What did you study at Yale, and what is your current profession/job?
I am working in executive search. I help companies to find the right executives either by recruiting new managers or by assessing and developing managers of the company. At Yale I studied at the school of engineering and applied science and got my PhD in 2008 and the career track that led me to my current position was certainly nothing I expected at that time.
What do you like most about your current role? What do you find most challenging and/ or rewarding?
I like the high degree of freedom in my job and the team I work with. The only restriction is that the work needs to be done. Also, I enjoy working with all kinds of people. This can be interesting, challenging, rewarding and fun. Coming from engineering and physics it was a challenge to improve my people skills and move away from a right and wrong, math driven world. At the same time it was very rewarding to learn new things and develop yourself further. In the end I also learned a lot about myself and I was able to grow and develop.
How did your time at Yale shape your career trajectory?
My time a Yale broadened my horizon. I got to know people from various countries, learning about cultural differences and also made friends with people from different schools, that triggered me to look for options also outside of science.
What are the main skills that you acquired as a PhD student which help make you successful in your current career?
Certainly it is helpful to have strong analytical skills. Also the capability to learn and understand new things quickly is important. In addition, the patience I needed running some experiments during my PhD time, can be very useful today from time to time.
I decided to pursue a path where I needed to learn new things, constantly. That is something with interests me. Expert skills I gained during my PhD are in fact less important for me today. I see the experience you get at school as a foundation to open doors and if your are willing to continue learning you will open new doors after a while.
Did you acquire any professional experience related to your line of work while in graduate school?
Interestingly enough the most relevant experience might be from my board activities at GPSS, dealing with various stakeholders, trying to form a majority opinions in a diverse setting.
What advice would you offer PhDs who are interested in your line of work?
Make sure that what interests you really fits to the job and that it is not about the appreciation you think you get when doing such a job. Try to figure out what skills are really important for it and train them, which would be in this case networking skills, communication skills, and listening skills to just name a few. It is not very common to join my business directly after university, most people start in a different job and discover the importance of working with the right kind of people.