Three Questions to LH Alumna Maria Olivares

  1. If you could choose only one piece of advice to give to students and/or doctoral students, who have their first day at university, what would you tell them?

Enjoy this phase of intensive learning, be open-minded, be confident but also critical with your own work. Reflect well the work of others, look actively for interdisciplinary collaboration, exchange with students and researchers within and outside of your university and engage with the science community.


  1. To what extent can you use skills and knowledge that you acquired during your doctorate at your current job? 

The analytical skillset together with curiosity helps me to interact, discuss, collaborate and find solutions in manifold projects with players from different backgrounds (academics, business people, r&d labs, industry partners) and from various research areas such as economics, computer sciences, engineering and life and natural sciences. This is true for both, my current job as Innovation Officer at the University of Zurich but also my former job when I worked as Technology Transfer Manager for Disney Research.


  1. 3. If you could choose one research finding in the field of education economics that changed the way you look at things, what would it be?

Universities should rethink and consider benchmarking and respective techniques as valuable tools, because the techniques provide a starting point to learn about determining factors of higher education institutions’ environments though initially based on numerical results. In this perspective, universities are encouraged to look into their institutional settings, to observe organizational differences, but also to learn from the best, to learn from their competitors and to identify of what they do differently. In a nutshell, benchmarking enables universities both to position themselves in the increasingly competitive environment and to set a reference by playing a role as active influencer and driver of new university management.