Entrepreneurship made easy: Student praises summer study

EIT Digital Summer School

Through the EIT Digital Master School programme in Human-Computer Interaction and Design, Arooj Khan has been able to unite diverse interests she developed while studying software engineering and working as a professional designer.

At an EIT Digital Summer School, Khan was able to pursue another subject about which she was curious - entrepreneurship - with training that she said might influence her future career path.

"I always had an interest in entrepreneurship, but summer school made me realise how doable and feasible the entire process actually is," she said.

Khan said she had chosen the Data, Visualisation and Connectivity for Healthcare Summer School at Coventry University because she wanted to capitalise on past experience with an American healthcare company. The two-week course was one of 11 EIT Digital Summer School programmes held in intriguing cities around Europe in 2022. EIT Digital Master Students choose one of these courses as part of their two-year degree programme.

For Khan the experience was "definitely" something she would recommend, "for all the personal and professional growth summer school encourages." The "international exposure and mobility" provided by EIT Digital's summer and master programmes really set them apart from other offerings, she said.

Learning to pitch a business plan

The summer course Khan attended saw students work in teams to address real challenges faced by businesses or healthcare providers. Teams were supposed to develop solutions that could transform patient care, using technological advances in connectivity, big data and visualisation. The solutions had to be presented as workable business plans, which meant students had to think like entrepreneurs.

"Summer school was different from regular school as it was mostly focused on the innovation and entrepreneurship subject matter," Khan said.

Not only was she required to take a business-like approach, she also had to describe her ideas well during a pitching session held at the end of the course. To improve their presentations, students worked with pitching coaches.

"We had a really good coach who was highly motivated to bring out the best in us," said Khan, adding that she would use the skills she gained in the future. "I will especially try to implement the pitching tips we were taught in all my presentations going forward."

Professional connections and true friends

Beyond the abilities she developed and lessons she learned, Khan said another valuable benefit she gained from summer school was the connections.

"I believe summer school was perfect in promoting a healthy learning environment, mutual bonding experience and network expansion. All things necessary for EIT Digital students," she said. "I was more than happy to partake in an opportunity to meet other master schoolers with different tracks. I expected summer school to be an amazing cultural exchange experience - which it was."

The participants were not all EIT Digital Students. Professionals and master's students from other schools were also allowed to participate in the courses, and this year 200 of them chose to do so, joining the 300 EIT Digital Master School students. The result was an exceptionally diverse cohort, not only in terms of the countries they came from but also in terms of their professional experience.

According to Khan, the variety made the group more interesting, and they were still able to find common ground quickly. "I was flabbergasted by how well we all worked and socialised together. I made some true friends at summer school," she said. "The two weeks went by so quickly. I wish it would have lasted longer."

Based on Kahn's impression of the entrepreneurship training, the impact of the course on her career and approach to work may last much longer than two weeks.

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