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Dániel Bánjay

Dániel Bánjay

Looking for a job in Europe

Putting the final words into his master thesis, Dániel looks back on his educational journey at the EIT Digital Master School, on the EIT Digital Academy Band, and his guest appearance at the EIT Digital satellite opening in Braga in front of ministers. As a student ambassador, he is also encouraging and helping bachelor students to apply for the EIT Digital Master School. His persuasion techniques are being personal, he says, telling stories about his experiences, like he is doing now.

Dániel is graduating this year from the EIT Digital Master School programme Visual Computer and Communication (before Digital Media Technology).  He spent his first year at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and the second year at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden but decided to do his Master Thesis in Portugal. On the official Graduation Day on the 30th of November in Berlin, he will receive his EIT certificate together with more than 230 students from around the world. To Dániel, the EIT Digital Master School has been much more than just a school, he tells.

To start with, recently you have been speaking at the opening ceremony of the EIT Digital Satellite in Braga (Portugal). How was that?

I already gave similar speeches in front of students and employees previously where I talked about my personal experiences with EIT. I thought it would be the same this time as well, but this time it turned out I will have to speak in front of the Minister of Education and the Minister of Innovation of Portugal, and also commissioners from the European Union will be invited to the event. I have never given a talk in front of such high prestige representatives, but I decided to keep the tone personal and speak to them just like I would do to students. I emphasized how entrepreneurial education changes our students' mindset and how unique education is what EIT Digital provides. I also pointed out that I met hundreds of students participating in EIT programmes so far, but only a few of them were from Portugal, and I hope that opening the Satellite Office in Braga will bring Portugal closer to the EIT community and encourage more students to apply for the Master programme.

You are one of thirteen student ambassadors. Why did you apply for this role?

People keep asking questions like "why do you do this? why do you do that?". My mindset is a bit different, I usually reply to them "Why not?" I enjoy spending my time helping other people when I know that it is for a good purpose. Also, in this case, I have a personal motivation as well. The reason that I applied for being a student ambassador is that I came to know about EIT quite randomly, and I would like to change this situation for other students. I would like to spread the word about this life-changing opportunity as widely as possible.

So how did you get to know about the EIT Digital Master school then?

I was just before finishing my Bachelor's in Hungary, and to be honest, I was not hundred percent satisfied with the education, therefore I had two options: either start working for a multinational company and end my student life forever or find a scholarship programme abroad. I never considered myself a hardcore engineer who is interested only in engineering related fields. I think that interdisciplinary studies are essential to become a good leader in a company or when you are thinking of establishing your own business. Because of that, I was looking for opportunities that provide education in business or management-related fields apart from Computer Science.

One day, I had a gathering with my secondary school friends, and one of them mentioned that there is a Master Programme that provides two years of Computer Science studies at two of the top European Universities, combined with Entrepreneurship studies and with a potential scholarship. First I was like "is it real? Why didn't I know about this programme before? " Then I went to the EIT Digital Master School website, applied and shortly got accepted with a scholarship. I was so enthusiastic, I found the perfect Master programme for myself!

If you had to highlight one specific aspect of the EIT Digital Programme, what would you choose?

“It is quite difficult to highlight one single aspect. It is more like about the whole setup of this education programme. If I really have to choose one, it would be the way how we acquire the entrepreneurial mindset. There are many platforms that offer courses on entrepreneurship, but in my opinion, this way of thinking can be only developed by doing and not by following courses. The entrepreneurial education offered by EIT is unique in this sense.

Right at the beginning of the first year during the Kickoff event, we got our very first practical experience on how to build a startup idea from scratch and present it in front of investors.  Then, we gained necessary theoretical knowledge during the first semester and used it to develop our own startup idea during the Business Laboratory course in the second semester. After that, we repeated the same process in our Summer Schools. Doing the same process over and over might sound repetitive and boring, on the other hand, it becomes NATURAL. When we get to the point to establish our own startups, we know exactly what steps we should make and whom to contact if we need some help.

At last year’s Kick-Off, you were one of the founders and member of the EIT Digital Academy House Band. You will play again this year at the Kick-Off and your own Graduation Day. How was your first gig and what is your role in the band?

The concert in Paris was amazing! During the first couple of songs, the freshers did not know how to react to the performance, but shortly they got under the influence of our music and for the last songs they stood up, started jumping and shouted the lyrics with us. It was an unforgettable experience; I hope that this year's performance will be as successful as the last one!

About my role in the band, I am the person whom you don't see on stage. I play several instruments, but not at a professional level, and at some point in my life, I decided to help other more talented musicians from the other side of the stage. I have been a sound engineer and mixing live bands for more than 5 years. Before you ask, no, I am not a DJ. I am the person who is sitting behind the huge mixing desk at the end of the concert hall, and my task is to find the perfect sound balance among the instruments. Normally, when I do everything correctly, you wouldn't even notice that I'm in the concert hall, but if the sound goes bad, I'm the one to blame for your ruined concert experience.

You did your second year in Sweden, but then you moved to Portugal to write your Thesis. What is your Master Thesis about?

I did my Summer School in Lisbon, and I fell in love with the country immediately. I loved it so much I decided that at some point in my life I have to live in Portugal for a while. Also, I tried surfing there for the first time and enjoyed it very much. During the Summer School, we visited Fraunhofer Portugal Applied Research Center. Later, when I was searching for a place to carry out my Master Thesis, I contacted them asking for available topics. One topic immediately caught my interest: “Surfer maneuver classification based on Machine Learning Techniques”.  This sounded like my dream opportunity: moving to Portugal, learning how to surf and actually doing a Master Thesis about wave surfing. I accepted the offer without a second thought.

More in details, we put smart phones on the surfers in waterproof cases and collect motion sensor data. Based on the data, I have to predict what kind of activity the surfer is doing at each moment. As my Master Thesis developed, so did my surfing skills, and based on the feedback I got from my examiner I ended up with an excellent Thesis work and also with intermediate surfing skills.

What are your plans for the future?

Surprisingly, I am going to move back to my home city, Budapest. For now, I am going to work for a promising startup company that works with a motion sensor mesh, powered by on-board artificial intelligence. The idea behind formsense is to create smart textiles that providing the first-ever volumetric assessment of athletic form in real-time. Based on the motion sensor data, our algorithm will be able to detect any potential risk for injuries for the users who wear our smart textiles.

And later? I ended my speech with the following words at EIT Satellite Office opening in Braga: “I have no idea, but with the education from EIT we have almost unlimited opportunities: we can work for our dream companies, or establish our own ones if we find a good idea”.

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