Lisbeth Fogh Grove is a Project Portfolio Manager at PKA A/S, Pension Funds Administration Ltd. Lisbeth graduated from the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, with a PhD degree in astrophysics. The topic of her thesis was Construction and Photometric Investigations of the EIS Cluster Candidate Catalog.

Please give a description of the work you do in your current position.

In my current position I develop methods for managing projects and for managing the project portfolio in collaboration with our provider of IT and pension services. In addition, I support the management in managing the project portfolio. The job includes quite a lot of analysis and presentation work to support decisions and method development.

How do you use the skills you learned as a physicist or engineer in your work?

Many competencies acquired in physics studies as well as research projects are valuable in many industries.

The ability to dive into new areas and establish an overview and at the same time understanding the details are key to starting up work on new topics. The experience in analyzing based on hypotheses to focus the analysis and presentation is also very valuable. Planning my own research projects and carrying out the work, taught me to work independently also in new areas. When I first left academia, it was focused on my programming skills as well as my project management experience.

What made you decide to pursue a career in the private industry?

When I had my first child, I realized that being a mother for me did not comply with lots of travelling and having to apply for new post doc positions quite frequently. Therefore, I was looking for a permanent position with less travelling. This was very difficult to fulfill within the research environment. Therefore, I started investigating other options. I started searching for positions where my competencies from research could play a major role in fulfilling the requirements. This led my focus towards IT test management. During my carrier I slowly moved towards project and portfolio management.

What motivated you to study physics or engineering in the first place?

My curiosity about what is in the big cosmos. In addition, I have always enjoyed math and physics, thus the direction of physics and astronomy was an easy choice for me.  

What advice would you give to young people (in particular women and minorities) who would like to pursue a career in the private industry? 

Go for it. A lot of competencies from the field of research and methods from the education itself are valuable in many industries. When searching for the right job for you, look for your interests and what fits into your situation of life. When you have found the area you would like to get into, try to investigate what is the job content, and which of the competencies you already possess. In working with the application, describe to your future employer how you match the competencies. If you think the employer is not very used to hiring researchers, you should invest energy in describing what you can add to the company.