EIT InnoEnergy Masters students from all over the globe wrapped up a specialised 12-month career coaching programme with an exclusive virtual summit – the EIT InnoEnergy Career Impact Challenge – during the Enlit Europe event. Assembled into teams based on their profiles and working closely with big industry players, these ambitious students had the opportunity to put their skills to the test to tackle real-life industry challenges!
We spoke with Career Centre Coordinator, Grace van den Boogaart, as well as some of this year’s participants and company representatives to get the inside view on how an event like this (and the programme behind it) can be a major step in the direction of their new career.
Grace shares how the programme came into existence: “The EIT InnoEnergy Career Impact Programme is a year-long professional development programme designed to prepare our students for, and give them a smooth transition into, the competitive job market. We combine one-on-one coaching and mentorship (alumni also offer their expertise in this role!), industry interaction and real-world exposure to complement the EIT InnoEnergy education – and it all culminates with the Career Impact Challenges.”
The Career Impact Challenges are an opportunity for students to also meet some of the most influential players in Europe’s energy scene “The most valuable aspect of the event is the networking. The students can connect to participating companies and those on the virtual networking platform from Enlit, where they can get inspired for thesis topics or innovation ideas. Putting a strong industry network in place now before you even graduate offers a great competitive advantage!” says Grace.
Usually hosted in some of the most stunning cities around the world (Vienna, Paris, Milan…), this year’s event brought together industry, academics and major European energy companies in a completely safe, unique online event. Students were able to put their learning into practice by teaming up to solve real-life challenges – gaining valuable teamwork experience and industry insights.
Some of this year’s challenges came directly from EIT InnoEnergy alumni. Such is the case of the involvement of Smart Innovation Norway through alumnus Farhan Farrukh. “After graduating from EIT InnoEnergy, I joined Smart Innovation Norway as researcher for Smart Energy Technologies. Currently, I am leading the piloting work for the E-LAND H2020 project. As part of the project there are several challenges related to sustainable business models. This year’s Career Impact Challenges was a great place to test the tool developed in E-LAND by Smart Innovation Norway in collaboration with University of St. Gallen.” Farhan explains.
Farhan continues: “I was highly impressed by the amount of creativity and uniqueness shown by the participants of the challenge. The winning team enabled a very unique concept of involving local pilot site community and developed a winning business model using BMI tool but another team also got recognition for using the existing systems on the pilot site of Norway to develop a unique business case. Next-up, both the teams are invited to be part of the Stakeholder Innovation Group (SIG) of the E-LAND H2020 project!”
Next to the challenges provided by Smart Innovation Journey and E-land, students also worked on cases from Enel and McKinsey Energy Insights.
While the actual winning teams earned valuable coaching sessions, invitations to join insider projects and other surprises (including having their winning idea being put to use as a possible real-life solution!) it’s clear that the experience itself and the valuable networking with other students and industry were a winning combination for all participants. These students, fresh from the event, shared their thoughts:
“We had a chance to interact with industry mentors, which was great. The challenge was not an easy one; however, we went through the design thinking process and came up with a winning idea as a result of our teamwork. This is what it takes in real-life – teamwork!” – Risvan Ubais, Master’s in Sustainable Energy Systems student
“The Career Impact Challenge 2020 has been a great wake-up from the rut of online-living, and I was glad to take part. It took hard work and restless collaboration from the team to be able to put together a winning business proposal. I am so very thankful to participate and see how such an event could be held successfully online!” – James Ryan Kronk, Master’s in Smart Electrical Networks & Systems student
“I believe the challenges of our time won’t be solved with single great ideas, but with a progressive and continuous creative thinking process. This is exactly what the CIC promotes. Thank you for this opportunity!” – Sergio Nova, Master’s in Renewable Energy student
This type of event – offering real-life experience, skills sharpening, and a network of industry players already in place before graduation – is a great way to have a leg up in your future career!
Learn how EIT InnoEnergy Career Centre helps our students hit the ground running.