Tell us about your education:
I have a B.A. in European Energy Economics from the University of Applied Sciences in Kufstein, Austria, and I completed an exchange semester at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.
Right now I am studying my MSc. Sustainable Energy Planning and Management at Aalborg University and I will graduate in 2018.
Have you completed any cooperations with companies during your time at AAU?
Yes, I completed a semester project in cooperation with Skive Municipality, specifically Energibyen Skive, the Department of the municipality dealing with energy related issues.
The project analyses the role of biogas as a niche in the transportation sector and explores how Denmark can overcome the barriers to reach market penetration.
Besides the cooperation with Skive municipality I worked as a student employee at Neas Energy A/S in the Gas Origination Department.
How did these partnerships benefit you?
My student job at Neas Energy further expanded my knowledge about the gas market.
Because I previously completed an internship in gas trading during my bachelors, the company was excited about my experience. This is one of the main reasons I got the position. I also gained experience in a professional team and workplace, experienced Danish working culture (very important if you would like to find a job in Denmark), and expanded my network.
My project cooperation with Skive municipality provided insight about how municipalities set up projects (funding, networking etc.). It was also a great experience to have a real life case. Most of projects will be theoretical unless you can find a practical case to work on. And, my network was expanded as well.
How did you find out about the opportunity for cooperation?
For my student job, our program coordinator sent an email with a job offer at Neas in another department; however, as it was only for Danish speakers, I sent an unsolicited application, which was forwarded to the Gas Department.
For my cooperation with Skive municipality, I met the project managers at a visit to Skive through the Youth Goodwill Ambassadors. I kept in touch with a contact person that further recommended me to enter a cooperation with the Energy Department for my semester project.
Did AAU Career events benefit you?
The Youth Goodwill Ambassadors program offered me a lot of great and unique opportunities for my professional development.
Next to trainings about how to hold an elevator pitch and how to prepare a Danish CV, the Talent Conferences in Aarhus and Copenhagen were some of the highlights. Through these events, not only representatives from one of the biggest companies in Denmark can be met, also students from other cities in Denmark gather at these events. Therefore, it is a really great opportunity to expand the network and to get introduced to the Danish labour market.
Last but not least, the company visit to Skive turned out to be an important part for my studies as I can obtain my semester project in cooperation with them.
To what extent have you been able to benefit from your AAU competencies in your job?
And what skills are these competencies related to?
The group work, especially in cooperation with a real company, gave me extremely valuable experience. One of the most valuable experiences this gave me was how to work in interdisciplinary, international groups - learning how to compromise, while taking on leadership and organizational roles all while completing big projects that last several months with concrete deadlines. Employers (especially in Denmark) will look for this when you graduate, so it’s a big help to seek it during your studies.
If you don’t know where to start to find a company or organization to cooperate for a project, go to career fairs, networking events, or even do some research on companies you want to work with and write them an email to introduce yourself and your idea. Also the AAU professors at your department are willing to help and have good connections for a possible cooperation. It’s a win-win for companies and students, so make sure to highlight your value to them.
Also, the knowledge about Danish working culture and how to write a CV complying with Danish standards was really helpful as it very much differs from what was expected by my former working locations (Austria and Germany). Since this is the first opportunity you have to make a good first impression, make sure it’s done right.
Are there things you would like to do differently?
I started applying for companies in the second semester. I would recommend to do it even earlier, so that students can stay longer at a company.
Do you have any good advice for AAU international students?
Is there anything else relevant to telling your story?
I do not speak Danish at all and I also made it. Though it is important to learn Danish if you want to find a job here and stay here, there are opportunities without it (though they are more rare). Make an effort to learn it and practice, practice, practice in the mean time!
About Daniela Wolschlager
Study programmme at AAU: MSc Sustainable Energy and Planning