Edith Head said that “You can have anything in life if you dress for it”. This is a sentence that I learned to appreciate after visiting the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) week in Barcelona. We visited the SCEWC during our first stop of the Entrepreneurship Journey in the Energy for Smart Cities Master programme.
As Engineering Master’s students we are used to working on intense technical challenges for multiple hours, we are used to writing technical reports and delivering numbers. We thought that applying Fourier’s law and using Lagrange’s theorem is enough to get us through anything.
The truth is, it is not. The truth is, we need to be able to speak to people in a language they understand, not assuming that everyone knows what derivation is. To combat this challenge InnoEnergy partnered up with several companies to mentor their students and support them.
Just like a child learning how to walk for the first time, we were taught how to act, speak and present ourselves in the business world. Several workshops were organised by the Master’s School, these included pitching, leadership, creativity and presentation. Furthermore, to help us approach companies, a special mentor showed us the best way to talk to representatives at the expo booths.
For the future entrepreneurs, Everis came through by arranging a meeting between experts and students. Following Warren Buffet’s “It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes”, Everis organised a meeting with the different teams and several experts with different backgrounds. The idea behind those meetings was to pitch the idea and getting feedback from the expert. For all of the teams this was a great experience, that allowed them to not only mitigate drastic mistakes but also to think about questions that we as students did not consider.
At the end of the week we presented our start-up proposals to a jury and reached the 1st runner-up place among 6 teams. Our team even won free tickets to the 4YFN start-up event in Barcelona and a free 30 minute coaching session in order to finetune our proposal even further.
At the end of this week, students were finally able to put on their suits and represent themselves in the best way possible, knowing exactly when and how to switch back to their jeans.