"Meet Your Future" with UCM alumni
One question that is often repeated when people hear about UCM is ‘what are the prospects like after having completed a liberal arts degree?’ While it is true that there is no specific job that follows from a bachelors at UCM it may come as a surprise to many that a variety of careers can await you and the Alumni event on the 13th of November was a testament to that.
The event saw Evi van den Dungen, Lina Hedwig, Anke Kip and Anne Dröge back in the familiar lecture hall to tell us all about their lives and careers post-UCM. With jobs in entirely different fields from one another, students were able get inspired and gained useful insights into how they could set themselves up for a successful future.
With Evi working as a policy officer for D66 in Amsterdam; Anne working as an HR business partner for Zalando; Lina working as a project manager for EUROSOLAR and Anke working on a PhD about the Leishmania parasites — we were able to hear experiences from a huge array of jobs. In spite of their differences in fields, all spoke fondly of UCM and how it helped them achieve what they have done.
It might often be heard from the mouths of university students is that there is a huge gap between what you learn in classes and what you will be doing in the field and that the skills ultimately are not transferable. The alumni who attended sang a different tune, however. Lina, in a humorous anecdote, explained how it could be seen that our Problem-Based Learning system (PBL) aided her in actually getting a job as it taught her to assess a problem and be confident enough to state her opinion, a quality which her current employers saw value in.
Anne agreed, and she also spoke of how her tradition of going to quirky cafes in Maastricht and having philosophical discussions honed her analytical skills even further, and how these turned out to be easily transferable to her job at Zalando. In her work, this enables her to strive for improvement through being open to, and utilising the opinions of others.
Evi and Anke reminisced about a slightly different aspect of UCM to Lina and Anne. Both mentioned how much they appreciated the fact that you do not have to specialise in a narrow field at UCM as they had more knowledge about a range of different subjects which helped them after their bachelors. Anke, who has gone into a few different fields before deciding on going back to education and completing a PhD, told of how it is entirely okay to not have a plan for every step you take in the world. Both Evi and Anke mentioned that the future is not necessarily set for them but that isn’t actually a bad thing. The broad course range at UCM has meant that they both find many different fields interesting and could be happy in numerous jobs.
After the event we were all invited to the back of the hall to enjoy refreshments and a less formal discussion with the alumni. During their presentations they were all very informative but I did have one question ‘how do you combat the idea that possible employers will be put off by a liberal arts degree?’ It was a question I have been asked many times before by various people and I wanted an answer from someone who had graduated from UCM. Lina did not even blink when she answered ‘I prove them wrong. You can prove them wrong.’ Her no-nonsense response made me laugh a little but she had a good point. The alumni who attended prove that this is not a problem worth worrying about.
Nisha Dillon, UCM student
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