The 32nd edition of the Beta Business Days took place on 11 and 12 March. Beta
(science, engineering and technology)
students entered the MartiniPlaza to immerse themselves into their future career possibilities.
The Beta Business Days is a two-day careers fair aimed at the UG’s Faculty of Science and Engineering students and Technology Management students. Ambitious students became acquainted with more than 40 businesses and organizations, from Belsimpel to the Ministry of Defence. This was achieved through presentations, individual interviews and challenging cases that gave the students a better understanding of what their potential dream job would involve. Both days concluded with a well-attended business exposition in an informal setting. Here, the participants were given the opportunity to ask recruiters their burning questions. Everything is aimed at helping the beta students to find out as much as they can about their future job.
Some students already know exactly what their ideal job is going to look like. But others are not sure yet, for example first-year Master’s student in Artificial Intelligence Nino Jansen. He does know what his future job must include. ‘I think that flexibility is very important, as well as the atmosphere on the work floor and the link with what you did during your studies.’ Since his studies have so far not included a placement, he thought that it was very important to become acquainted with many different businesses. For that reason, the speed dating element was a good choice for him. ‘You have ten minutes to get to know a business. This gives you a good idea of what they are doing. Working on a case was also very enjoyable.’
But it is not just students who are collecting information. Businesses are looking to see if the students have characteristics that they are looking for in their future colleagues. Pam Bakker from ilionx (IT service provider) is of the opinion that ‘consultancy qualities’ in particular are important. And also ‘affinity with programming and IT, but their personality as well. How someone presents themselves.’ Within IT, there is also much scope for starters who don’t have a background in computer science or ICT, but who are prepared to start a traineeship. ‘We assume that beta students, regardless of their background, can quickly pick up programming languages,’ says Omar Rodriguez Rojas from ASML (semiconductor manufacturer).
Students pay a lot of attention to increasing their subject knowledge, but often forget to develop their soft skills. Annelieke van der Poel of Vanderlande (transport systems and internal logistics) explains the emphasis on soft skills. ‘Characteristics that we are looking for are the willingness to grow, having the courage to take your own responsibility, and just being very honest. We, as a business, are very pragmatic and therefore we like doing things. That is what we are also looking for in our own people.’
In addition to technical and personal skills, connections are of course crucial. Kevin Hiemstra has already worked for a year at chemistry giant BASF. He studied Chemical Engineering at the UG and did his Master’s placement at BASF. ‘If you look at how people end up at BASF, they often have ended up here following a placement.’ Of course, where you did your placement does not need to become your place of work, but it helps immensely if future colleagues already have an idea of your work ethics and skills. ‘At BASF you must be open to learning new skills. For example, for one project I had to familiarize myself with a lot of legal terms to make sure that all permits were okay.’
The Beta Business Days were organized by Faculty of Science and Engineering students and Technology Management students. More than 350 Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD students took part in the event.
Report: Mónica Espinoza Cangahuala
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