On November 12th, 4 of our last year Master’s students and 2 of our recent alumni coming from the Computer Science program were invited to join a graduate speed dating networking event hosted by Nova 100’s Copenhagen office. Events hosted by this Nova 100 office are usually only open to students who are members, and these are typically business students coming from universities across Denmark. In turn, these members are a part of the Nova 100 network, a network that consists of the Nordic countries’ most talented students in addition to both young and seasoned professionals – Nova’s concept is to bring together talented individuals with interesting employers, connecting people to opportunities. A handful of Nova 100’s partner companies attending this particular graduate speed dating event were interested in connecting with students coming from IT/Computer Science programs, a talent lacking in Nova 100’s student member pool. With that being said, Malmö University and Nova 100 bridged the gap between two countries, and collaborated for this specific event, giving 6 of our students/alumni a unique opportunity to network with 5 large corporations and learn more about their graduate and trainee programs!
The Malmö University students/alumni who attended this event were Dimitris Paraschakis, Nils Ehrenberg, Antonis Gkouskos, Ali Arafati, Robert Stanescu, and Hristo Petev. I sat down and spoke with 5 of them post this event, and was able to learn a little bit more about their experiences on November 12, where they invested an evening, 16:30-22:00, honing their networking skills! There were approximately 60 people present at this event, both a combination of students from various universities and company representatives. Our students/alumni began their evening by listening to 15 minute long presentations given by Nordea, Arla Foods, and Danske Bank, and following that they were provided with a buffet dinner. Who can turn down a good and solid free meal? Immediately after dinner, they were ‘assigned’ to their speed dating table consisting of Danske Bank, Nordea, Arla Foods, Accenture, and Novo Nordisk IT (NNIT). During this speed dating session, our students/alumni were given the opportunity to individually speak with each company for 10-15 minutes. Each time the bell rang, it rang 9 times, they were to switch positions, and move on to speak to the next company! Questions our students /alumni asked during this speed dating session ranged from what projects these companies were involved with, what they were looking for when hiring a student/alumni for a graduate and trainee programs, what is it like to work as a Developer, how many graduates they recruit, language requirements, etc. The majority of the companies present were represented by employees who were actually currently in the graduate/trainee programs, giving our students/alumni an opportunity to find out what it was really like to work in such a position, and to additionally learn how they ended up getting recruited and hired in their roles.
One thing that struck our students was that some companies can receive more than 2,000 applications for their graduate/trainee programs, and they in turn only hire for 10 positions. This shed light on how incredibly competitive these types of positions can be, and how important it is to be able to properly market oneself! Although this event seemed quite interesting and useful from the standpoint of being able to practice networking skills, and getting the chance to learn more about a company’s hiring process, some of our attendees wished that there had been more of a genuine interest from in them from the companies, and that there would have been more Developers there to speak with. What they did take away from this event, however, is that this has helped them realize that they should come prepared to ask better questions for future networking events, and this has also helped overcome that feeling of being nervous. Overall, our students/alumni found this event to be a nice experience, one where they had the freedom to ask any question to the 5 companies they were assigned to, talk face to face to them in a casual and relaxed manner, and get their perspective on things!
Practice makes perfect, and hopefully this is one of many networking events these students/alumni will be exposed to and attend so that they can get closer to landing that dream job with their target employer! Who knows, perhaps this event may lead to some success stories in the near future … only time will tell!
Annie Schreiter, Career Adviser