The MaRBLe experience of: Isabelle de Coninck22-03-2016
Advising towards Employability08-04-2016
Are you curious about PREMIUM? So was I and I am glad I was! The first weeks have passed by now, so let’s travel back in time and take stock on my first experiences.
The admission process consisted of several phases ranging from interviews to case studies. Because these events took place at the EDLAB, I did not only meet many of the future Premium fellows, but could also get familiar with the overall atmosphere which finally convinced me that this was going to be something I would dedicate myself to. People are very open and human, no signs of competition what so ever. In contrast, everyone turned out to very helpful, open communication is appreciated and topping all this off: you will always have coffee/tea and cake to enjoy.
Soon after being accepted, a Mix & Match event was organized. A network evening where project representatives (clients), project mentors, the Premium staff and all admitted students were present. Mentors gave insights on how some projects went in previous years and more specific discussions with the clients cleared all my questions and helped me to decide which projects would be on my priority list. If you worry about your networking skills, don’t! Premium supplies you with “discussion starters”, so you can start learning and get support at the very beginning. One day after the event, clients and students were allocated based on the priority list they had filled out at the end of the Mix & Match event. Procedures are usually super quick, which is great.
Some people ask me how the other students are. Well, because the student constellation changes from year to year I cannot generalize, but I feel an overall pleasant atmosphere. In my eyes, this was also what marked the Mix & Match event: I did not feel any kind of competition among the students. In contrast, we actually discussed our preferences together. People are easy going and the official networking turned into private networking with students. So yes, we are here because we want to be here. It is fun to be with motivated and interesting people from different academic backgrounds and work on a real-life project with an interdisciplinary team. Don’t miss out on it!
– Laura (SBE)
If someone asks me to describe my most memorable and surprising PREMIUM moment so far, it would definitely be the Mix & Match event. Before January 12th, I had been reading all the projects and clients’ descriptions to choose the one that was closest to my needs and interests. That process was very interesting, and helped me choose three projects I really cared about: Museum Pass, Familylife and Green Office. The big day arrived quickly, and I remembered being in front of Café Soiron encouraging myself in my mind. This moment was very intense and challenging because we, PREMIUM students, not only had to sharpen our preferences, but also had to get picked by the clients.
Applying for PREMIUM was a great decision that threw me into an amazing experience. But without knowing anyone, as none of my friends decided to apply, I had to enter a room full of students and clients I did not know. However, I quickly recognised students that I did the application process with, and I started to have small talk with the first client, about the Brightland project. Even though I had no particular interest in this specific project, I still learnt a lot about how to kick off a conversation in a professional surrounding. I then discussed the project I was interested in, listening to the client’s talks.
Before leaving, I passed by two last stands that really caught my attention, quite by chance: Stichting Limburg and VideoPower. The former’s representative was so passionate about the Cold War history in Limburg, and the latter seemed to be a very practical and innovative project. After talking about the VideoPower project for two minutes, I told myself: I want to be part of this team. Tim, representing VideoPower, and Jack, the mentor, convinced us of the creativity and great amount of freedom attached to this assignment. Funny thing was that the four girls around the table at that time are now my three PREMIUM teammates and myself. Almost all of us had completely different choices in mind before the Mix & Match event. The evening came to an end, we said goodbye to the clients and to each other, hoping we would all be picked by them, which is exactly what happened. We realised that they were not the only ones that made a good impression that night. First real life impressions matters!
– Célia (FASoS)
My name is Siyana and I am currently involved in the creation of a learning platform which can bridge the gap between secondary and university education for Porta Mosana in Maastricht. I expected the kick off meeting to be a key element to my overall PREMIUM experience because it would set the tone for our team’s future interactions with the client and the mentors. I was right and I couldn’t be happier when our first general meeting turned out to be a huge success.
Our client, Casper, was extremely welcoming (he was even waiting for us with some pizza!) and set the tone for an informal and yet very creative brainstorming session. He encouraged us to share any preliminary thoughs we might have on the project without trying to steer the discussion in any particular direction. This is why I boldly dived into the talks and so did my teammates.
Their enthusiasm and fresh ideas pleasantly surpised me and encouraged me to think outside of the box. I especially loved the fact that we all have completely different cultural and educational backgrounds which makes it possible for us to approach a particular issue from different angles. I also could not help but notice that everybody seemed to take the project very seriously and to care about its actual structure, outcome and eventual implementation. Especially the implementation part got us quite excited and thinking about creating a real business plan! The contributions of our mentors- Arie and Jascha- was also valuable and profound as they were largely basing it on their first-hand experiences with their own kids.
The two hours passed way too quickly and we still had plenty of ideas worth discussing. We agreed to schedule yet another meeting in order to go even further with our creative efforts. The results of the kick off with the client and the mentors were a large mindmap, a sense of belonging to a real team and a feeling of empowerment! I just could not wait to start working on the project! A few weeks after this first meeting, I am still as excited as before and cannot wait to share the concept we are currently working on.
– Siyana (Law)
The night was just beginning. It was marked by the loud noises made by the clock in the Vrijthof. I still clearly remember the sound. It really scared me and disrupted my daydreaming as I was thinking about the optimal approach to get the clients of my favorite projects to notice me.
I was full of confidence and expectation. Yet the minute I sat foot into the Soiron, it all collapsed. It seemed that the façade I had been building for a few days couldn’t hold. There were so many people, so many clients and many more students.
I had to step outside for a minute to find something familiar. Nothing was revealed. I didn’t know what to do but I reminded myself that it was now or never. I needed to wake up to reality. I reminded myself: this is how the real world operates, and if you want something you have to grab it with both hands, you should never let go. But this was of course easier said than done.
I saw people standing in a line, so I just followed them. I figured that if I pretended I had something to do, it would ease the tension a bit. And guess what, I was supposed to stand in the line to get my premium materials. Once I reached the reception, one of the premium coordinators said: oh, you shaved your hair, smart move and then she laughed. She might have been joking then but what she said ignited a bit of confidence in me.
I tend to be socially awkward and I get uncomfortable in big social events and that is why this experience was scary. Yet, I am very glad that PREMIUM has designed the program in a manner that allows me to experience the real world, or at least get a glimpse of it; because as it turns out, talking to people is really not that hard. Once I started with the first client, things seemed to run smoothly.
After this event, I like to believe that I can deal with such events a bit better now. Surely, I am still not good at it, probably not even close. But at least I believe that I have moved one step further.
– Saeed (FHML)