Graduate of education science finds first job thanks to thesis collaboration

Cathrine Curting has an MSc in education science after doing her thesis in collaboration with the Danish trade union called Djøf. The process gave her not only valuable experience of the labour market, but also the courage to tell her future employer why they really needed to give her a job.

She has never wanted to work with education science on a purely theoretical level. She wants to make the theory relevant and meaningful in practice:

“I regarded the theory as something I could remember and use after finishing my studies. It wasn’t just a load of theory that went in one ear and out the other.”

So it was a natural step to write her thesis in collaboration with a Company.

With help from her supervisor, Curting got in touch with the trade union Djøf. She was given the opportunity to collaborate with the department of education and seminars at Djøf. Here she examined the processes of change that the company was going through. 

The thesis collaboration gave her motivation and insight

“First and foremost, it was a huge motivation because I wasn’t just writing my thesis for myself, so I really wanted to deliver a good result. That was quite a driving force.”

Other than the motivation to write her Master’s thesis, the collaboration also gave Curting the opportunity to find out how her academic skills could be used in practice.

“All the knowledge I had gained during my studies made it possible for me to participate on almost equal terms with some of the other people at the meetings I attended, because I was able to understand what they were talking about. This was my ‘Eureka’ moment, because I felt that I actually would have been able to participate actively in these meetings.”

Collaborating with a company on her thesis taught Curting how she could use her academic skills in practice. And this helped her to look for a job.

“Suddenly, I was also much better at communicating how I could use my knowledge, and why it was relevant for the company. My thesis wasn’t just a demonstration of theory. It gave me new perspectives, and prepared me extremely well for my job search.”

From thesis to full-time job

“Suddenly, everything happened very fast,” says Curting, explaining how she got her first full-time job. She was taken on by a company called Kongsvang only two months after submitting her thesis.

“I found a company where the people and I shared similar ideas, I think. And with a position as an HR and education consultant, I could combine my academic background in education science with the more business-oriented aspects I learned while working on my thesis.”

At the job interview, the employers could see that Curting actually knew how companies work in practice, as well as having good qualifications on paper. And this was one of the main reasons why they gave her a job at Kongsvang.

“Collaborating with a company on the thesis gave me an understanding of the kind of competition and development that exist within the field of education and training courses. I had also gained a business understanding and knowledge of how to convert strategy into action.”

Two useful tips

Curting has two useful tips for students who want to write their thesis in collaboration with a company: give yourself clear boundaries, and start in good time.

“Contact the company well in advance. You don’t know when your agreement will be finalised, and lots of things can go wrong along the way – so the sooner you start, the better. This will make it easier to keep calm and focus on your actual thesis”, explains Curting, adding:

“You might also have bitten off more than you can chew, so my advice is to limit your scope a little bit, and then limit it a little bit more. The thesis quickly grows of its own accord because some things will demand in-depth study.”