Name: Cristina Hidalgo
When, where & what did you study in Sweden: I attended the IT, Management and Innovation master´s program at Jönkoping International Business School, Jönkoping University from 2013 to 2015.
Where are you now? After finishing my studies in Sweden, I came back to Panama and started to work as a Senior Consultant in the Financial Services Risk & Regulatory Advisory at Ernst and Young (EY). The firm headquarter division is currently located in Panama City and serves Central America, Dominican Republic and the English speaking Caribbean. My works takes me to travel regionally in order to perform internal audit, risk management, internal control and anti-money laundering projects within financial institutions.
What’s your plan now? As a woman in business and technology, I always wanted to apply the knowledge gained in school in a real-life setting. The technological skills that I acquired during my masters studies helped me to enter the business IT management consulting field, by being able to provide innovative ideas and figuring out new solutions in the midst of an increasing regulated business world. I am currently preparing to take the exam in order to become a certified anti-money laundering specialist and help organizations to combat terrorism financing and tax evasion.
Please describe what impact the SI scholarship has had on your life: While studying in Sweden, I was able to excel academically and at the same time I learnt life-skills that helped me build my character in tremendous ways. I would not be the person I am today had I not been blessed with an SI scholarship. My Swedish host family helped me adapt to life in Sweden and I cherish them in my heart. One of the most memorable moments I had while in Sweden was when my program director gave me the news that I have been selected to receive the Global Swede Award for Jonkoping University. Being able to receive this award and meet the Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation had a profound impact in my life.
Tell us about your experience as an SI Alumna: I believe the multicultural environment that I found by being a scholarship holder prepared me to the business setting, in which I now thrive. As an SI alumna, I am always willing to contribute to inform people about Sweden and the quality of its people. When professionals in the business sector get to know I had the opportunity to complete my education in Sweden, it makes a deep impression on them. I want to continue to apply the values I learn in Sweden in my day to day activities. As an SI alumna and a professional in the financial sector, I have noticed there has been a tremendous increase on the demand for accountability and regulation within the industry and I hope that with the education and expertise acquired, I can continue to strengthen Panama financial system.
What are you hopes for the SI Alumni Network for the future? I have made long-lasting friendships thanks to the SI Alumni Network, where I hope to contribute in any possible way I can. I wish I could get to meet more SI Alumni in my region so that we can share our experiences from Sweden with people that have not had the opportunity to study there. Since there are few SI alumni in Central America, my plan for this year is to consolidate a Sweden Alumni Network in my country, together with students from Panama that attended World Maritime University (Malmö). I hope that this could serve as an example so that other SI Alumni in the region can form their own networks.