Interview with a graduate in Cognition and Communication

David Rasmussen graduated in Cognition and Communication in 2011. He is now working at the bank Nordea in the center of Copenhagen as a Digital Communication Developer. He decided to study a Master’s degree in Cognition and Communication when he realized that he had a growing interest in digital communication. Additionally he saw possibilities with the Master’s interdisciplinarity.

Why did you choose to study a Master in Cognition and Communication?
”Well, I already had a bachelor degree in Sociology and a few courses in Psychology too. I found out that I really liked this interdisciplinary approach to the human-computer relationship. When I read about Cognition and Communication I found that this Master offered such an approach and that is why I decided to study it”.

Have you in your professional career benefitted from studying an English taught Master's?
“Definitely. The corporate language in Nordea (and other large leading organisations) is English so that way around it is a benefit. You get very comfortable with writing in English when you write all the assignments and all the exams in English. In addition, another great benefit you get from studying an international Master's degree is a cultural awareness”.

What was the first job you got after you graduated and how did you get it?
”While being a student I had a student job for three years. It was in a company called International Health Insurance BUPA and I worked there with online communication and digital development. The company, however, ran into a hiring freeze so they only had project based positions. Even though I loved working there I felt like it was time for me to move on and then I got my dream job at Nordea”.

"Another great benefit you get from studying an international Master's degree is a cultural awareness.

What do you do in your job?
”I work with digital development and digital innovation in a department called Brokerage Solutions. If you are a customer in Nordea you can manage your investments in some of our online platforms. My department has the responsibility for these platforms so we are the ones who manage them, develop the concepts of them and so on. You could say that I work in the tension between the business and IT. Furthermore I’m responsible for an online educational section where we teach customers about investing”.

What is the main challenge you have encountered in your job?
”Well, since I don’t have a financial background I guess that the main challenge is a lack of financial knowledge. However if you look at it from a different angel, it is also a huge benefit to have an educational background like mine because you have the possibility to work in many different industries”.

What was the main challenge you encountered when you went from being a student to having a full time job?
”The biggest challenge was that you, at work, often go less in detail with different tasks than what is possible at the university. To some extent I also felt like I used my academic skills less than I had hoped for. However, although I did not use all the specific skills I had learnt during my Master’s degree, studying Cognition and Communication has influenced the way I approach, understand and solve tasks in my job. On a completely different level the lack of spare time took some time to get used to. But the good thing is that when I’m off work I’m really off”.

What is your career advice for future students who are going to study a Master's degree like you?
”I would highly recommend getting a relevant student job during your Master. It makes a huge difference. Some people have a tendency to get too caught up in their studies and having a student job alongside your study helps you back down to earth again”.

Interview December 2014.