Alice Comi, Associate Professor, Tongji University


Servizio alumni

21 Febbraio 2022

In order to help current students and recent graduates to find their way in the working world, many of our alumni shared their career story. Here the story of Alice Comi, Associate Professor at Tongji University, Shanghai (CN). USI Degrees: PhD in Communication (2012), Master in Corporate Communication (2008) and Bachelor in Communication (2005).

How did you start your career?

My academic career started at USI, with a PhD in Communication Sciences. After graduation, I held academic positions at the University of Reading (UK), Aalto University (Finland), and Kingston University (UK). I recently moved to China to take up a new challenge as an Associate Professor at Tongji University, in the College of Design and Innovation.

Why did you choose a career at Tongji University?

My research explores the intersection of business and design, with a focus on the role of visual artefacts (e.g. sketches) in practices of designing and organizing. Hence, an academic position in the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University is a perfect fit to my research interests. It also provides me with a unique opportunity to learn about business and design in the Chinese context.

What is your current role/duties?

As an Associate Professor in the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University, I am responsible for carrying out research and teaching activities. I also serve as the Assistant Managing Editor of SheJi: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation.

In your opinion, what are the qualities necessary for a successful career at Tongji University?

I believe dedication and perseverance are necessary for an academic career. The College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University, in
particular, values commitment to continuous learning and social impact - as reflected by its motto "To learn and create, for a meaningful life and a better world."

What positive aspects and qualities meant most to you during the study programme you attended?

The PhD in Communication Sciences at USI enabled me to pursue my research interests in the visual aspects of organizational work. I especially valued the interdisciplinary character of research and teaching at USI, which enabled me to see and explore things from different angles.

What competences and/or skills acquired in your USI Study Program have been useful/are useful to your professional career?

The methodological foundations provided by doctoral courses at USI are especially useful. I also benefited from the possibility to spend time at other universities as a visiting PhD Student.

What is your advice to USI students entering the job market?

Here's some advice to enter the academic job market (after completion of your doctoral studies):

  • Focus on research that is both meaningful to you, and impactful for society
  • Be prepared to present your job market paper clearly and concisely
  • Engage in teaching opportunities (if possible earn a teaching qualification)
  • Build a strong network (both online and offline)
  • Get expert feedback on your application materials.