August 15, 2013

Career Spotlight: Victoria Hala

Victoria Hala

Today in conversation with: Mag.(FH) Victoria Hala, MSc (Project Assistant, tatwort), Alumna MSc „Renewable Energy in Central & Eastern Europe“ Class 2010-2012s

Your first academic degree was a Master in „Communication Management“ at the University of Applied Sciences for Management and Communication in Vienna. Then you were employed as a PR consultant at a PR agency. How did you come across TU Vienna and the MSc program „Renewable Energy in Central & Eastern Europe“?

As I worked in a very small team in my first job after studying Communication  Management I had the opportunity to develop very quickly and gain working experience very fast. Everyone was responsible for everything. After approximately two years I had a feeling, that I had to develop one step further, to use my skills more focussed on topics which meet my interests. I was alway curious about sustainability and my aim was to find a job, where I can use both scientific fields, maybe even combined. Very quickly I found out, that sustainable development is extremely dependent on sustainable solutions in energy matters. I knew that this study would be the right choice to meet my personal and professional targets.

 „Communication Management“ and „Renewable Energy“ – an unusual combination. What did you expect from the MSc program? Have your expectations been met?

At first glance the combination of these studies may seem strange but in the CV it stands out – I received much positive feedback on it. At tatwort Nachhaltige Projekte I now have the possibility to work for both disciplines – communications within the field of sustainability and research projects in the field of renewable energy. During the project Plus-Energy-Check, for example, a software is being developed,  which helps evaluating fast and easily how buildings can reach “plus-energy” standard. Within the project Biogas Smart Business the team tried to develop alternative business models for operators of biogas plants. The project PV-roof garden just started a view months ago and will be specifically interesting. The consortium consists of different partners from research and industry and develops integrated modular concepts for a combinated use of the roof as living-space, green-roof and for renewable electricity production through photovoltaic. I reached my goal – to work on both disciplines in the same job.

In your class at the MSc program female students had a share of 20 %. What advices would you want to give to young female colleagues for their career?

I would recommend being self-confident and breaking through conventional thought patterns. I remember attending a presentation about the future of energy grids at Wien Energie. Including myself there were two women surrounded by grey men's suits. Women can also be interested in technical fields. I remember being asked by friends, and even at the application interview, if this is quite complicated and how I can manage learning technical staff without having the basis for it. But women have different skills to men and in my opinion the branch realises this and increasinlgy demands for it. As a woman you stand out of the crowd at some events within the field of renewable energy. But women should see it as advantage and avoid wearing grey female costumes at such events :).

You´ve been of the three youngest participants in your class. How did you benefit from the program personally (networking, management of relationships)?

I really enjoyed the numerous excursions to different plants where we were able to learn how renewable energy is being generated. Within almost every project in my job I meet people from my studies: lecturers suddenly become partners in projects. That is what I like in Austria – the size of branches are limited and once you built up your network you can rely on it.  

What career plans do you have for the next 3-5 years?

I would like to sharpen my qualifications in the field of renewable energy with the work experience I gain during the projects I work on. Regarding my competences I see myself in a leading position in project management.

If you had the chance to rule the world for one day, what would you change?

One day ist not enough to make the world more sustainable. For such a process strategic perspectives, plans and honest, realistic targets as well as integrated expertise of different disciplines are needed. You need someone, who brings all relevant stakeholders together and who maintains an overview on the process. If I had the chance to rule the world for one day, I would try to bring together experts, opinion leaders and deciders of the whole world (and I really mean of every country) on one table to develop together a strategic sustainable way for our single world, which allows different needs of development of different countries.

(Interview dtd. August 09, 2013)

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