Careers

Natalia Becker - chemistry and statistics? The perfect combination.

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I have always looked around me to see if I could spot something exciting. That is how I found the job that fits me perfectly and that I love doing.

Natalia Becker

Senior Specialist Digitalization

After 13 years at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Natalia decided to join BASF. The Senior Specialist Digitalization contributes her statistical expertise to research and development, helping to speed up innovation and product optimization.

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in mathematics, but I didn’t know how to apply mathematics in practice. When I studied business mathematics in Karlsruhe, I finally discovered statistics for myself. I immediately found it exciting to recognize correlations from an initially meaningless and confusing data volume using statistical instruments, and to understand which things influence one another and in what form. I completed my doctorate at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, where I helped perform clinical trials and basic research in oncology as a doctoral student and later as a postdoc. When, after 13 years at the DKFZ, I accidentally discovered a job advertisement at BASF that was a perfect fit for me in terms of its content, I applied. Since then, I have been applying my statistical knowledge in research and development, e.g., by using predictive models to help find out which product parameters need to be adjusted in order to achieve the desired properties of the end product. The chemists “tick” very differently than the statisticians, but we quickly develop a common language and it works very well.

Since it’s hard for me to motivate myself when I don’t like doing something, I looked for a job with the potential to excite me early on. At the beginning of my studies, I therefore actively tested different directions: insurance didn’t grab me, neither did marketing, but statistics was perfect. I was not deterred by the different content of biology, medicine and chemistry, but always looked around me to see if I could spot something exciting. That’s how I found the job that suits me and that I enjoy doing.

As a statistician, in addition to the mathematical background, you need a lot of curiosity and also the talent to let the data speak and gain deeper insights and knowledge from the data. You do not work alone, but often with experts from other disciplines. That’s why you must be able to listen to others and to understand them.