Rejuvenating the Entrepreneurial Mindset by Giving Back to the Community

As an EIT Digital Master School graduate, I have amazing memories of my studies, especially from the Kick-Off event and the Summer School.

I feel like these events were one of the best opportunities that the master school gave us to work in an intercultural team; to create an idea from scratch and have fun with friends. I still remember a phrase from EIT Digital CEO Willem Jonker at the Kickoff in Eindhoven: “Work hard; party hard”.

The EIT Digital Master School gave me lots of added value, which I would have not gained from a regular master’s programme. I practiced innovative thinking and cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset but unfortunately, I felt it starting to fade after getting a full-time job.

I guess the same is happening with many of my colleagues who were planning to launch startups someday. I felt that the motivation for practising innovation during my master’s was the ecosystem provided by EIT Digital.

Hence, I decided to rejoin the ecosystem but this time as a mentor and coach, not a participant.


At an EIT Digital Alumni meeting in Trento

I came to know from a friend that EIT Digital Alumni were looking for mentors for the annual Kick-Off event, to be held in Trento, Italy.

I thought it was a good opportunity to gain mentoring experience as well as meet my old colleagues at the University of Trento. While mentoring 1st-year students, I got an understanding of what is most important and received insights on what juries look for in entrepreneurial candidates.

This experience convinced me to stay involved in these activities. With the help of the Master School, I approached the team behind the EIT Summer School in Munich, 2020, to offer my support. Fortunately, the Industrial IoT theme of the summer school was a perfect fit for my profile.

I got a reply from the organisers inviting me to take part in 2 activities: one was a case challenge and another was to deliver a keynote speech. I was fascinated with the opportunity to give back to the community and decided to accept both.

As an Intel employee, I approached my manager with the offer from the summer school. He was fascinated by the idea but was not convinced of its benefit for the company. So my challenge was to find something that would persuade my manager to let me get involved using Intel’s resources.

He guided me to look for a real challenge that our industry is facing so that we may get students’ perspectives on it. We came up with a problem statement that students needed to solve by applying Intel’s AI tools on the plasma cutter industry. Since the summer school had taken an online format  due to COVID-19, it was challenging for us to describe the real challenge.


Participating in the online Summer School 2020

But as mentioned, the more challenges we face the more we learn - and that’s what happened to me. I learned to find a way to convey problems using videos and images so that I could better guide students throughout the summer school. It was interesting for my manager and I to see the solutions presented by the students.

The second opportunity, to be a keynote speaker for the Industrial IoT (IIoT) summer school, was another motivating experience. Yes, I was aware of IIoT, but curating content from Intel that fits students’ needs while keeping them interested in an online scenario was another challenge.

As these EIT Digital events keep on adding to my confidence as a part of innovative ecosystems, I felt it has also brought value to my career. Recently, I have started to provide mentorship services outside EIT Digital. I have also started working with a group of friends to create an MVP for a digital receipt idea. I would like to thank the EIT Digital community for helping to foster my learning by giving back to the community. 

Thank you for reading and thank you to the Alumni Foundation for the opportunity!

Yatindra Shashi
UniTrento/TU Berlin 2015-17
Currently IoT SW Engineer (Intel Gmbh)