Thanks to everybody for attending and special thanks to our speakers Sandra, Luca, Alexandra, Holger, and Nicola. We are glad you made it to our event in Dresden.

From the high attendance (100-150 people) and the positive feedback that we received about the postdoc career symposium, we can conclude that the event was a success, and that our community feels a need to be informed about careers.


We had asked the speakers to prepare 15 minute talks about their career path and the differences between their current jobs and the academic environment, but other than that we did not emphasize specific points. The talks tended to be rather long and included a lot of technical information about the various organisations. The personal aspect of the talks was clearly very appealing and we would strive to enhance this part of the presentations.

To conclude: in the future, we would be much more specific about the length and content of the talks when we send the invitations and enforce the time limit better. We would emphasize that the content should be as personal as possible and include:

  • reasons for leaving academia
  • current day-to-day routine
  • pros and cons of current job
  • pay information
  • what to do to enhance one’s chances of getting this particular position 

The mix of speakers was quite varied as it included people who worked for small as well as large organizations, alone most of the time and in groups, with managerial responsibility or not. However, the group represented only a small fraction of the career options open to postgraduates, and thus there was a lack of certain perspectives. For instance, there were no representatives of creative sectors, such as writers and illustrators, no independent entrepreneurs, no people involved in interaction with the public and no people involved in teaching, which are all areas that could be of interest to our audience. For this event, we found the speakers mainly by gathering suggestions from MPI postdocs, the idea being that a personal connection would result in more personal talks. We also focused on people who were working in Germany to keep the costs of the event down. To get more out-of-the-box speakers, we would change these tactics. As long as we are specific about the content we desire, we could invite speakers we do not know directly from various backgrounds. We could also invite people from nearby countries in Europe, which would have the added advantage of getting a more international perspective on possible careers as our audience are not all going to stay in Germany.

Your career day organisers Gwen, Ilya, and Jakob - Oct 2009