Alumnus testimonial

Career Niek de Lange - MSc Molecular Life Sciences

“Hello, I’m Niek and currently I’m doing my PhD at the laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter in Wageningen. When I was a MSc student in the Molecular Life Sciences programme, I participated in the Academic Consultancy Training as part of my career preparation courses. During ACT you work in a group of students, often from various study programs. Together, you collaborate on an assignment that is commissioned by an external organization, in my case the company FrieslandCampina. Our first meeting with the company was very early on in the project, to get an overview of what exactly they wanted. We also had a tour through the company itself. After the meetings we mostly worked on literature research. The project aimed to create an overview of different mass spectrometry methods. We looked at aspects like efficiency, speed, ease of use, sample costs, etcetera."

ACT inspired me to reflect on the next steps in my career

The importance of having fun

"As ACT is aimed at simulating consultancy work after graduation, an important aspect of ACT is learning to work in a group. My group consisted mostly of other Molecular Life Scientists, mainly because of the subject. However, we still had many nationalities in the group, so in that sense it was diverse. During the first week, we had to discuss what role in the team we wanted to take on, what we were expecting from our team members and from the project as a whole. We also needed to come up with rules to actually obtain our goals as a group. We found it important to make it fun together, so during breaks we played frisbee and other games. This made our group not only stronger, but also more creative."

Feedback on your actions

"ACT really forced me to reflect, because we had to individually think of learning goals and share these goals with the group. Since we were aware of each other's goals, we could help one another achieve them. This style of working is something I never had to do before at the university. It really opened me up to seeing the importance of reflecting on your actions and asking for feedback. Even now, this forces me to think of how to improve myself through my actions. It also helped me to find out what I actually like to do, rather than what I think I should be doing. From this ACT experience I now know I want to continue working in a group.”

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