place Branding. Place branding is mostly conceived as a top-down process and mainly focused to appeal external markets (i.e. tourists or investors), while little attention is given to the residents of the place, which are the ones that will "live inside the brand". I want to address that issue in my study, the motivation of my research is to understand how local stakeholders, such as residents, are affected by branding practices of the city or country they inhabit; and how their attachment to a place empowers them to organically engage in a branding process of that place.
What is the best thing with working at JIBS?
The camaraderie and the opportunity to meet people from different parts of the world, learn from them in an open work environment, is what I value most about my experience at JIBS.