Last Saturday, The EIT Digital Master School delivered 238 innovators with an entrepreneurial mindset to help build a strong digital Europe. These students have been educated in deep tech, innovation and entrepreneurship. This means that they have mastered the skills to turn technology into business. At a spectacular ceremony in Berlin, students received their official graduation certificates from the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) for the innovation and entrepreneurship part of their double degree technical master’s programmes.
The graduation day took place at the Technische Universität Berlin, where vice president Hans-Ulrich Heiß welcomed the students. Sixty-six of the 238 graduates attended either their first or second year at the Berlin-based university. The other students went to two universities within the network that make up the EIT Digital Master School. Currently, students can choose to study at two of 18 participating universities.
The EIT Digital Master School is a European network of top technical universities that has been offering technical master’s programmes and a business minor in innovation and entrepreneurship since 2012. Students learn how to translate technological acumen into business success. Upon successful completion of their master’s, students receive two diplomas: one from each university they attended. In between the two years of their master’s, students attend a two-week Summer School where they convert real life business cases into business solutions.
The vast majority of students – 185 – succeed in finishing the 120 ECTS credits at EIT Digital Master School within the given two years - like Roman Prytkov who graduated last year, and this Saturday was talking about the startup he built together with Tolga Varol who graduated this year. DriveTrust started as a summer school case study and is now an innovation activity within the EIT Digital ecosystem. A lot of students are building their own company, or intend to start one at some point; yet the majority put their technical and entrepreneurial skills to practice in companies for now. Most of them are already recruited before receiving their diplomas. That is what they wrote on slides that appear onscreen when they retrieve their certificate on stage. Remarkably, a lot of them want to pursue a PhD, for example an industrial one at the EIT Digital Doctoral School.
EIT Digital students come from all over the world. 54 per cent of this year’s cohort are European, and the other 46 per cent come from countries such as the USA, Australia, Pakistan, Russian, Mexico and Egypt. Most of them prefer to use their skills in Europe, which fits well with the European mission of attracting top talent to build a strong digital Europe. Of this year’s graduates, 30 per cent are female, 70 per cent male. Within Europe, the largest number of this year’s graduates come from Italy, Spain, Germany and Hungary.
Graduates have studied different programmes. Data Science, a programme that started four years ago, delivers the most students: 61, followed by Embedded systems (51) and Human Computer Interaction and Design (39). Among the cohort, 23 may call themselves security & privacy engineers and 23 cloud computing and services specialists. Other programmes are Internet Technology and Architecture (15), Digital Media Technology (17) and Software and Service Architecture (7).
In the speeches students were challenged to aim high and innovate for the greater good. Willem Jonker, CEO EIT Digital, called on students to use their technical knowledge and business skills to “bring technology to market in order to benefit society and not threaten it”. That call was, in slightly different words, repeated by Ana Trbovic of EIT. Georg Hauer, general manager of the online German bank N26 echoed this sentiment. “If a goal seems achievable, you are probably aiming too low.”
Arturo Varona, head of the EIT Digital Master School, said he was very proud of the students. “The skills our students learn are needed to build a strong digital Europe. That is what we expect them to do as well.”