Non-academic careers: Doctoral students in conversation - Part 1
There are many ways out of the BGHS. But where do postdoctoral paths lead? In the summer semester, we talk to doctoral students who are already gaining professional experience outside the university during their time at the BGHS. Susanne Schultz spoke to us about her work for the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
In conversation: Ulf Ortmann (project coordinator) and Susanne Schultz (doctoral student in sociology) Photo: Hannah Grüneberg
Susanne, where do you work at the Bertelsmann Stiftung now?
Susanne Schultz: I'm in the Integration and Education program area. I'm doing research on "Migration Partnerships and Africa" with two young scientists who are working with me. The results will be incorporated into the development of a follow-up project within the foundation.
What does your work - status: now - look like?
Susanne Schultz: I have been working for the Foundation since November 2018 and, for example, organised a technical discussion on migration partnerships last month: with academics as well as with representatives from civil society and political institutions. The two researchers are currently conducting research on migration partnerships, and on this basis I will then write an internal paper that will give recommendations on how the Foundation can take action on this topic, for example: Should we promote education systems on the ground? Or support specific educational migration? This project application process: these are exciting and open discussions.
What are the main tasks you have at work?
Susanne Schultz: In addition to my dissertation for the Foundation, I work two days in Gütersloh and a few hours a week from home. During this time, in addition to being responsible for the project development process, I am currently a participant in an introductory program for new Foundation employees. All departments introduce themselves there. Of course, I also have internal meetings, such as with the responsible board member. For me, this is a new world into which I enter: with my own literature, with my own language and with my own actors who are all active in the field between science and political consulting.
Impressions of the workplace Photo: Susanne Schultz
What knowledge and skills do you bring to your work as a social scientist?
Susanne Schultz: On the one hand, this is knowledge of content and, on the other hand, methodological knowledge that I bring back from university in order, for example, to design a study. I am happy to see that I can also use the knowledge I have acquired over the years in this work - and that it is highly appreciated. And I try to integrate my contacts from science into my work.
What tips do you have for colleagues who are looking to get started in your industry?
Susanne Schultz: It certainly makes sense to gain practical experience. But it's also possible to stay in a foundation if you've only worked at university before. In this case, it makes sense to demonstrate various activities at the interface with politics: To have organised workshops in which politicians were involved, or to have published in places other than scientific journals. Of course, the most important thing is to have specific knowledge for the position.
Susanne, thank you very much for the interview!
You can find the complete interview as PDF here (english version soon available):
Further information on the project "Non-academic career":