When alumni give career advice
On September 1 and 2, 2017, Max Planck alumni and young researchers came together for two days of conversation and community at Harnack House in Berlin. The focus of this year's symposium was on career development.
Eberhard Bodenschatz, Max Planck Director in Göttingen, and former chair of the Max Planck Society's Chemistry, Physics & Technology Section welcomed the approximately 140 participants from 23 different countries. Prominent speakers included alumni Sir Richard Brook who gave a presentation entitled: 'Research, Why? For whom? How?', and brain researchers Henry and Kamila Markram.
The Markrams have been carrying out intensive research into autism since their son was diagnosed with the condition, and their findings have revolutionized our understanding of the disorder. Their presentations were a great success with the audience.
One of the annual event's special features is that participants can shape the programme themselves. This year, they put topics such as 'Navigating the German language', 'Science: departure and return', 'Building up business networks' on the agenda. Other topics included scientific communication as well as sustainability and social commitment.
20 groups abroad
Depending on the selected proposals, the organizers chose external experts and professional coaches who supported the ' presentation of the alumni with practical tips. Over its two days of duration, the symposium provided exciting insights into the various experiences and career paths of Max Planck graduates. In addition, there were practical 'Do's and don'ts' as well as networking and contact-building opportunities.
As Alumni Coordinator Birgit Adam pointed out, the Max Planck Alumni Association, supported by former students and colleagues, has already been very active this year: 20 groups were established abroad. Also, there were numerous personal meetings with institutes, in which the opportunities offered by local administrations and alumni leaders were outlined.