- Nationality: Uzbekistan
- Age: 26
- Field of study: Health Economics
- Current employer: Erasmus School of Economics
- Current position: PhD candidate
Why I started my career in the Netherlands
As an Uzbek native, I completed my undergraduate studies at the WIUT in Tashkent. During this time, I cherished the urge to explore new frontiers and develop myself. Moreover, a number of experiences had sparked my interest in social sciences research. Thus, a master’s degree in the US or Europe seemed a compelling opportunity!
In pursuit of these aspirations, I grew acquainted with the University of Groningen and the Research Master programme they offer. The combination of high quality education, an inspiring and supportive study community, cosy Dutch canals, charming bookshops/cafés and altogether rich cultural experience definitely won me over.
The past two years have only whet my appetite for more Dutchie goodness. The area of health economics meanwhile captivated my interest, so when I got an offer to pursue a PhD programme on the topic of Gene-Environment Interplay in the Generation of Health and Education Inequalities at the Erasmus School of Economics, I wholeheartedly accepted the offer. I am excited to start with the project!
A typical work week
Since I am joining the department only in September, I can only speak of my expectations, but no harm in an educated guess! Overall it should be rather dynamic and varied, spanning analysing complex economic, health, and genetic data, teaching interesting courses, and collaborating with an international and interdisciplinary team and sourcing inspiration from visits of fellow institutions to bridge knowledge gaps. Fun!
As it innovatively fuses genetics and social science research, I consider my upcoming PhD project on Gene-Environment Interplay in the Generation of Health and Education Inequalities to be one of the coolest and incredibly exciting projects. It encompasses riveting questions about the course of human life, such as ‘’why do some of us die earlier than others?’’, ‘’why are some of us healthier than others?’’ and explores the interplay between economic and genetic theory for answers, on grounds of which a debate on effective policy can be staged.
I am thrilled to work with some of the best experts in the fields of health economics, genetic epidemiologists, psychologists and biologists. Surely, I will learn a lot and such collaboration will bring about many more developments. I can keep you updated! :)
What I like about the Dutch work mentality
What struck me about the Dutch is their thoroughness and efficiency. These are traits I have grown to admire – they appear so invested in their duties and causes! In addition, the Dutch culture taught me to value others time within and outside the professional environment, i.e. schedule appointments, prepare for them, and make the best of your time. That just makes good sense.
My career advice to you
First, as clichéd as it sounds, our jobs occupy a large part of our days. So, make sure that when you wake up in the morning what you do for a living makes you excited about your day. How to go about that? Interning and volunteering experience are the way to go!
Lastly, do listen to others’ advice, but ultimately write your own story. And do so with aplomb. Do not let anybody belittle your ambitions, but instead, as Mark Twain put it, surround yourself with others that make you feel that you, too, can become great.
So, dare to apply to places even if you have been told it’s impossible to make it there and be ready for ups and downs. Getting an offer is sometimes a stroke of luck, a miracle, but most of the times it is hard work, perseverance and sheer courage to click that “submit” button – remember: you are already ahead of everyone who didn’t make it to that button in the first place!
Diversify your options. Everyone has that dream place where they always wanted to work. What if you get disappointed with it after the first interview? So, explore different places, compare the style of communication, attitudes, and work ethic against your preferences. Make informed choices.
And be yourself. It is impossible to fake it through 3-4 rounds of interviews and psychological/cognitive assessments. And if you think you can, switch up your life and become an actor instead. You’d enjoy that more! ;)
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