In this edition of our alumni spotlights, current Hedda master student Enzo Rossi has asked a few questions from Jelena Branković, who is a Hedda HEEM programme graduate from 2010.
Jelena Branković is currently a PhD student at the Centre for Higher Education Governance Ghent (CHEGG), at Ghent University. She graduated from the Higher Education Master Programme (HEEM) jointly delivered by the University of Oslo, the University of Tampere, and the University of Aveiro in 2010 and holds a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature obtained from the University of Belgrade.
After obtaining Master’s in Higher Education, she was a researcher at the Centre for Education Policy in Belgrade, where she focused on higher education in the Western Balkans. She joined the CHEGG team in November 2013. In the interview Jelena reflects on her Master programme experience and the role it played in her career so far.
What made you choose the Master programme in Higher Education?
I used to be involved in the Student Union while at the University of Belgrade. That is when I became interested in all sorts of issues related to higher education. After graduation I got my first higher education related job, I became the national coordinator of the European Union’s Tempus programme in Serbia, which is a programme supporting higher education reforms through international cooperation. It was at that point I realised that if I wanted to pursue a career in higher education, I needed to deepen and broaden my knowledge. That is how I ended up in HEEM.
How has what you learned within the Higher Education programme helped you in your career?
First, it helped me better understand my prior experience, which I think was crucial, especially in the beginning. It also helped me decide what I wanted to do in higher education, because there are so many things one can do. For instance, you can work as a policy maker or policy adviser, you can work in university management or administration, you can do research on higher education, you can be a consultant in higher education projects, and so on. Perhaps it was because I found research as something closer to my aspirations, or it was the fact that HEEM programme was more geared towards that type of career, I eventually decided to pursue the research path. And I think that the master programme was an excellent starting point for such a career. Upon graduation I was offered a research position at the Centre for Education Policy in Belgrade where I spent three and a half years working in the field of higher education. Doing a PhD was an obvious next step. Today when I look back at what HEEM gave me, I feel very thankful.