Class of 2023

Photo of Alejandra  Lelo de Larrea Ibarra

Alejandra Lelo de Larrea Ibarra

Graduate StudentEmail Alejandra Lelo de Larrea Ibarra

Alejandra graduated with the Highest Honors from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in 2015 after simultaneously studying a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and a B.S. in Actuarial Science. At ITAM she received rigorous training in statistics, probability, and optimization where she was fascinated by how models and estimations can be applied to solve social issues. After graduating she accepted the invitation to work for Banco de México (BM), Mexico’s central bank. Working at BM, Alejandra developed a series of statistical and econometrical models to help inform the decision-making process of the Board of Governors and the Monetary Policy Committee and for research purposes. In doing so, she developed a genuine interest in topics such as forecasting, time series, economics, and finance. As a result, for her undergraduate thesis, she developed a sophisticated statistical model of the term structure of interest rates in Mexico based on affine models and the Kalman filter. This work was published as a BM’s working paper and won three research awards. Her experience at BM deepened her curiosity and developed her passion for data analysis and programming, leading her to enroll in the M.S. in Data Science at ITAM while still working full-time at BM. She graduated in 2019 with the Highest Honors and found this master’s program an eye-opening experience that allowed her to propose ideas on how to improve current analysis and also to come up with new independent projects. She has spent the last few years analyzing BM’s and other central banks’ communication strategies by applying text-mining techniques. To this end, she developed an R package to extract, clean, and analyze monetary press releases and minutes from the leading central banks, which enabled the creation of a novel database on central bank communications that has expanded the economic research in her division. She is now in charge of all the projects related to CB’s communication and had the rewarding experience of presenting, along with her team, a technical report on this topic to the Governing Board, which was part of the process that led to important changes in BM’s communication strategy. Additionally, her master’s thesis analyzing the relationship between central bank communication and the implementation of monetary policy has also won a research award. Alejandra is thrilled to continue her education with Northwestern University’s MSiA* program in 2022. Through this program, she wants to hone her skills by deepening her knowledge in modern and scalable computational tools, and by learning the state-of-the-art on how to properly apply problem-solving strategies with a business perspective. After graduating she wants to develop a career in data science by combining her quantitative and computational skills with her research experience to help organizations to implement data-driven solutions that have a positive impact on the business and to improve social welfare. Outside of academics, Alejandra is a semi-professional dancer of Salsa Cubana and has been part of different ballroom teams. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and watching action movies. She also loves animals, especially dogs, and would like to have a dog shelter one day.

*later renamed MS in Machine Learning and Data Science