Natalie Berkman *18, FIT

Responsable Ingénierie Pédagogique (Instructional Design Manager), ESSEC Business School
Mentor, GradFUTURES Graduate Alum Mentorship Program
Alum-in-Residence (Summer 2023)

Natalie Berkman *18 earned a Ph.D. in French Literature, and was a University Administrative Fellow in the Center for Career Development (formerly Career Services), where she worked closely with the staff and with another UAF on employer outreach for the first graduate student career meetup.

Natalie is a higher education specialist, currently working as the Responsable Ingénierie Pédagogique (Instructional Design Manager) at ESSEC Business School. Prior to that, she was the Directrice pédagogique (Academic Manager) at SAE Institute Paris.

On Defining a Career Path off the Tenure Track:

"Like many Ph.D. candidates, I absolutely loved teaching — and especially to adult learners. Instructional design has allowed me to take all of the pedagogical training and experience I acquired during my Ph.D. and translate it into a new context, helping others teach better through designing instructional materials, implementing technology in the classroom, or even helping to create entirely asynchronous, eLearning experiences. This field combines so many of the skills we cultivate during the Ph.D.: project management, research, teaching, even storytelling! And what I love the most is getting to evaluate the impact that my work has on learners, which is often at a larger scale than with teaching an individual class."

"My UAF with Career Services not only gave me valuable experience in university administration, event organizing, and budget planning, but also opened my eyes and mind to the myriad of careers available to PhDs beyond the professoriate. Organizing the first Grad Student Career Meetup helped me to start picturing myself doing other things, and now I am happily managing all of the instructional design projects for the #2 business school in Paris!"

On the Power of the Graduate Alumni Network:

"The fact that this program puts alumni in one-to-one contact with current graduate students is such a strength! I remember when I was in the late stages of my degree, I would scour placement pages to see what types of careers others before me had found, but this information was often incomplete or discouraging. It was through speaking with PhDs off the tenure track that I was able to conceive of new career possibilities, but this almost never happened on campus while I was a student. I’m so grateful to the GradFUTURES team for creating such a robust network and for giving alumni like me a voice to tell current students that they can find fulfilling careers off the tenure track!" 

"Reflecting on my own career path, I’m one of the surprising few who has gotten every opportunity from cold sending a resume to a job ad. That said, my employers have recognized the value that I bring to organizations as a Princeton PhD, even abroad. Thanks to GradFUTURES, the alumni network is becoming more and more visible, and I’m able to envision even more opportunities while also sharing my story with current students."