EIT Digital gathers close to 600 Master School graduates for festive celebration

Successful students of several cohorts met in Spain’s capital Madrid to receive their diplomas and celebrate the conclusion of their two-year journey with EIT Digital.

Two years of COVID-19 pandemic stopped the EIT Digital Master School from assembling their graduates for the official handover of their EIT-labelled diploma. Finally, this year, an official ceremony was possible again and almost 600 former students followed our call to meet on 26 November in Madrid for a festive celebration of their success, commemoration of their two-year studies at two recognized technical partner universities in Europe, and confirmation of their bright future as digital innovators and entrepreneurs.

→ For photo albums of the Graduation Ceremony, check out our Flickr account! 

The Future is Yours!

Salvatore Moccia, Head of the EIT Digital Master School, opened the ceremony with "a big applause to you, for all the hours spent to study, to get you where you are today! And a big applause for your families, for the sacrifice they made supporting you. The future is yours!"

Commenting on the joint hardships all students had suffer during the pandemic, EIT Digital Chief Innovation, Education and Marketing Officer Diva Tommei, stated that "There is a meaning in this moment that goes well beyond handing over your well-deserved diplomas. Today is also a reminder of the fact that we can prevail over life-threatening challenges if we come together as a society, that we can learn from them, and that we can emerge from them and be ‘re-born' stronger and more united. When I look at you in this room, I really see the future of Europe!"

Willem Jonker, EIT Digital CEO from 2010-2022, made a strong appeal:

“When a journey ends, a new journey starts. And when you start this new journey, it’s important that what you learned during these two years becomes a part of your professional career and your life in society. At EIT Digital, we not only invest in innovation and education, but also try to address societal challenges. Digital technology is an invaluable tool to address global challenges, but also an instrument in the armed conflicts across the globe. I call on you to defend the values of democracy, the values of inclusion, and the values of collaboration. Keep your principles as the guiding compass in the decisions you make in the future!”

Teresa Riesgo, Secretary General for Innovation in the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, confirmed the exceptional value of the EIT Digital Master School curriculum. "There is a big demand for your profiles and for the education and training you received in the EIT Digital Master School. First of all, because you think and are international. Secondly, because of the specific education and societal values that you received during your studies. With you, we have important allies for a responsible use of digital technologies."

Richard Benjamins, Chief AI and Data Strategist of EIT Digital partner Telefonica, echoed a key message of the day: "What you have to do in your future, when you think about the use of technology, do not only think about business, also think about ethical considerations, societal implications and the environmental footprint. Always think about the potential unintended consequences that application of digital technology may have and ensure your employers take these into consideration!"

Following were welcome words by Jeroen van Lent, president of the EIT Digital Alumni, the global community of former EIT Digital students and staff. “EIT Digital has the ambition to keep all of you involved also after graduating, and we are an integral part of that,” said van Lent and encouraged all graduates to sign up.

The morning was concluded by short interventions by two fellow graduates that inspired the audience with their reflections.

"Four years ago, when I started this programme, I knew I wanted to create something of my own. After going through the whole Master School experience, I managed doing exactly that," said Master School graduate and Grape-co-founder Waliyah Saquani. "There are four things the EIT Digital Master School provided that made my entrepreneurial journey happen. The first one is the toolkit. We learned and applied design-thinking methods to solve problems, found product-market fits, filled out business model canvases, estimated our market sizes, and learned to pitch to actual investors. The second is the EIT Digital network, a network that is constantly present to support and encourage you throughout your journey. The third, and my personal favourite, is the people. Building a company is hard work - but what's harder is finding the right people to do it with. And who would be a better fit than your friends from this program. The fourth thing is the courage to tackle the big scary problems. If we learned anything after going through the EIT Digital Master School journey, it's that we are problem solvers. And we should play our part in ensuring our future on earth."

Fellow graduate, Entremo-co-founder Miklós Knébel, added "I still remember when one of our I&E teachers said that ‘entrepreneurship is not a specific skill, but a mindset'. At that time, I didn't understand what he meant, but when the pandemic hit, I realised that our mindset really had changed over the past years. We think about problems differently, more analytically, and we are eager to find solutions for them. In our case, a group of students brainstormed about the challenges that doctors and nurses were facing, and what solutions we could offer - leading eventually to our healthtech start-up Entremo. The network and the ecosystem of EIT Digital helped us a lot in the past years, even after our studies, to realize our vision!"

The ceremony concluded with the formal handover of the EIT-labelled certificates to our successful graduates; a testament to their qualification as Europe's digital innovators and entrepreneurs of the future. Congratulations to all of you!

Video: EIT Digital Master School Graduation 2022 - Highlights

Are you interested in joining an EIT Digital Master School programme? The application period for 2023 entry is now open and will close on 3 February 2023.

Would you like to develop with us attractive classes, programmes and courses for the EIT Digital Master School, Professional School and Summer School? Contact us and join our ecosystem of world class entrepreneurial digital education providers!

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