By: Local CommUnity in Barcelona
As the year marked by the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic drew to a close, our CommUnity members were still energized and ready to keep the year of events going strong before the Christmas break rolled around. Realizing that many EIT InnoEnergy master’s students were having trouble finding ideas for internships, boot camps, summer schools and other ways beyond studies to strengthen their careers, the local CommUnity members proposed the “Alumni Return of Experience” event to help their community find those missing pieces of the puzzle.
Five former EIT InnoEnergy master’s students joined us to share their journeys through the program and beyond. Some had joined the EIT InnoEnergy program after deep personal reflection on their sense of purpose, and all of them found an environment where their personal goals saw fulfilment. While each speaker had their own piece to say on what they valued in the program, the common themes always included the people they work with, their professors and classmates. We are surrounded by people with a common vision of a clean and sustainable world. Working together is always invigorating since we collaborate in a friendly atmosphere. Even after going out into the working world, in our offices, in conferences and in seminars, when we come across others who have gone through the EIT InnoEnergy program, we can be certain that they share this vision.
Another valuable part of the program is the variety of projects we can work on and trips we can take to other universities. There are opportunities to get in touch with many groups, such as Engineers Without Borders, particularly in Stockholm. We can choose to do our master’s thesis anywhere. Besides, the projects we work on have a variety of real-world stakeholders. When interviewing for jobs, our alumni realized that all these international experiences on different projects with different stakeholders are definitely valued in the job market. We should not underestimate our experiences, but instead, we should be sure to utilize them to help us land our dream jobs.
Finally, our alumni shared several tips for current students. Ask yourself what drives you, what motivates you and what your visions are. Choose your master’s thesis wisely: when asked for examples of your work, your master’s thesis result will be one of the first things you can talk about. Meanwhile, the thesis is the opportunity to explore the subject you are passionate about and gain a firm grasp on the tools you need to do that. Don’t overthink your ‘difficult’ choices. Let your instinct guide you instead. Keep building a profile that matches the career you want to pursue. At the same time, don’t close your mind to opportunities outside the energy sector. Be curious, active and open to experience during any activity - you’ll often come away with a contact, an idea, a friend or even just an enjoyable time. Talk to everyone without being afraid that you’re bothering someone. Many people are happy to talk about what they know and share their knowledge.
In terms of concrete action, multitasking (at least, handling multiple responsibilities) is definitely a necessity in this master’s program. We only have one summer as a student, and so we should be sure to use it properly by getting exposure to the industry through internships and projects. There are many hackathons being held every year- participate in them. They bring out valuable skills to initiate, take responsibility, solve problems and speak about your solutions on stage. They help develop a competitive mindset, teamwork even with strangers, and strong network building.
Each one of the speakers emphasized the importance of building our networks, which will be the source of many ideas and much of our success. Organizing this speaker event has itself been a great opportunity to network with alumni. Furthermore, our speakers were happy to remain available over email for the event participants to reach out to them afterwards. Their helpfulness and enthusiasm perfectly illustrate what makes the EIT InnoEnergy ecosystem so supportive for the innovators of tomorrow.