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M.A. Sociology - European Societies

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Marielle Bergs, Consultant Marketing Research (Fundraising)

Please describe shortly your current profession. How does your typical day at work look like?

As a consultant in consulting branch I work a lot with data. My clients are NGOs whose predominant income sources are donations and grants. In a close cooperation with my clients I select strategy options for their campaigns, i.e. I search for criteria and possibilities for funding rendering. Data analysis and workshops at my company or at the client’s seat are also part of my responsibilities.

What was your motivation to study ‘Sociology – European Societies’? To what extend did the program relate to your undergraduate studies?

In my Bachelor’s studies the European topics where only marginally tackled upon. But since I minored in Slavic studies and I was interested in the interrelations between the states and the EU superstructure, I knew pretty fast in which direction my Master’s should go.
Moreover, I wanted to study a Master’s program where empirical work is applied and which deals with contemporary issues. I have found this combination at the FU. 

What is your personal assessment of the Master’s program (organization of the teaching, structure, tutoring, cooperation with other institutions, etc.)?

Our class of 2011 was relatively small. Therefore the tutoring by the faculty members was much more intense than what I was used to during my undergraduates. The cooperation with DIW and WZB was of course fantastic – I could gain insights into research practice that will not be possible within a standard academic routine.

When and how did you choose your current profession? Did you realize your plans from the time of your studies?

Actually, after graduating I knew only that I want to work empirically, ideally with data. In addition, I am politically interested and I have worked in South Africa in an NGO before. This sector looked attractive to me as a future work field. In my current profession I combine working with data and consulting NGOs.

What in your opinion is the most important thing for your work that you learned during your studies? What do you still profit from?

Definitely the ability to see not only the data but also the people behind it! It includes also the competence to interpret the data and to assess them in relation to one another.

Which additional qualifications should one gain as a student that are crucial or useful for your current profession?

In my daily tasks I use SPSS 80% of the time. I also use software like MS Excel or Power Point to visualize the results

What advice would you give the freshman students who would like to pursue a similar career?

You should generally attend courses on SPSS and statistics and work empirically during the research practicum, optimally with SPSS too.