24 March 2015

New forum for dialogue between business leaders and graduates in political science


The Department of Political Science has established a Business Forum with representatives from the Danish business community. The aim is to encourage co-operation between business leaders, educators and students on how to improve the job opportunities in the private sector for graduates with a degree in political science.

- It is a very positive step that graduates in political science are beginning to look towards the private sector. There is no longer the same growth in employment in the public sector as there has been historically, and this means that more graduates of political science in the future will look for new career paths instead of following the traditional path into public administration, says Jens Søndergaard, Senior Vice President, J. Lauritzen.  

Graduates from Political Science provide brain power

Jens Søndergaard is one of the members of a new Business Forum at the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. He looks forward to welcoming more graduates from Political Science into the private sector. In his opinion the Danish business community needs the knowledge and skills graduates in political science can provide. However, he also sees a need for the job seekers to be better equipped for the job market in the private sector.

Recently, Jens Søndergaard and three other business leaders – Inge Berneke, Egon Zehnder International, Poul Blaabjerg, Danish Centre for Leadership and Carsten Stendevad, ATP – started the debate on what is needed to get more graduates from the Department of Political Science into positions in the private sector.

General management tools needed

At the first panel debate on the 18th March researchers and educators from the Department showed up to exchange experiences with the business leaders and to exchange views on the educational substance of the Political Science programme and the expectations of the private sector regarding the graduates’ qualifications.

How to prepare the graduates to meet the needs of the private sector became a focal point of the discussion. The message to the representatives of the Political Science Department from Carsten Stendevad, CEO, ATP, was:

- You should focus your education on political science, which you are the best at, while providing your students with a set of general management tools. Most of their career will be about skills other than those they get from the university, he said.

Chinese wall between sectors in Denmark

Inge Berneke, Partner in the consultant company Egon Zehnder International, emphasized that Denmark has built what looks like a Chinese wall between the public and the private sector:

- In Denmark it is difficult to change career path from the public to the private sector and the other way around. Therefore, the young graduates’ first job is of critical importance to their future career, said Inge Berneke.  

The business leaders agreed that this kind of wall between the public and private sectors does not exist to the same extent in most other western countries. According to Poul Blaabjerg, CEO, Danish Centre for Leadership, who had the following message for graduates from Political Science, we should tear down the wall and start building bridges across the two sectors instead:

- Society needs bridge builders between the public and the private sector, and we need you  – with your knowledge of the public sector and political science – to be those bridge builders, he requested.

Business leaders meet students this autumn

A meeting with the business leaders and the students of Political Science is to be arranged this autumn. In the future the Business Forum will schedule two meetings on a yearly basis with its members; business leaders, educators, and students from the Department of Political Science.

Head of Department Lars Bo Kaspersen
Department of Political Science
Mobil: +45 31 24 61 61