Kaminabend – Meet the Professionals

“Networking is THE key tool for your future career” was one of the eye catcher sentences in the advertising mail for an event called ‘Kaminabend – Meet the Professionals’. Beside the attached guest list with the participating companies from industry, it was this sentence, which caught my attention and convinced me to participate in this event.

The main idea of this event is to offer PhD students the opportunity to get into contact with professionals from industry in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. At the beginning of the event, which took place in the really nice restaurant ‘Strätlingshof’ in Bochum, there was a short introduction of each company representative, which I really liked because it gave the event a good basis. For me, the last part of the short introduction round, which was about the “personal or scientific motto”, was the most interesting one, since some of them really inspired me. As a consequence, I rather decided spontaneously to whom I want to talk.

According to the phrase ‘business before pleasure’, not only the professionals had to do a task. Each PhD student was asked to state in which sector he or she wants to work in the future. For me, the result was impressive, because the vast majority favors a job in academia and research over management or consulting.

Science Zone

In my PhD project, I use time-domain Terahertz spectroscopy in combination with fast temperature jumps to probe the solvation dynamics during the (un)folding of  the small protein Ubiquitin.
Terahertz spectroscopy is a powerful tool to study solvation dynamics around molecules like salts, proteins and sugars. With frequencies ranging from 0.1 THz to 10 THz, intermolecular and collective motions in the water network can be investigated.
The main aim of my study is to investigate and understand the influence of Ubiquitin on the dynamics of the surrounding water  molecules during the structural rearrangement of the protein.

After everyone’s work was done, the time was right for dinner. The idea was that six to eight PhD students join one professional for one course of the buffet. After finishing the first course, the PhD students were supposed to change tables and join another professional they wanted to talk to. I had the impression that at the beginning of the first course everybody was a little bit uncertain about what to expect from the evening and therefore hesitated to ask questions. But as the dinner proceeded, the atmosphere got more and more comfortable with many fruitful and interesting discussions and a delicious buffet.

I talked to three representatives and really enjoyed all of the discussions. It was interesting to learn something about their individual professional careers and milestones (or problems) they faced. In all the discussions I attended, the majority of questions addressed the individual professional careers rather than the profiles or the business of the companies they represented. All of the representatives were willing to answer all our questions and to give us constructive feedback.

I really appreciate that the representatives were frank to us and shared some of their personal professional experiences, since this resulted in a very informative discussion with a high input. For me, as belonging to the small group of PhD students who rather want to apply for a consulting career than staying in academia, this event was some kind of encouragement to also think about a career in industry. This encouragement can be attributed to the highly motivating conversations with intellectual and experienced professionals.

Based on my experience and motivation which I gained on that evening, I strongly recommend to participate in such networking events, not only because of the delicious food and the served drinks, but rather (and more important) because of the possibilities to broaden one’s horizon in regard to the upcoming job decision. It was stated in the advertising mail for the ‘Kaminabend’, that “Networking is the key tool for your future career”. Now, after I attended the ‘Kaminabend’ event I think it really is.

About the Author

Hanna Wirtz_614x768Hanna Wirtz was born in 1989 in Essen. She obtained the B.Sc. as well as the M.Sc. in Chemistry at the Ruhr-University in Bochum. In her PhD project, she is currently working on the investigation of Ubiquitin using time-resolved Terahertz absorption spectroscopy with temperature jumps.



Photos of ‘Kaminabend-Meet the Professionals’

All photos: © Sinja Klees, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, RESOLV