#Talk 3: Non academic careers
Non-academic careers: Doctoral students in conversation - Part 3
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 while working on their dissertation. Tabea Koepp talked to us about her work for the organisational consultancy "Metaplan".
Impressions of Tabea’s working place Photo: Tabea Koepp
Tabea, you are working forMetaplan. Where are you working at exactly?
Tabea Koepp: Metaplan is a consulting agency that offers Structure & Strategy Consulting on the one hand and advises executives of companies on the other hand. On the other hand, there is the Leadership & Organization Academy with a wide range of seminars and training courses for managers and consultants. I have already worked in both areas, but I am currently more strongly employed in the Academy. Because that can be better combined with a doctorate at the same time.
In structural and strategy consulting, you have to be relatively spontaneous and available. That's not possible in a small position like the one I have now. At the Academy, I can also work with a smaller proportion of the staff. There, for example, it is my job to help develop new seminar content, such as a module on "Organizational Culture". The aim of this work is to develop sociological concepts that can be intuitively applied by practitioners.
What does your work - status: now - look like?
Tabea Koepp: When developing seminar contents, for example, I first consider together with my colleagues which contents are important. Then I research and develop the content and prepare the poster sets. Metaplan always works with a poster presentation method they invented: the Metaplan method. Occasionally I am also a speaker for these modules.
The picture shows a seminar structure with the Metaplan method. Typical for this is the visualization by means of large-format posters. On the right side of the picture you can see the corresponding partitions and materials. Photo: Tabea Koepp
What are the main tasks you have at work?
Tabea Koepp: At the moment I have two main tasks. On the one hand I'm in charge of the editorial side of Metaplan's customer magazine: the "Versus". The consultants publish texts there that are sociologically informed and at the same time relevant to practice. I edit these texts and work together with a graphic designer on the layout. I also write shorter texts myself. On the other hand, I am in charge of project management for a small English-language self-publishing publishing house that I founded for Metaplan: "Organizational Dialogue Press". Some of our consultants write books in German. I coordinate all the steps on the way from the German manuscript to the finished English book, e.g. translation, editing, typesetting or the development of a new book cover. These are tasks that I am now taking on for Metaplan in addition to my doctorate and my position here at the university. übernehme.
What knowledge and skills do you bring to your work as a sociologist?
Tabea Koepp: Dadurch, dass Metaplan eine dezidiert soziologisch arbeitende Beratung ist, ist mein Fachwissen eine Kernkompetenz. Das Qualifizierungsprogramm der Academy ist zu einem guten Teil im Prinzip eine anwendungsorientierte Einführung in Organisationssoziologie für Praktiker*innen – dort geht es um zentrale soziologische Konzepte wie etwa die „Entscheidungsprämissen“ nach Niklas Luhmann. In den Beratungsprojekten sprechen wir vielleicht nicht von „Entscheidungsprämissen“, sondern übersetzen das in die Sprache der Welt, in der wir uns jeweils bewegen. Wir sagen dann zum Beispiel „robuste Regeln“ – nutzen aber unser analytisches Know How über die Funktionsweise organisationaler Strukturen, um den Anliegen unserer Kund*innen auf die Spur zu kommen.
What tips do you have for colleagues who are looking to get started in your industry?
Tabea Koepp: In any case: do an internship. If you come from university and have no work experience outside of science, in principle you have no other option for starting a career. Some of the interns at Metaplan already have a doctorate. And of course it is extremely useful to gain work experience outside the university and to work in an organisation - no matter what kind. Even if you've only taken on small temporary jobs: For example, you know how meetings work and have practical work experience in organisations. If you want to start at Metaplan not as an intern but as a consultant, you have to have leadership experience in at least one company and be able to work in at least two languages.
Tabea, thanks for talking!
You can find the complete interview as PDF (german) here:
Further information on the project "Non-academic careers"