Episode #42: Tips & tricks on how to prepare for an international career

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Anestis DougkasAnestis Dougkas returns for a tips & tricks-themed podcast on how you can prepare for an international career and become part of the global workforce. In episode #32 you can listen to his story on how his lifelong passion for chemistry has paved the way for his current position as a researcher in nutrition, health and eating behaviour in France.

Dr Anestis Dougkas is the researcher that take on the daily challenges in order to create a healthier world by making nutrition accessible. Currently, he is a Researcher in nutrition, health and eating behaviour at the Centre for Food and Hospitality Research at Institut Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France. He graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece with a four-year B.Sc. degree in chemistry with specialization in biochemistry and food chemistry. He then continued his studies and received a M.Sc. in food science and nutrition and a Ph.D. in nutrition, within the Nutritional Research Group at University of Reading, UK. His Ph.D. work focused on the associations between consumption of dairy products and the risk of obesity. Specifically, he undertook epidemiological research and human dietary intervention trials, which investigated the effect of dairy on appetite regulation. In 2011, he got a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Food for Health Science Centre, Lund University, Sweden.

My three tips: 1. Stay flexible. 2. Be smart about international assignments. 3. Network, network, network!

– Dr Anestis Dougkas, Researcher at Institut Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France


Hi this is Tina Persson the Founder of the podcast PhD Career Stories. Today I’m very very glad to have Anestis Dougkas back in his tips and trick podcast if you want to listen to his previous podcast number 32 you can there listen to his story.

Anestis is today a researcher in nutrition, health and eating behaviour at the institute of Paul Bocuse, Lyon in France. He performed his master and his PhD in United Kingdom and his postdoc in Sweden at Lund University. He is Born in Greece. So Anestis is a global career person. He is multicultural, speak several languages and has a very flexible mindset. I had the pleasure to meet him when I was coaching him in Sweden. So are you considering to perform a postdoc but still don’t want to perform an academic career, what to think about, and how can you be strategic when it comes to chose your postdoc that is among other things that Anestis will share in this podcast. So thank you for following us at PhD career stories and all the best here now from Tina  and good luck having Anestis podcast and don’t forget to follow us on phdcareerstories.com, at our facebook page, Instagram and twitter!

All the best from Tina here.

Hello to everyone! I’m Anestis Dougkas I will try to share my experience and some tips for international career.

In the introduction of the topic I would like to say that given the increasingly competitive in the global marketplace even if you’re not considering working abroad having a more international profile can help you in your job search.

By differentiating yourself, by being more global you are more likely to stand out from the other candidates. The global presentation will strengthen your application for many types of position and in fact more and more companies are doing business internationally, global things become more common. Many employers are now considering the ability to work across cultures as a highly desired if not required skill set.

Presenting as a more global citizen will help you attract jobs opportunity wherever you are in the world.

So if you want and you can now be a part of the global workforce and set your skills worldwide there are a few tips based on my experiences:

  • Firstly you have to stay flexible. There is a sector highly competitive with far fewer jobs than applicants. So it’s really key to bear in mind that you may have to make a few sideways career moves to get your ideal job. Sometime this may mean taking a role abroad even if the location or the money wouldn’t be your first choice this can provide you with great experience though that will make your application looks more attractive when you apply for future roles.
  • Secondly you should be smart about International assignments. It is important of course to look at the full picture when considering an international assignment doing so is the only way you will be able to make an educated decision.
    You should have longer than planned: why are you taking the job, what are the reasons behind. Is it only because of better of money or better location and city or experiences and skills that you will gain. You don’t have to have it perfectly mapped out but it’s a great way to show that your moves are building on each other, so you will have a better chance choosing a position that will grow your expertise.

    One example for instance it was for me when I finished my PhD in the UK, then when I was looking for a postdoc. I was looking at least for a postdoc that wouldn’t be totally fundamental so when the opportunity arrives to do my postdoc in Sweden,  I decided to leave the UK and go to Sweden because that postdoc will provide me with a greater insight into the industry needs because it was the postdoc with more applied science in nutrition and it was in collaboration with seven industry partners so I knew that I wanted to do something more applied and I knew that I wanted to become a little bit closer to the industry sector and since I just finished my PhD I thought that this postdoc will give me a smoother transition from academia to industry.

  • The third tips, we hear it a lot: is network, network! Meeting new people in a different country can be challenging but having a good network of contacts will stand you in a good position. Make the effort to meet as many different people as you can. Attend different events like conferences, exhibitions, fairs and networking parties to give yourself a comprehensive sets of contacts.

Finally, you can internationalized your CV by sharing your international experiences and that includes of course previous and current work experiences overseas. It can be short stays, it could be erasmus opportunities, it could be volunteering work overseas, or even international traveling. Just show that you have the ability and the curiosity to explore new countries, new people and learn from that. Employers hiring for jobs overseas will seek out people with qualities and skills necessary to successfully work in other cultures. Example of this includes as I said cross culture and communication skills, language skills, being flexible, adaptable and resilient as well as being comfortable in multicultural environments.

Why does tips were important for me, I would say that the flexibility allowed me to move to new countries without having any major constraints. First when I took the decision from Greece, where I did my first Degree, to go to England to do my master and my PhD and then from England to move to Sweden for a postdoc position and now ending up in France the last 10 months, so you have to be flexible.

What I also show, was not on only differences in term of cultures but also in work behaviors, work attitudes and being a southern myself having that type of hot temper, laid-back approach and working with northern country allow me to adapt and understand better people’s behaviors and overcome communication challenges across multinational research teams.

I also found that most places were eager to have a fresh perspective in the office so think about how you might offer that fresh perspective in your new career path no matter what you do, there is a bound from your past work that’s not only transferable to your new job but that’s pretty exciting to perspectives employers I think that my international experience and network both in the UK and in Sweden played a crucial role of getting my last position here in France.

In fact when it comes to networking, the position that I got in France was basically through that because the advertisement call for this position was advertising in the network and it happened from my previous director to receive that email and she forward it to me knowing that I’m looking for a job.

I would say even like studying and working abroad provided me numerous learning opportunities not only about skills competencies and knowledge but also cultural insights and learning myself as well like my limits, challenging myself and showing how adaptable I can be. It’s all about learning!

As a conclusion I would say that whether you are just graduated from school or about to retire keep learning. I like what Ghandi said :”leave as if you were to die tomorrow and learn as you were to live forever”.

Good Luck!

Episode #41: Gizeh Perez Tenorio’s story

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Gizeh Perez Tenorio is an Associate Lecturer  within experimental oncology and Online Facilitator in the Open Networked Learning courseat Linköping University. She also collaborates with Didacticum as PBL tutor where her key interest lies in incorporating technology to some of her courses, to support her colleagues in enhancing their digital literacy. 


Research is not a race – unless it is against a disease.

– Dr Gizeh Perez Tenorio, Associate Lecturer at Linköping University

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Episode #40: Lina Tengdelius’ story

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Lina TengdeliusDr Lina Tengdelius holds a MSc in Chemistry and a PhD in Materials Science with specialisation in Thin Film Physics from Linköping University, Sweden. She recently transitioned from academia to a role as a Consultant Manager at Dfind Science & Engineering. She works with recruiting people with a science background and reads a large number of CVs from PhDs every day.

Listen to her exciting story on how she landed her current position and what her experiences on “the other side” has taught her about the recruitment process. In this episode, Lina also shares her best tips and tricks on how to market yourself efficiently when looking for a job in the Life Science industry.

Tina helped me realize that the personality traits that I had considered to be problems for most of my life could be my greatest strengths, and that I should look for a job that suited my personality instead of adapting my personality to a job that didn’t really suit me.

– Dr Lina Tengdelius, Consultant Manager at Dfind Science & Engineering

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Episode #39: Alex Rutherford’s story

Episode #39: Alex Rutherford’s story

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Alex_Rutherford2edAlex Rutherford is a freelance data scientist and entrepreneur with a PhD in Physics from the University College London. He has subsequently undertaken post-doctoral work in complexity science and computational social science using computational techniques to understand why ethnic violence breaks out, how large groups of people can work together remotely and how constitutional reform takes place. His work has been published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences and has been covered in the New York Times and Nature among others. 

Alex worked as a data scientist for the United Nations in New York for several years applying computational techniques such as natural language processing and network analysis to aid and inform the development and humanitarian work of UN agencies and NGOs. This has included field work in Mexico, Jordan and Brazil, collaborations with numerous blue chip companies, presence at high level UN events and a handshake from Ban Ki Moon. Alex has lived and studied in Coventry, London, Damascus, Boston, Dubai, New York and Silicon Valley and speaks passable Spanish and Arabic. 

More recently, Alex is the founder of Data Apparel, an organisation selling custom, ethical clothing that uses the power of data and visualisation to promote empathy and debate among global citizens. He is an active Twitter user and blogger. More information and contact details can be found at alexrutherford.org.

The problem that I eventually settled on [for my PhD] fit a few different criteria that were important for me: 1) something involving computers; 2) something that had some real world applicability; 3) be in a big city with the opportunity to stay grounded.

– Dr Alex Rutherford, data scientist and founder at DataApparel

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Episode #38: Katrin Franke’s story

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Katrin Franke
Katrin Franke is Professor of Computer Science and Head of the NTNU Digital Forensics group at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

In 2007 she joined the Norwegian Information Security Lab (NISlab) with the mission to establish research and education in digital and computational forensics. In this context she was instrumental in setting up the partnership with the Norwegian police organisations as part of the Center for Cyber and information Security (CCIS) at the NTNU Department of Information Security and Communication Technology (IIK). Dr. Franke has 20+ years experiences in basic and applied research for financial services & law enforcement agencies (LEAs) working closely with banks and LEA:s in Europe, North America and Asia.

Dr. Franke is an alumni of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany with a major in electrical engineering. After graduating in 1994, Dr. Franke began to conduct research at the Fraunhofer IPK in Berlin, Germany where she worked until December 2006 as a scientific project manager. In 2005 she obtained her Ph.D. degree at the Artificial Intelligence Institute, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Dr. Franke has published more than 170 scientific articles including one patent. She is involved in the organisation of international conferences; the most prominent among them is the International Workshop on Computational Forensics (IWCF).

Katrin Franke is also an IAPR* Young Investigator Awardee in the year 2009. (* International Association of Pattern Recognition)

Getting a PhD is only level 1 in Super Mario. At level 2, we need to reorientate ourselves.

– Dr Katrin Franke, Professor of Computer Science at NTNU, Norway

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Episode #37: Tips & Tricks on Mental Health during your PhD

Episode #37: Tips & Tricks on Mental Health during your PhD

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20170902_214903Welcome to a special episode of PhD Career stories. Our guests today are Yorick Peterse and Maria Eichel, whom we met at this year’s Max Planck Symposium for Alumni and Early Career Researchers (#MPSAECR) in Berlin, Germany. At this symposium, Maria and Yorick conducted a workshop on Mental Health and also wrote an article about it on the blog of the Max Planck PhDnet entitled The Mental Health of PhD Candidates.

Today, Maria and Yorick will tell us how “normal” it is to encounter mental health challenges during a PhD, which sounds rightfully alarming. There are numerous preventive and coping measures that can ease the situation. Some of these lie in your own hands, some are – and should be – offered to you by the research institution.

Reading suggestions

M Lisa, (Nov 2017) […] for better Graduate Student Mental Health. Academic Mental Health Collective

P Yorick, (Oct 2017) The Mental Health of PhD Candidates. Max Planck PhDnet

A Teresa, (Oct 2017) When the going gets tough, let me counsel you to seek counselling. phdlife.warwick.ac.uk

P Kate, (July 2017) Is it still taboo to take a mental health sick day? BBC News

L Katja et al, (May 2017) Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students. Research Policy 46(4) 868-879, doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2017.02.008

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Episode #36: David Alich’s story

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David_AlichWhen attending the third Max Planck Career Fair at Harnack-Haus in Berlin earlier this fall, we got the chance to talk to Dr David Alich who works at Capgemini Consulting as Principal for Insight & Data. We talk to David about his decision to leave academia, what he wished he had known before he started his PhD at the Max Planck Institute and how he landed his current position at Capgemini.

I was always asking myself this question: Are you working to live or are you living to work?

– Dr David Alich, Principal Insight & Data at Capgemini Consulting, Hamburg

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