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"In my work as a product development officer, no day is the same; I face new professional challenges every single day."

  • Martine Hagenes
    Photo
    Martine Hagenes

Martine Hagenes is from Nesodden, and took both her BSc and MSc in Food Science at NMBU. After her studies she accepted a job in Bergen at O. Kavli AS, where she works as a product development officer, primarily with processed cheese. 

"In my work as a product development officer, no day is the same; I face new professional challenges every single day."

Tell me a little about yourself. 

I am 24 years old and come from Nesodden. I have always been very interested in science and food, and food Sscience was therefore the perfect study choice for me. I took both my bahelor's and master's degrees at NMBU, and thrived during my study time at Ås. Now I live in Bergen and work as a product development officer for O. Kavli AS.

How did you become interested in dairy technology – why did you take your master's with this group?

When I began studying food science we were introduced to different disciplines within the food industry, and I quickly became interested in dairy technology. The reason for this was that I thought milk was a very exciting food, but also my interest was strengthened by the fact that there were skilled and dedicated lecturers in this field.

Cheese production in a dairy technology practical course. From left: Ingrid Røstad, Martine Hagenes, Jon Fredrik Rødbøl and Morten Lønvik.
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Martine Hagenes

Can you tell me a little about your master's thesis?

In my master's thesis I investigated different bacterial strains isolated from the udder microbiota, and their metabolism in milk. I primarily investigated the growth of lactic acid bacteria, but also a selection of pathogenic bacteria. My assignment included alot of work in the laboratory, and it was fun to set up my own experiment. The semester I wrote my thesis was the most demanding semester of my whole study time, but it was also very exciting and educational!

What are you doing now? Can you tell me about your journey here?

Now I am working as a product development officer for O. Kavli AS, and most of the work I do now is with processed cheese. The work involves developing new recipes, conducting taste tests on consumers, and alot of interdisciplinary cooperation in project teams. The job also gives me good opportunities for professional development. In my work as a product development officer, no day is the same; I face new professional challenges every single day. I love this! I got the job offer while I was writing my master's thesis, and have worked here since summer 2019.

Getting taste samples of Kavli processed cheese ready to be tested.
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Gry Aletta Bjørlykke, O. Kavli AS

What was the transition from student to working life like for you? How did your master's degree prepare you for the job you have today? 

The transition from student to working life went really well. I received good training at my workplace and felt welcome from day one. I feel that my studies have been very relevant for my job, and much of what I learned about product development and dairy technology I use on a daily basis. 

Processed cheese production in Kavli's pilot kitchen.
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Gry Aletta Bjørlykke, O. Kavli AS

If you hadn't started at O. Kavli AS, what else could you have considered? 

I think that working with food safety and quality sounds very exciting, and had I not worked with product development I could have considered working in that field. If I were to work in a different branch than what I do today I could consider working in the fishing industry.

Do you have any tips or advice to give to a student about study direction or master's program?

I recommend that you choose subjects that you really are interested in. The same goes for your choice of thesis. It's a thesis you will dedicate several months of your life to, so choose something you think is fun to work with.     

Taste evaluation in Kavli's sensory room.
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Gry Aletta Bjørlykke, O. Kavli AS

What about tips as far as a career further down the line?

I recommend starting your job search early. I found several exciting jobs already in the autumn before I was finished with my studies. Don't be afraid to start a job that seems challenging. You will get good training to succeed in the job!

Can you say something about career options for people with your educational background in Norway?  

All food manufacturers are dependent on professionals who are good at food safety and quality, and many companies invest heavily in the development of new foods. In addition, your education can open up possibilities to work in different industries. That's why I think that a degree in Food Science is a good choice, if you want to secure an exciting job after your studies. 

Interview edited for clarity and length.

Published 11. May 2020 - 13:22 - Updated 15. August 2020 - 17:57