After my bachelor’s degree I was keen to do an internship in Asia and applied to a number of companies with sites in Asia. Evonik quickly accepted my application and soon I went for a 5-month internship in Evoniks Project House for Light and Electronics in Hsinchu (Taiwan). To make the transition to a foreign culture as smooth as possible, every intern was given a Rookie Guide in which previous interns describe their own experiences; this was incredibly useful. I can say that in general I was very warmly received and had a fantastic time doing exciting research. I was very impressed by the international collaboration.
After completing the coursework for my master’s degree I thought back to my time in Taiwan and directly asked my former colleagues whether it would be possible to work on my master’s thesis in the Center for Light and Electronics (CLE), which in the meantime had been transferred to the Segment “Resource Efficiency”. Relatively quickly and easily I got the opportunity to work for Evonik on a Creavis project and do the research for my master’s thesis there.
Even before starting with my master’s thesis in Taiwan, I had already decided to continue afterwards and investigate a subject in depth and gain a doctorate. While working on my master’s I learned about the possibility of an industry-sponsored doctorate at Evonik. A great opportunity to gain practical experience in the company and at the same time develop expertise in a particular topic. From that point onward I actively worked toward making this possibility a reality; thanks to my supervisor and the head of the CLE, the opportunity was given to me and I was accepted as a doctoral candidate in Taiwan.
Through the international networking within the Group I then got the chance to transfer to Creavis, Evonik’s central research unit and a driver of innovation in the Group, and do my doctoral research there. I’ve now been back in Germany for a year and am very happy with the way things have turned out. Working in an environment of young colleagues with links throughout the entire Group is highly enjoyable, and discussions with them spark off many ideas for my work. I can’t wait to see how my professional career will develop in the future. On the basis of my own experience I can strongly recommend a period of work abroad, and if I got another opportunity I’d happily work abroad again.
The overall lessons I learned were that personal commitment, ambition, and the right network are all needed for continuing development and that Evonik—and in particular Creavis—offers a great environment for that.