Kick start your Career: Academic skills during and after Grad school



Course level
Master, PhD candidates and professionals from all disciplines
Session 2
11 January to 18 January 2020 
Coordinating lecturer                                     Faviola Brugger-Dadis, MSc
Other lecturers
Dr. Sandra Rathod
Form(s) of instructionLectures, presentations, interactive practicals
Form(s) of assessment45%: 5-page (min) paper written in academic English (APA format)
45%: Oral presentation
10%: Participation during practicals
ECTS3 credits
Contact hoursMonday – Friday: 10am-7pm
Tuition fee

€800 - non-VU students and staff

€500 - VU students and staff

Master’s students and PhD candidates from all disciplines who are interested in learning how to make the most out of their time in graduate school and might not realize all the valuable transferable skills they are gaining! Students who would like to know how to apply these skills in the real world in order to have successful careers. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please contact us: graduatewinterschool@vu.nl.
“What will I ever use this degree for?” Surviving graduate school is no easy task! Many students panic when they finish their studies because they are not aware of how the countless hours they spent writing papers, taking exams, and giving presentations—sometimes to the point of exhaustion and even burnout—will add up to a paying job and fulfilling career. During graduate school the focus is often on learning about specific topics in your discipline, but not necessarily what to do with this information in the real world. Some of the most sought after and marketable skills are learned in graduate school, yet few students realize just how many transferable skills they are acquiring along the way that are highly desired by employers.

For those who plan to remain in academia, the path is quite straight forward and typically involves working in a university; when you finish your Master’s degree, you can complete a PhD, after your PhD a Post Doc, and you can also work as a professor or researcher. While the transition from academia to industry is not as clear cut, there are countless options that students may not even know are available to them. Regardless of the choice to remain in academia or enter industry, there are ways to maximize your potential options and choose a career that is well suited for your skillset and ideals.

This course will explore how to make the most out of your time in graduate school and understand the valuable skillset you have been provided with. The goal is to help identify these transferable skills, and how to put them into practice in order to gain the most out of your degree. Understanding your options, potential, motivations, and ideologies can help you find a career that is well suited to you, as you make the decision to continue on in academia or transition into industry.

Amsterdam possesses a rich Startup community and culture that promotes academic transfer—or the translation of research into successful and marketable solutions and products in industry. The coordinating lecturer of this course is both a PhD student in Clinical Neuropsychology, as well as the CEO and Founder of a Medtech Startup, NeuroReality, which creates virtual reality software for neurorehabilitation. Students will have the opportunity to visit and learn more about how academia and entrepreneurship can be combined to create a successful career.

•   Identifying the most valuable transferable skills you gain from graduate school and how to apply them.
•   Understanding your potential, motivations, and ideologies in order to find a successful career that fits you.
•   Career opportunities inside and outside academia.
•   Transitioning from academia to industry.
•   How to structure your CV and motivation letters, and prepare for a successful job interview.
•   How to balance school/work and mental health.

Selected peer reviewed journal articles and chapters. To be announced.
Faviola Brugger-Dadis comes from a diverse background. Her mother is German and her father was Egyptian. She was born in California, raised in the Netherlands, but has 3 passports and has lived in 9 countries!

While science is where Faviola's true passion lies, she also has a passion for entrepreneurship. After a 15 year long successful career as an international model, and three years as Managing Director for a PR firm in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo—all the while still going to school and finishing her Bachelor's degree in biological psychology—Faviola took a drastic change in paths and returned to university fulltime. This multi-disciplinary and cross- cultural perspective has formed many of her ideologies regarding how to create a successful career path.

Faviola completed her Research Master’s in Cognitive Neuropsychology at the VU University Amsterdam, and her thesis on cognitive deficits in stroke patients at the University of Oxford. She was editor of the book Aging and Dementia: Neuropsychology, Motor Skills and Pain, written by Prof. dr. Erik Scherder, and has presented her research at conferences around the world.

Faviola is currently a PhD student at the VU University Amsterdam and the CEO and Founder of a Medtech Startup, NeuroReality. Her research focuses on the creation of gamified solutions using virtual reality (VR) for neurorehabilitation in patients with stroke, dementia, and traumatic brain injury. As opposed to acquiring traditional funding via a grant, Faviola independently funded her research via venture capital funding, and the creation of her startup—which developed and will market the medical software created during her PhD.

Faviola is also a science communicator and believes in making learning accessible to those from all different backgrounds. She is passionate about outreach and projects that have the ability to make an impact on people, and make their daily lives better.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” -Thomas Edison