Thesis student creates value for company

Maya Degn Litrup has written her thesis in collaboration with a company called “I tråd med verden” (In line with the world). The process has created knowledge that can be used actively in the company, as well as giving Litrup practical experience, a useful network and new working opportunities.

Maya Degn Litrup is a student of educational theory and curriculum studies (Danish) at Aarhus University in Emdrup (Copenhagen). She wanted to write her thesis on the subject of Danish as a second language for adults. She was also determined that the thesis should not end up gathering dust on a shelf somewhere – she wanted it to be used so it could have an impact on others.

“My thesis doesn’t only involve knowledge development – it’s very much a question of product development,” says Litrup, explaining that: “I like turning knowledge into products that can be used by other people.”

Stay open-minded and send an e-mail

Litrup kick-started her collaboration with a company by sending them an e-mail. In this e-mail she described her area of interest, and explained how the company could benefit from working with her.

“For me it was essential that the e-mail was specific but open. For example, I suggested that I could produce some teaching material or something else they might need. I made it clear that any collaboration with me could focus on a topic that was relevant for the company,” she says.

Litrup wanted to work on a real issue which made sense for the company, and this is exactly what she underlined when she first contacted them. It worked. Because only three days after the first e-mail was sent, the agreement with “I tråd med verden” was finalised.

Litrup’s best tip is as follows: “Don’t expect to have a complete and final plan for your thesis before sending your first e-mail. You don’t need to know exactly how your thesis will turn out. Instead, think about the general framework of your thesis.”

Equal partners

Like many others, Litrup feared she might be lonely while writing her thesis, but the fact that other people were depending on her work was a strong motivational factor.

“We’ve been equal partners, and I have felt like part of the company,” she says, adding that: “It’s been very time-consuming, of course, because I’ve been there once or twice a week, but it has been time well-spent.”

Litrup also values the practical experience and network that she has gained. In fact, “I tråd med verden” have suggested applying for funding in order to create a position for her at the company, and the collaboration also resulted in a student job for her in a similar project.

“I feel I have been of value, and that I have made a difference – instead of just writing a thesis for myself and my examiners. This has made a big difference to me,” says Litrup.

If you have any further questions about how Maya Degn Litrup handled her Master’s thesis, please feel free to contact her at mayadegn@gmail.com.