Portrayed alumni, PhDs and students
All articles are written by present or former students at Aalborg University.
My current dreams for the future, professionally speaking, are to bring more mindfulness in universities and organizations, and to expend my coaching practice, to reach and support more people in unlocking their full potential, and living a purposeful and fulfilling life.
I had a great time doing voluntary work while studying at AAU, and I strongly suggest you to join an organisation where you could put your competences to work, or simply meet new people, eventually develop your Danish language skills.
Graduating from a university does not grant you with key tools that can immediately bring you success. However, studying at AAU through PBL model (a very practically oriented and close to real life problem solving methods) has instilled my leadership skills, a life-long work ethic and a global perspective.
Being a PhD fellow in AAU is the main tool that helped me to achieve my dream since I was an undergraduate student. My dream was to be a Sales Engineer, but with getting involved deeply in academia, I thought I would never be part of the industrial field. Thankfully, the PhD fellow position was in the Center of Reliable Power Electronics (CORPE) team. A team that is doing research with close industrial collaboration. Therefore, CORPE has widely opened the industrial gates to me.
Mads Lindholm husker særligt PhD-kurserne fra sin tid som PhD-studerende på AAU. Som PhD-studerende var han på kurser på mange forskellige universiteter, men på AAU oplevede han, at der ofte var en særlig stemning – måske en nordjysk lune kombineret med et meget højt fagligt niveau, som gjorde det både udbytterigt og sjovt at deltage.
When I finished my PhD I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was hard for me to put the knowledge I obtain during my PhD into “the real world”. At the same time, I was certain that I would not stay at the university, because I was determined to put my knowledge into practice. Because of my cross-functional background [as a nurse, an architect and now a PhD], it was hard for me to find a job or place where I could fit in. However, I started to get different tasks and ended up starting my own practice.
I think that the framework of methodology that I used both during my PhD and my master is still somewhat useful in my everyday life where I continue to work with optimization of processes. I also believe that I have a lot of general competences such as analysing data and connections as well as being able to see and focus on the entirety even when this entirety is very very complex. Aalborg University’s problem-based-learning is a huge force for everyone. I see that graduates who are hired both by KMD and other companies go out in the world and make a great difference. Aalborg University deserves high praise for using this approach.
The PhD gave me a possibility to work on something that was my own – on a whole other level and with more depth than I had experienced earlier. That is really something I would not do without. Furthermore, a reason for me to do a PhD is that it is a sort of “licence” to both doing science and teaching at university level, which are two things that have always been attractive to me.
After two years of work at Rambøll Management, I got inspired by a former fellow student, who went to pursue a PhD. I started thinking whether that could be a career path for me as well. I became aware of a position at the Center for Migration and Diversity at Aalborg University, a position that was actually quite far from the academic field I was educated in, namely international relations. But the PhD project was very appealing to me. I decided to apply and landed the position, which I started in October of 2013. In August 2015, I co-founded CanopyLAB, an educational technology company, but I actually began conceptualizing the idea shortly after I started working on my PhD.
Two years after doing my PhD, I became UKON’s head of research, where I am responsible for the research projects we have and also initiating new research projects. My industrial PhD was a success for the company, since it has been a part of UKON’s strategy and brand to positioning the company between the research world and the corporate world.
I think it was really interesting to do a PhD. You have the chance to concentrate on one specific topic and thing at a time, and simultaneously you are able to teach and develop others. Back then, my biggest concern was if I would become too specialized when I had finished my PhD. Later on, I found out that it is almost impossible to become too specialized.
I made a very deliberate choice of becoming part of the very specialized world that a PhD really is, because I found it very motivating and interesting at the time and there was an opening to be part of a very interesting project. I knew all along that it wasn’t a career at the university that I wanted to pursue, so it would be a timing question for me when I would seek a position in the industry and test my PhD competences in a different context.
After my PhD I knew that I wanted to try to work in the corporate world. I actually felt that I owed myself to try to work in the corporate world, to better be able to determine whether I wanted to pursue a career in academia or the industry.
I realised early during my PhD that I was not cut out to be a career researcher, but on the other hand, it is important for me to work with the most complicated technology and brightest people.
In my job, the analytical skills developed during my PhD helps me tremendously on a day to day basis. I would also say that having a PhD made the transition all the more easy for me and enabled me to quickly become operational in a pharmaceutical company.
As a PhD student Lotte dreamed of combining lecturing and putting her research to use in clinical practice. Today this combination is a reality.
I did an industrial PhD, where my work had to be evaluated within the scope of the hosting company. This is something I have had to do ever since.
As a PhD student I dreamed of taking my research into the private sector and creating a company out of it. I wanted to actually put my research to use and see that people could get value out of it. Too much research is never applied or used in any way and it is a great waste.
My moving to Aalborg was not my first time living and studying abroad. Yet, there was one crucial difference if I compare it to my other experiences of living abroad: the language. This article is written by Evelina
As an already graduate student from Aalborg University, I must say the PBL method was both challenging and rewarding for my personal and professional growth. Written by Desislava Kavaldzhieva
Per Michael Johansen left Aalborg University in 1992, following graduation from the Department of Physics and a position as assistant professor at the same department. He went out into the world with the skills of a new AAU graduate. Now, 22 years later, he has returned – this time to take over the Rector’s office. We have asked Per Michael to ponder on the differences between Aalborg University then and now – and the skills his AAU qualifications provided him with.
With the knowledge I have today, it may well be that from the beginning should have chosen a course that was more focused on working with HR. That I ended up working with recruiting and coaching was more of a coincidence. Should I choose today, I would like to have a Master in Counselling and Coaching.