A day with … Dr Desislava Vladimirova, Research Forecasts

In this interview, Dr Desislava Vladimirova gives us an insight into her path from working student to permanent doctoral candidate at Quoniam and tells us what makes working in research so exciting.

What do you like most about working at Quoniam?

In addition to the many interesting projects, I am particularly inspired by the structure of the team. Our greatest asset is our (cognitive) diversity. I don’t just mean the personal characteristics, but also the differences in terms of professional expertise. Everyone has different specialisations and brings different experiences, which is super complementary. You can learn a lot from each other and create added value from it. Since I started as a working student in January 2019, my learning curve has gone steeply upwards. And that continues because there is always new input from colleagues.

What does a typical day look like for you?

In Research, every day is different. We have to organise ourselves for the most part. Our work is characterised by ideas – ideas come and go, and when they are there, we have to take the time to test them in a concentrated way. That’s why phases for focused, undisturbed work are extremely important in Research. What is repeated every day, however, is the Morning Meeting in the department and the Research Meeting, in which we discuss current topics and problems and solve them together. After that, everyone organises the agenda for the day independently. Personally, I always make a note of what is the minimum and what is the maximum of what I want to achieve. Since I always work on at least two projects in parallel, it never gets boring.

What is your highlight in the Quoniam team so far?

When I was a working student and was able to carry out my first own Research project on the topic of fallen angels. Fallen angels are bonds that are downgraded to a lower rating, which can be used to exploit potential returns. Being entrusted with a research project on this was a huge responsibility. It was a great feeling that my colleagues put their trust in me that I would manage it and do it well. When I then successfully completed my first small research, it was a strong boost for me. After finishing my Master’s degree, I have now been working 50% full-time at Quoniam since January 2021 and am writing my dissertation at TU Darmstadt on the side.

Which project is keeping you most busy at the moment?

Definitely the research for my dissertation, which takes up at least 80 percent of my week. I’m working on fixed income factor investing in emerging markets. This fits well because at Quoniam we are currently examining whether we can create a fixed income product with an emerging markets investment universe that can generate long-term added value. This is a topic that still has a lot of question marks, as there hasn’t been that much research on it yet. Emerging markets strategies are countless in the equity space, but rather fewer in the bond space. This is because the fixed income asset class is much more complex and has more special features, especially in emerging markets. I would like to capture these special features with my research and examine potential risks in the process.

When you are not working for Quoniam, what do you like to do?

At the moment, I am mainly busy with research for my dissertation. If there is still time besides work and my dissertation, I like to go running, climbing and hiking. I love those positive adrenaline rushes you get when you’ve accomplished something at work, in research or even in your private life – a long run or a challenging hike, for example.

Thank you very much for the interview and the great insights.