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Academic competences in practice

Brief description

In this activity, the students will increase their knowledge of different career paths for graduates from their degree programme. They must therefore contact and interview a member of staff in their department and a number of alumni from their degree programme. This will help them gain an insight into their academic competences and in career path options both within the university and in business and industry.

Motivation for the exercise and required outcome

The purpose of this initiative is to give the students an insight into their own academic competences and an understanding of the career paths to which their programme might lead. This provides them with concrete role models and contributes to their sense of direction in their studies. Through this activity the students gain an insight into career path options within and outside of a university context, and they discover the relevance of their degree programme to their future career. At the same time, they meet relevant people who can act as professional role models, and they get an idea of the structure of the department, which may contribute to their overall insight into their own degree programme.

Performing the exercise

  • You as a teacher must make appointments with both permanent staff at the department and alumni in business and industry, e.g. former students in jobs that are relevant to students in the programme. This forms the entire point of departure for the remaining elements in the activity, which may take place in the following three parts:
  • Part 1: Introduction and question construction
    • Divide the students into groups and assign to each group a permanent member of staff from the department and alumni in jobs.

    • Ask the students to identify who their assigned individuals are and what their jobs are. You may provide the students with a list of the questions they must answer. Such questions may be:

      • Where did the person study, and where do they work today?

      • What does the person do in their job, and which path did the person take to get this job?

      • How does the person use their academic skills in their present job?

  • Part 2: Group work in activities between sessions

  • Ask the students to research for information about their assigned person in for instance websites and on LinkedIn. Following this, they must contact the person.
  • The students must then prepare presentations, including slides, about their assigned individuals, which must be submitted and shared with the entire class.

  • Part 3: Presentations in class

    • The students make presentations in class. Once all the presentations have been made, you may facilitate a follow-up session in which the students reflect on and discuss differences in the presentations of people from inside and outside of the university world, and how they see themselves in the future.


  • Alternatively, you may ask the students to find a person with a job that is relevant for their degree programme. This will teach them both how to make contact and to reflect on possible career paths. This may be facilitated as a preliminary brainstorming exercise for the activity.
  • You may ask the students to construct the interview questions.


    Examples of practice

      Links and materials for this activity:

      Worth considering:

      • Is it your aim that the students should gain knowledge about a wide range of future job options or greater insight into the department and the academic experts in the degree programme?
      • How independently should the students work in their search for academic experts and alumni and with their construction of interview questions?
      • How do you want the students to sum up and possibly continue working with the information they have gathered?