The EIT Digital Alumni Foundation established a new board this summer. The first mission of the new board members is to restore the engagement of the alumni community after the COVID-19 situation.
What do the new Alumni Board members say about their experience, motivation, and plans for the upcoming two years?
Jeroen van Lent - President
“The EIT Digital Master School is a perfect opportunity to meet like-minded international people. It is such a great thing to be surrounded by people who come from all around the world, who are smart and have great ideas. Everyone has great stories.
I think our biggest achievement is that, despite the pandemic, we have managed to organise various events. We were able to quickly adjust and come up with new online formats we had no experience with before. We hosted, for example, a successful online hackathon and launched the concept of Tuesday Afterworks. We need to show everyone that we still have what it takes to organise events, that we are not just online, but that you can also meet alumni in person.
In the future, we will combine offline and online events to reach all our alumni who are living around the world. This is one of the steps towards a new vision of the EIT Digital Alumni Foundation. We hope to expand to new locations where we do not have a presence yet to expand our reach. It is interesting to have people in places that go beyond the natural reach of the EIT Digital ecosystem.”
Read more about Jeroen, his career path and experience in this article.
Júlia Hermann - Secretary
"Having worked as a financial analyst, I soon realised I don’t have a passion for finance. I felt like I wanted to build something cool and saw great potential in software and digital. That’s when I decided to change my career. Having studied at the EIT Digital Master School, I have wide range of possibilities to work in different industries and in different countries. Because of the international aspect, I feel like a European citizen who has options all over Europe. It empowered me with the freedom to work on projects I care about and helped me grow in my career.
At first I wasn’t really engaged with the Alumni foundation. I was just too excited that I was studying at the EIT Digital Master School. When I studied in Trento, I became more curious. At the Annual Meeting in Porto, it was clear to me that it was a cool community of which I wanted to be part of and to contribute to.
For me, the alumni foundation is about the individual connections between people. In the coming two years, I will try to focus to strengthen one on one connections within our community. In a time where organising big events is not easy, building these connections between alumni is key. The biggest benefit is the networking aspect. If you register on our website, you have the option to connect with others. We are also trying to help members in fulfilling their career aspirations. We have a job portal, as well where they can look for and publish jobs. And we are in contact with companies to get discounts for career counselling services. We have a good value proposition for our partners: they can tap into a valuable market of over 1000 digital innovators across the globe.”
Read more about Julia in the full article here.
Anna Prudnikova - Marketing and Communication Officer
“The EIT Digital Alumni Foundation is all about network and knowledge, you need that in your life. The focus is to keep in touch with the people you met and enlarge your network. The Alumni Foundation is about people. We also promote knowledge sharing and promote stories of successful alumni. Unfortunately, due to Corona the engagement in the network is lower than before. The number of people that are willing to go to online events is low.
The EIT Digital Master School gave me so much. The fact that I am here, having my job is thanks to EIT Digital. This is a way of giving back. EIT Digital has been supporting me from the very beginning. I always felt that EIT Digital has my back. First, you get support from the university representative of EIT Digital and on top of that, you can get support from the EIT Digital Master School Office. I was a very technical person but being among younger students pushed me to take responsibility, the education model challenged me to speak up and do presentations. Learning these skills have been very decisive for the future. I am using these a lot now at my work. I am surrounded by technical people who do not have so many soft skills and that gave me a faster career boost.
I like to do something that makes a difference. I want people to be more engaged and see the same as I have learned at the master school: people are so different and yet still the same. Having friends from all over the world opens up your mind.”
Learn more about Anna’s life and career in this article.
Jaakko Laiho - Treasurer
“This is the community that I wanna be a part of. The mission speaks to me. The networking aspect makes sense. Both professionally speaking and personal. You meet similar people and are making friends. I like to contribute to the board so I can help people who had the same challenges as I had. The EIT Digital Alumni community resonates well with me. It helps alumni who move to places where they have no friends yet.I like to be supporting other students and alumni to join the community as well. The alumni community is quite special; we have members throughout the globe on all continents. I want to be supportive to this community.
My purpose is to gain operational experience in running a business, in this case, a foundation. The learning curve as a treasurer is interesting. The challenge is going forward. Towards the end of my bachelor I had the understanding that industrial engineering management is not my passion so I was looking for alternative directions. I found a flyer in the university hall about the EIT Digital Master School and went to an introduction session at Aalto for potential applicants. I was excited because of two main reasons. First, the international aspect, how often can you get this fantastic opportunity to meet people from all over the world. The second reason is the entrepreneurial aspect that EIT Digital gives you.
The EIT Digital Master School provides me with good baggage to start my career. The unique combination of personal and technical skills, hard and soft skills that you learn, speaks well for the programme. I want to create an impact on society through my venture. Probably, I will never retire. I wanna keep learning more things.”
Read more about Jaakko in the full interview here.
Luca Vavassori - Events Officer
“Here at the EIT Digital Master School I discovered a passion to be part of an international environment. I developed an eagerness to meet people from other cultures. I have learned that every person has something to give and to learn from. I am now a more open-minded person. The EIT Digital Master School is a milestone in my life, that shaped the way I want to live my life. It sparked in me the drive to make the world a better place.
Being part of the EIT Digital Alumni Foundation board was one of the goals I have had since 2019. My ambition, especially after this pandemic time, is to get attention for the alumni community and to increase the engagement of our members. Offline events can facilitate better building strong connections. That will not come easy at times like these. But as an event officer, I love challenges. I would like to find a way to increase communication among local realities. We have local groups in different places, and we will help them organising all kinds of things, like talks, speeches, ideation sessions, and hackathons. In short, everything with a social gathering component and a strong focus on creativity.
The network is about learning, moving and knowing people that should be beneficial for all community members. I hope we can find ways to make this exchange happening even better. It is important to have a vision and to engage in creating events and helping people within the alumni community and above all to keep the spirit that everyone holds at the EIT Digital Master School alive.”
Learn more about Luca in the full interview here.
Carlos Callejo - Outreach and Partnerships Officer
The EIT Digital Master School gave me the opportunity to grow my network. I had the opportunity to make friends from all around the world, to have fun and learn a lot. The best part was without doubt the people. We all have the same mindset of exploring and creating things, we are open-minded and we really push ourselves to grow in both the hard and the soft skills. The students here want to make an impact in the world. I do agree with that, it is not just about my future, it is about creating impact.
I want to make the world a better place, even if it’s just a little bit. That is where I get energy from, what motivates and drives me. In my work, I am doing a very technical job. That gives me a strong technical training for future demands. I fear a disconnection from entrepreneurship if I dive too deep into the technical side of data science; I might end up not funding my startup. I wish to remain connected to the entrepreneurial spirit.
EIT Digital has done so much for: it gave me countless opportunities. I felt like being a board member is one way to contribute and to keep in touch with other alumni. It helps me build a stronger network, with personal growth especially, and have fun. After we graduate, a lot of people go work in companies or in a startup, build a startup of their own, or move to research. Through the EIT Digital Alumni Foundation, we keep in touch with each other. In two years, I hope to have gained enough perks for our alumni to engage and to have our events fully covered by sponsors.”
Read more about Carlos in the full interview here.
Bruno Marafini - Technology Officer
I always try to get to know new things. And I like to connect technology and business with my hobbies. I like meeting new people, learning about the technology the community is using, and I like building on the website. I never miss an opportunity that I like and I did not want to miss this opportunity to become an Alumni board member.
There are a lot of technical issues like website-related and security issues. I will also work on website development. I want to redesign the user experience of the website. I plan to have a redesigned website with new tools that users will be willing to use every time they enter the website.
I look back just saying that I made the perfect choice. I did not know EIT Digital when I was studying in Bologna. A professor from Trento said: ‘for the ones interested, there is an opportunity of being an EIT Digital Master School student’. I started to explore that straight away because I was curious. I found everything matching: I saw the programme Cyber Security, I saw I could do a year in the mountains in Trento, I saw EIT Digital as an opportunity to grow and get to know enterprises, experts, technology experts, business experts, business analysts, and so on, and I saw an opportunity to meet new people.”
Read more about Bruno in the full interview here.