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UvA Career Networking Events

Connect with international UvA alumni and expand your network

This series of three Student-Alumni Career Networking Events was organised in March and April 2022.

The Student-Alumni Career Networking Events are a series of three events with a panel of international UvA alumni who share their experiences in pursuing a career in the Netherlands after graduation.

Each panel discussion focuses on a different career sector and is followed by informal networking with international students and alumni.

When: Thursdays in March and April

The events focus each on a different career sector:

Research and PhD: 10 March 2022 (19:00-21:00)

Find out what it's like to work at the UvA, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Leuven University, the SAE Institute of Amsterdam, Erasmus University and Northumbria University. 

Creative and Technology industry: 17 March 2022 (19:00-21:00) 

Share experiences with UvA alumni who work at WeTransfer, Unless, Nicolab, ING, Booking.com, TrendWatching and ImpactBuying.

Non-profit and NGO: 21 April 2022 (19:00-21:00)

Find out how to pursue a career in the Non-profit/NGO sector from UvA alumni who work at Oxfam Novib, The Hunger Project, Médecins sans frontiers (MSF), Lygature, Dimes, RIPE NCC and Reshaping Work.

Who is invited?

All international UvA Master’s students considering a career in the Netherlands are invited to participate in the events.

Location

CREA Muziekzaal, Nieuwe Achtergracht 170, 1018 WV Amsterdam

  • Research and PhD
    • Thursday, 10 March, 19:00-21:00

    The research and academic sector has its own unwritten rules and culture. In general, you need analytic skills and a willingness to work hard and thrive in a fast-paced environment that has its own demands and rewards. Understanding the dynamics of academia will help you decide if a research career is right for you and will help you successfully apply for a research position.

    Below are the alumni who will be sharing their career experiences on 10 March. In addition, they give some career tips to current Master’s students.

    James Anderson

    Associate Lecturer at Northumbria University

    I did a PhD in Media and Communication (Northumbria University, UK).  My Thesis title is ”Punk, Porn, & Politics: The Aesthetics of Radical Sexualities.” My PhD doctoral research explores intersections between race, class, sexuality, and gender in relation to subcultural representations of the transgressive female body.

    In my current role as an associate lecturer at Northumbria University, I facilitate courses across Media and Film programmes and deliver lectures to a diverse student body. In this position, I serve as an interlocutor between programme leaders and students, as well as supervising undergraduates with dissertation supervision. This position has enabled me to gain relevant experience in the contemporary academe, and promises future opportunities for personal and professional development. 

    In my teaching, I draw heavily from my research speciality in trans-disciplinary media and cultural studies. I feel that the opportunity to conduct in-depth research during my PhD has equipped me with a strong grounding in my fields of interest as well as developing my research specialisms. This experience enables me to engage students in dialogue with confidence, as well as communicating and disseminating my research to a varied audience through conference presentations and publishing.

    Having found academia an enlightening and vibrant environment as an undergraduate at the University of Amsterdam, I aim to continue to make academia an inspiring environment for all students from diverse backgrounds. 

    My advice to Master’s students

    Enquire about opportunities to gain experience within your existing networks: be enthusiastic and show your commitment.  You can choose to include yourself or exclude yourself: put yourself forward. Confidence comes with doing. To achieve comfort, work through your discomfort. Self-discipline and self-belief are the keys to success. If it's important to you, you'll find a way, if not, you'll find an excuse. Don't personalise failures of mistakes. The person that never makes mistakes never learns. 

    portrait James Anderson
    Argyrios Emmanouloudis

    Head of the Game Art & Animation department at the SAE Institute of Amsterdam, PhD Student at Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)

    I’m the Head of the Game Art & Animation department at the SAE Institute of Amsterdam, and I am also about to complete my PhD research at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). Before my PhD I studied Media Studies: Television & Cross-Media Culture.

    There is a strong link between my day-to-day work and my PhD. By working on a PhD, anyone will develop tools and skills that will be proven helpful at a later stage in life, even if their work is not completely similar to their research topic. In my case, my work’s object is quite similar to the issues I had to examine for my PhD. By being in charge of a game creating programme, I am not only aiming to educate students on technology issues but also to provide them with a “library” of holistic knowledge and social awareness.

    My advice to Master’s students

    Take as much as you can from the university. The UvA has access to a large number of resources, workshops, conferences, and much more. Any of these extracurricular activities can benefit you.

    portrait Argyrios Emmanouloudis
    Cisem Gurel

    Scientific Information Specialist at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, PhD Student UvA

    Before following my PhD studies at the Institute of Child Development and Education (Multidisciplinary Research Area Yield, UvA), I graduated from the Master’s in Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam. I’m currently working as a Scientific Information Specialist at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, where I teach information literacy and academic skills to Master’s and PhD students, develop teaching materials and contribute to the (inter)national projects to raise awareness in open science and educational resources.

    Additionally, I have a company called Learn2Gather, where I offer thesis supervision to university students as well as workshops to youth and adults in topics that I have specialised in over the course of years such as preventive mental health care.

    My advice to Master’s students

    In today’s world, having a growth mindset is of critical importance. Believing that you can change the outcomes with effort is important but perhaps not as much as believing that you can learn through your mistakes. I believe that asking for help and avoiding the mentality of a zero-sum game are crucial elements in learning and self-compassion processes.

    While focusing on your studies, try to invest some time in discovering the world outside of your studies. Learn the local language, meet people who inspire you, join book clubs, and volunteer for a cause that is near and dear to your heart. Taking such steps to connect with people through new hobbies would be a fascinating way to broaden your horizons and certainly enrich your career opportunities after a Master's degree.

    portrait Cisem Gurel
    Eliala Salvadori

    PhD Student at the University of Amsterdam

    I did a research Master’s in Child Development and Education at the UvA. I’m doing a PhD in Developmental Psychopathology (NWO Dutch Research Council Talent Scheme Fellow). My research focuses on human social, emotional, and cognitive development in the first years of life. At the moment, I am investigating how babies temporally coordinate behavioural patterns of communication (e.g. eye gaze, facial expressions, vocalisations, gestures) with familiar partners (mothers and fathers) and with strangers. I employ longitudinal and cross-sectional designs, including home-based naturalistic observations, lab-based experimental tasks, and parent-reported questionnaires, both in typical and at-risk populations (e.g. autism spectrum disorders).

    By means of path models and multilevel regression analyses, I examine concurrent and developmental associations among infant preverbal communication behaviours, exploring the factors that modulate their development at the individual (e.g. temperament), parental (e.g. parenting behaviours, levels of empathy, theory of mind, social maladjustments) and societal (e.g. culture) level. Besides research, I supervise students' research Master’s theses and internships. 

    My advice to Master’s students

    Explore your passions as well as your options, making use of all the resources available to you. There may be multiple parallel, alternative routes. Perhaps there is even a route that enables you to link your many interests together. 

    portrait Eliala Salvadori
    Ronak Shah

    PhD Student at The Netherlands Cancer Institute

    I did a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences (Oncology track) and currently I’m in the last year of my PhD. Apart from performing experiments in the lab, I analyse data, write reports and prepare articles to be published in peer-reviewed journals.  My day-to-day work helps to slowly build towards a big story that provides insight into a particular aspect of the topic I'm focusing on. This will ultimately shape up to be my PhD thesis. 

    My advice to Master’s students

    Research is a fascinating field. Like every other field, it has its ups and downs. Since there is no fixed trajectory, everyone's journey is different. So be prepared for whatever comes along but most importantly, never, ever compare your journey to anyone else's. 

    portrait Ronak Shah
    Pulu Sun

    Lab manager & research technician at the University of Amsterdam

    I studied Molecular Life Science at Wageningen University and did a PhD in Plant Physiology and biotechnology. Now I’m a Lab manager and research technician in the Plant Physiology group at the UvA. In my day-to-day work I participate and facilitate research projects. I also facilitate PhD candidates with starting up different techniques.

    My advice to Master’s students

    Try to do an internship with a company. If you want to do a PhD, look for the leading group in the topic. Also consider switching to industry, as there are more career opportunities than in academia.

    portrait Pulu Sun
    Eylul Turan

    PhD Student at KU Leuven

    I studied Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Cognitive Neuroscience track 2020). After my Master’s I obtained the FWO scholarship provided by the Flemish Research Council. I wrote my own PhD proposal, and my project was accepted. Currently, I am in the second year of my PhD. I think my work is highly related to the topic PhD & Research, because I have been doing research and publishing since my undergraduate years. This whole research experience, including the projects I did in my Master’s led to my PhD project. Also, I conducted research in the US and I am collaborating with researchers over there, so I think I can also provide some information about collaboration opportunities and why this is important.

    My advice to Master’s students

    I think the Master’s, is a great transition phase, and sometimes this transition can be stressful. Students (including me) feel like they have to decide their career path during the Master’s as early as possible, so that they can quickly continue with what they want. But this is not always clear, given that there are way too many opportunities. So my biggest advice for Master’s students would be to aim to develop a skill set. This means that, instead of trying to find in which topic you wants to specialise (or in which area), one should aim to develop skills that can be used in different areas and in different ways (such as programming, coding, academic writing, experience with different research methods & tools).

    portrait Eylul Turan
  • Creative and Technology industry
    • Thursday, 17 March, 19:00-21:00

    This event will focus on work in the creative and technology industry, for example app development, data & analytics, digital media, the gaming industry, advertisement, interactive design, etc. What are the possibilities for non-Dutch graduates to work in this sector?

    During this event, best practices and valuable information will be shared, to help you take your steps towards employment.

    Below are the alumni who will be sharing their career experiences on 17 March. In addition, they give some career tips to current Master’s students.

    Alston Chan

    Fintech Consultant at ING Neo

    I did a MSc in Political Science (International Relations) and I am currently a Fintech Consultant in a major Dutch Bank.  I provide fintech consultancy in Housing and Sustainability and I help internal business lines to find the suitable fintechs to partner with. I need to stay up to date in regards to the latest industry/ fintech trends. I also engage with external fintechs to explore business opportunities on a regular basis.  

    My advice to Master’s students

    Don’t limit yourself to what you study at school. 

    portrait Alston Chan
    Victoria Chapman

    Trend Analyst at TrendWatching

    I studied International Business. My current role is a Trend Analyst for a company called TrendWatching. I conduct market research across many industries and regions to find the most innovative products and campaigns. I liaise with clients looking for specific research and carry out reports for their requirements. I am also a public speaker, giving keynotes internally for clients and participating in external events. Trends are inherently a creative industry and qualitative research always has an element of subjectiveness and perception. By working one-on-one with leading brands and agencies, we translate innovations into digestible, yet actionable, business opportunities. One of the most fun parts of the job is that we give the trends creative names ourselves! The leading analysts will think of catchy but understandable names. One of our most recently published trends, Acclimators, tracks how consumers are acclimating their purchasing power to climate change.

    My advice to Master’s students

    Work hard at something you like, leverage and seek out opportunity and never be afraid to ask for more. I started at TrendWatching as a marketing intern and after realising it wasn't what I ultimately wanted to do, I asked to move to the content team. That's where I am today.

    portrait Victoria Chapman
    Ecesu Erol

    Chief Experience Officer at Unless

    I studied International Studies (BA) at Leiden University and I did my Master’s New Media and Digital Culture at the UvA. Chief Experience Officer (CXO) at Unless. Day to day I do a mix of marketing, support, onboarding, and account management. I work with product and sales. We are a Startup with a small team so there's a lot to do and roles can get pretty diverse. Unless is a tech Startup with a SaaS product about digital journey orchestration. While I am not directly technical myself, that is the world I work in. And when it comes to any product, there's a lot of creativity involved in identifying the problems of your customers and coming up with appropriate solutions. Additionally, because my role is not specialised my day-to-day tasks can change frequently which requires a lot of adjusting and learning.

    My advice to Master’s students

    Building relationships is key. Going to events, finding communities and Meetup groups can be really valuable. You can also directly reach out to people you find interesting and/or aspire to. But when you are reaching out to others, you have to be very well prepared, respectful of their time, and know what you want to get out of the conversation. Additionally, at your first internship/job (and ideally always), be like a sponge. Ask lots of questions, make lots of notes, do research, read books, find podcasts etc.

    portrait Ecesu Erol
    Heng Lin

    AI Team Lead at Nicolab

    I have a Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence from the UvA and a Mechanical Systems/Computer Science Bachelor from the University of Melbourne. At Nicolab I develop algorithms to accelerate stroke assessment. I also translate and prioritise business requirements into concrete work packages. Another task is to remove obstacles for developers.

    Creativity is the essential counterpart of technical skills that help us to find a solution to problems we have never encountered before. Most of the time we don't have a ready-made solution in the specific field of stroke, so we often implement the latest technology from scientific publications to tackle them.

    My advice to Master’s students

    This might sound very abstract, but it is nice to take a step back and zoom out to look at the bigger picture from time to time. When you are solving a problem, think about what skills might be required. When you are learning a new skill, think how this might help with your career.

    portrait Heng Lin
    Joe Mier

    Digital Producer at WeTransfer

    I graduated in 2013 from the Research Master’s Media Studies with a focus on New Media. I'm a Digital Producer in the Creative Studio at WeTransfer. I help to create all the advertising seen on WeTransfer.com with our in-house creative team of copywriters, designers, and developers. I work with a creative team to make interactive, engaging campaigns that 80 million WeTransfer users see when they transfer files every month. That's pretty cool! Our product and advertising ecosystem are intertwined, so we can uphold strong creative guidelines to keep users in their workflow and hopefully create an unobtrusive and enjoyable ad space. 

    My advice to Master’s students

    Figure out really well what you like, what you're good at, and what your values are, and that will guide you throughout your career path. Meet people who inspire you or have interesting sounding jobs, and ask them what experiences they had to get them where they are now.

    Portrait Joe Mier
    Griselda Morales

    Product Manager at Booking.com

    I did a Master’s in Business Administration (Marketing track) and I'm a Product Manager at Booking.com. I work together with engineers and designers to create products that work for both our customers and accommodation partners. My job is to find and solve travellers' pain points on our platform by creating and implementing technological solutions that solve these pain points.

    My advice to Master’s students

    Don't overthink the future too much. It's okay to not know where you see yourself in five years. I also didn't know and even if I tried to imagine, the reality turned out to be completely different and way more exciting than I could think of.

    portrait Griselda Morales
    Elina Sviklina

    COO at ImpactBuying

    I studied Information Science (Master’s) at the UvA. My track was Business Information Systems.

    I’m now COO at ImpactBuying where I lead a passionate team that wants to inspire and enable businesses and consumers to make more sustainable buying choices – safer, more sustainable, more socially responsible, more environmentally friendly. We believe that good business and doing good should go hand in hand.

    My advice to Master’s students

    Be ambitious and move towards your goal.

    portrait Elina Sviklina
  • Non-profit and NGO
    • Thursday, 21 April, 19:00-21:00

    Whether you are interested in environmental issues, women’s rights, education, human rights or any other cause, a non-profit organisation is the place where you can work on improving these issues. The non-profit and NGO sector is very broad and includes all organisations that are not privately owned.

    It covers everything from large organisations such as the EU and UN to very small, quite unknown organisations. What is it like to work in this sector and how do you find the right career path? During this event UvA alumni will shed light on these questions.

    Below are the alumni who will be sharing their career experiences on 21 April. In addition, they give some career tips to current Master’s students.

    Jennifer Aggus

    Responsible Behaviour Advisor at Médecins Sans Frontières

    I studied Sociology (MSc in Migration and Ethnic Studies through IMES) and I work for Médecins Sans Frontières, a medical humanitarian INGO. In my role as a Responsible Behaviour Advisor I advise on prevention and response to interpersonal misconduct within the organisation, in particular training design and delivery around interpersonal intelligence and integrity, as well as investigations into misconduct allegations.

    My advice to Master’s students

    Use this time in your life to confirm your personal values and goals. Focus on what is most important and target organisations that share the same values or are working towards the same goals.

    portrait Jennifer Aggus
    Edwine Beya

    Legal officer at Lygature

    I studied Public International Law and work as a legal officer at Lygature. I draft, review and negotiate agreements. Furthermore, I am in charge of the legal matters for my organisation. Lygature is a not-for-profit organisation. We are managing public-private partnerships focusing on the development of new medical solutions for patients. My role is to provide support through the best legal framework so the partners can focus on their core activities. Being part of projects bringing solutions to patients is so rewarding.

    My advice to Master’s students

    Be proactive. There are events, career fairs and workshops which are great opportunities to network and find a job in the Netherlands. The professors and the UvA Student Careers Centre can also be really helpful in the process. If you have the opportunity, take some Dutch classes. And last but not least, don't forget to enjoy Amsterdam.

    portrait Edwine Beya
    Iskren Lilov

    Marketing Manager at Reshaping Work

    I graduated from the UvA Bachelor Media and Culture in 2021 and I am currently doing the Master New Media and Digital Cultures while working as a Marketing Manager at Reshaping Work.

    Reshaping Work is a non-profit organisation which mission is to create a better and more fair future of work for all parties in the debate. As a Marketing Manager I am responsible for internal and external communications, marketing, and management of our interns. Additionally, I am assistant project manager of the Multistakeholder Dialogue Project which aims to create a permanent knowledge interlocutor where parties with the stake in the debate on the future of work can engage in a constructive dialogue, exchange views, negotiate positions, and propose new solutions. I work with partners such as Zurich Insurance, Uber, Adecco Group, Glovo, UNI Europa, Amsterdam Economic Board and leading academics and policymakers in the field.

    My advice to current Master’s students

    No matter what position you have in an NGO, you must be constantly learning about the topic and getting involved in the debate. Unlike for-profit organisations, NGOs are much more fluent in their structure and workflow. Since there is a non-quantitative goal to achieve, the team is expected to be fluid and adaptable as the requirements to achieve such goals can change very quickly and drastically. Be prepared to develop in more than one field of expertise and do not be afraid to suggest ideas in spheres outside your assigned position. NGOs value proactive people who are willing to learn new skills and participate on more than one level in the organisation. Success for the organisation is not measured in the typical form of revenue or profit so you should think about the value that your work brings to society and that is an extremely rewarding way of seeing your personal growth.

    portrait Iskren Lilov
    Sofia Ortega-Tineo Potter

    Founder of Dimes

    I graduated in International Development Studies and I am the founder of Dimes, a consultancy firm in the area of inclusive finance. Before starting Dimes I worked for different NGO’s in the Netherlands and abroad. I continue to engage with NGOs as part of my work.

    My advice to Master’s students

    Whenever you have two or more choices you are battling with go for what creates more opportunities. You may think of this as something we would do automatically, but it must be intentional.

    portrait Sofia Ortega-Tineo Potter
    Ulka Athale

    Marketing and Communications Officer at RIPE NCC

    I did a one year Master’s in English Language and Culture, followed by a Research Master in Literary Studies and I am currently working as a Marketing and Communications Officer at RIPE NCC.

    RIPE NCC is an international non-profit headquartered in Amsterdam that manages the technical infrastructure of the Internet. My work involves helping to communicate RIPE NCC's work across our service region of 76 countries (Europe, Middle East, Russia and Central Asia) and beyond.

    Our goal as an organisation is to maintain a unified stable, resilient and global Internet. This means bringing together diverse groups, such as Internet companies, governments, technical experts and civil society to discuss policies that help the Internet operate at a technical level.

    My advice to current Master's students

    Think in terms of developing skills. If you're passionate about an area of work and you have the right skill set, many organisations will help you learn about the sector. 

    portrait Ulka Athale
    Kathryn James

    Grants manager for The Hunger Project

    After graduating with my MSc Medical Anthropology & Sociology, I joined the non-profit sector. Currently I am working as a grants manager for The Hunger Project, where I oversee the organisational funding pipeline. In this role I work closely with fundraisers to get new funding streams, and also with finance to ensure each country's budget can stay balanced with all their different grants. 

    My advice to current Master’s students

    Entry-level non-profit jobs are hard to break into. If your goal is to make a career in non-profit, also consider developing your skills in the private sector too. Finance, communications, and business management are all easily transferable and valued backgrounds for NGOs. 

    portrait Kathryn James
    Catalina von Hildebrand

    Communication Lead at Oxfam Novib

    I graduated from the International Development Studies Master’s. I work at Oxfam Novib as a Communication Lead for my program, I prepare all sorts of materials for my team and for external use. For example, a presentation for our donor or our annual report.

    The program I work in is called Sowing Diversity=Harvesting Security, it aims to ensure access to good quality seeds to farmers in 8 different countries. I collect stories from our partners, to show our impact in a qualitative way. I make sure partners can determine what they want to put forward and provide a platform where I can. I believe this is the role of NGOs, to listen well and create space for those we work for.

    My advice to current Master’s students

    Right place, right time. The only one you can control is the right place, and often that is enough to be noticed. Find what really moves you and show up to everything you can.

    portrait Catalina von Hildebrand
A female student wearing a UvA jacket is talking to another student during a Career Networking Event.