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On Planet Mars

Evelyne Jardin, translation by Cynthia Schoch

Sophie Kergoat, PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of Paris 5, took part in the "new chapter in the Thesis". She is now head of the cognitive sciences department for Mars Inc. in Belgium.

In her pre-doctorate life, Sophie resembled the heroine of the comic strip Natacha. Like her, she was an airline stewardess. But Sophie grew tired of airports and decided to go back to school. She got bitten by the research bug in the first year of her doctoral studies, but wanted to stay in contact with real life. So she formed an association with the company Generation 5 and Berchet (since then absorbed by the Majorette/Smoby group) in the framework of RIAM (network for research and innovation in audiovisual and multimedia) on the theme “New Technologies, New Knowledge: Multimedia Adapted to Early Childhood.”

As she was finishing her PhD, Sophie got ready to enter the professional world by multiplying contacts and broadening her network. In particular, she took part in a Doctoriales session and the “new chapter in the thesis” program. The task of gathering information and doing further training before defending her thesis ended up paying off, because Sophie was hired by the multinational Mars Inc. as she was writing a thesis, having answered a job offer published on the RISC (Relais d’information sur les sciences de la cognition) website.

The only human sciences PhD in a multidisciplinary team of researchers that deals with implementing scientific methodology for the company’s benefit, Sophie’s work involves taking charge of all projects that require expertise in cognitive science or psychology (consumer behavior, effective advertising), while at the same time overseeing a few in-house projects on the company culture.