EIT Digital education eases hunt for internship and job

EIT Digital Master School graduate Michele Marabelli said he had an unusual job hunt. Instead of having to search for a company that would hire him, Marabelli found that companies were searching for him and his fellow students.

“We had this matchmaking event organised by EIT Digital where I made the contact for the company that I was hired by. Basically, there were companies there pitching themselves and the positions they had.”

Marabelli said he was pleased with the EIT Digital Master School for providing him a superior education and a life-changing experience. It also helped him line up his job well before he graduated. While he was studying, he could tell it was an exceptional programme, and he said he was glad to see that employers were also aware of its excellence.

“Everybody at the event knew what EIT Digital was. I had few occasions in which I had to explain it,” Marabelli said. “It was perceived as a good thing.”

Based on the connection he made at the matchmaking event, Marabelli took an internship with a Finnish company that turned into job post-graduation. “I was hired pretty quickly as a solution developer by Aitomation,” he said. “The main goal of this startup is to ride the wave of intelligent integration.”

That means the solutions Marabelli works on for Aitomation are people-friendly, bringing humans and machines together. It is the kind of work he trained for in the Human Computer Interaction and Design (HCID) Master School of EIT Digital.

Internship as master’s thesis

The field of HCID focuses on developing interactive systems with intuitive interfaces. Graduates of the EIT Digital HCID Master School programme are specialists in helping people do more with computers, and in facilitating the way we talk to our smart devices.

During his internship at Aitomation, Marabelli developed a project that became his master’s thesis.

It started as an effort to create an adaptable process solution that could have different add-ons. “I realized that we were collecting a lot of process data, so I went into process mining, studying how it worked,” he said. “It turned out it was better to just continue on my idea a bit further and make a process mining data analyser.”

The resulting solution can be used to “mine data” from a company’s ordinary work process and analyse it for inefficiencies. “There are a lot of people who might already have the data to describe the problem, but they just don’t have the capabilities to analyse it,” Marabelli said.

Helping people improve efficiency with a computer is a big part of HCID.

All concentrations offer entrepreneurship training

Along with HCID, EIT Digital Master School covers six other fields: the autonomous systems behind self-driving cars, the embedded systems involved in internet of things applications, fintech, cybersecurity, data science and cloud networks.

All these concentrations offer excellent technical training, and all of them also provide expertise in entrepreneurship, the ability to conceive of and promote a great idea. Marabelli said entrepreneurship skills are not just for someone launching a startup.

For instance, he said the pitch training showed him “how to deal with clients, how to be efficient in communication and pitching proposals. I’m not saying I do a full-blown pitch with a client, but every now and then I have to show them how something we’re doing could be improved and I have to show them in a way that interests them.”

Even in his role as a developer at Aitomation, Marabelli said he benefits from “this knowledge of the lean start-up approach, and how businesses are supposed to grow and how they work,” because his is a small company and he needs to help it develop and scale up.

The skills that Marabelli received were relayed in an engaging, active manner that made it easier to learn.

“There was a lot more movement; there were projects. There was presentation and talks with potential users, which helps for the human interaction side. That was quite interesting and quite different from what I saw before,” he said.

Close-knit community and a recommendable experience

Another common feature of EIT Digital Master School programmes is mobility, which means the two-year course takes place at two universities in two different countries.

Marabelli started at Polytechnic University of Milan in his home country of Italy and finished at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, where he ultimately found his job. He said going to two schools made a big difference.

“It was very interesting, traveling, and mixing with all the other people, from other places all around the world,” Marabelli said. “It definitely expanded my perception of the groups that I could have around me and the things I could get into.”

The contacts and friendships he made have lasted, and continued through his participation in the EIT Alumni community, he said, adding that an EIT programme creates a deep connection.

“It really makes a difference, because you realize how a group of EIT people, with their shared experience and their like-mindedness, gets the conversation going a lot faster than a group of random people,” he explained.

The experience is something that Marabelli would recommend highly, and in fact he already has. “When I knew someone on the verge of finishing their bachelor’s, I was jumping in like, ‘Hey you should definitely give this a shot,’” he said. “I think it’s a really good experience. It’s a really good idea in my opinion.”

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