Human of #univie Maria: “Many building blocks give rise to career aspirations”

“Starting with English and American studies – ending up in IT. The path in-between has taught me a lot, was challenging and definitely not something you can plan in advance. The University of Vienna has shaped my professional career from the very beginning. I started as a student in English and American Studies and took some detours until I began as an administrative employee with the University of Vienna. In hindsight, my job as product owner at the Teaching Affairs and Student Services unit turned out to be a stepping stone for a career in an executive position in the publishing industry.

But back to the beginning: As it is the case with most of my fellow students, my passion for languages and my strong interest in the Anglo-American culture ever since I was a teenager motivated me to enrol in the degree programme in English and American Studies. I did not study with a specific profession in mind. I was rather convinced that my future profession would simply “spring up” from my studies.

My stay as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant at Linfield College in Oregon between the bachelor’s and the master’s programme has reinforced me in continuing with my studies. The international environment opened up unexpected job opportunities which brought me back to square one – everything seemed possible again. I had gained knowledge of internal processes and procedures as an employee with an SSC. As a result, the University of Vienna put me in charge of a u:space sub-project (the tool  ‘Schulpraxis Lehramt’ (teaching practice for future teachers)) as product owner. As a former student, I was excited to take a look behind the scenes of the University. As an administrative employee, I became a fan of the University of Vienna, in particular of the many employees who work hard every day to fulfil the mammoth task of managing the largest university in the German-speaking area in Europe following high digital standards.

As product owner, I delved into the world of agile software development. From the very start, I appreciated the focus on collaboration and interdisciplinarity and was, in particular, able to apply the skills that I had acquired during my studies, such as preparing new content using suitable frameworks. Getting to know the language of developers was a fascinating task for me as an Anglicist. It allowed me to delve into a world that was previously unknown to me. Due to the good collaboration with my colleagues in IT, I learned to appreciate their approaches and mindsets which I consider essential for developing and pursuing common objectives. I have recently obtained an executive position in a publishing house. With lots of curiosity and great expectations, I am now about to open the door to yet another new world. I have learned from personal experience that a successful career does not necessarily have to correspond to your greatest wish in childhood. My experience has taught me that career aspirations are based on and develop from many decisions and small building blocks. Therefore, I would like to encourage students in the humanities, in particular, to open doors to the unknown and confidently apply their valuable personal skills.” – Maria Teufl

Maria studied English and American Studies at the University of Vienna.



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