They were all based in Delft, Netherlands for the last week of August this year for the 14th General Assembly (GA). For those of you who read my previous blog post, you will be saying, why is this so late? Well, you forget how involved you become whilst you are attending a UNITECH GA. There are so many activities taking place and opportunities for networking with alumni, lecturers, colleagues and corporate partners that time flies by!
On Wednesday 27th August 2014, I accompanied Dr Adam Crawford and Dr Ashraf El-Hamalawi as an academic partner (AP) for the UNITECH AP Meeting. In this meeting, we discussed corporate partner acquisition; Francesca produced a Local Office Coordinator (LOC) handbook in conjunction with the UNITECH office; improvements to the database to validate students who are graduating; marketing, application, assessment and selection strategy for 2015/2016 cohort and ideas & initiatives set up by various APs.
In the evening, the Experience Exchange took place where the 2013/2014 students (as part of their End of Year week) prepared a poster about their respective host universities on what to do and not to do whilst doing their academic exchange. The target audience were the 2014/2015 students who had just started the program, i.e. Start of Year week. It’s always interesting for me to see what is mentioned about Loughborough University and Chalmers University of Technology, as they are my home and host universities respectively. Reminiscing old times…
The next day started off with the UNITECH AP/CP Meeting (CP = Corporate Partner). Some of the discussion points included joining the coaching team; themes for the mid-term week (MTW) cases; involving others within the respective CPs to be involved with the MTW so they learn from UNITECH and vice versa and spread the word within their teams and new UNITECH platform for CPs with regards to internship opportunities for UNITECH students/graduates. One of the last agenda items were results of the Fraunhofer survey which aimed to find out the kind of corporate culture high potentials in engineering would like to work in and which general frameworks and corporate cultures employers should offer in order to attract and retain them. The results are UNITECH specific and will hopefully be published in an international journal in the near future.
Afterwards, there was the Idea Fair where the 2014/2015 students presented ideas on solving challenges that can affect the way we go about our daily lives in the future. It’s great to see fresh talent on display for the alumni, academic partners and corporate partners to see. After lunch, there was the Stakeholders Fair where the APs exhibited their current research areas and the CPs advertised themselves and their internships/graduate programs.
For the first time this year, the UNITECH Trialogue was part of the GA. This was an initiative and a pilot run by TU Delft. They wanted to take a bottom-up approach to see what our own alumni could come up with in order to propel the network into the next phase of existence. What did we need to do? Prepare a pitch on either Talent Development or Stakeholder Interaction and submit this to the panel (Central International Office at TU Delft). They decided on four pitches that were unique and well-related to either of the topics mentioned. My idea on Emotional Engagement was chosen as one of the two pitches on Stakeholder Interaction. Personally, it was a great experience to communicate my ideas to the rest of the network on the big stage and gain pitching experience in the process. I’ve always been passionate about UNITECH ever since I joined the programme back in 2011. I bet you’re itching to know more. Well, keep your eyes peeled for a video of the event!
The morning of Friday 29th August 2014 starts off with the UNITECH General Assembly (GA) where the outgoing cohort and the incoming cohort of students need to be present along with the APs and CPs. This is in effect the same style as an Annual General Meeting (AGM), which gives students experience of what happens in large corporations. People find these type of meetings boring, however they are essential as key decisions are made. Once you grasp the core aspects of an AGM and engage in the process, it’s quite interesting.
Following on from the GA, the UAA met the LOCs, discussing how they can work together. In parallel, career interviews were taking place between students/alumni and CPs for internships/graduate positions. After lunch, the UAA General Assembly took place. I ran for the Financial Officer position however the other candidate was more qualified and worked within finance so was more suited to the job. We voted on having one free year of membership to the UAA as the finances allowed this in the hope that more alumni would get involved. As they say, the more you put in, the more you get out of it.
To wrap it all up, we went to the Old Church in Delft for the Graduation Ceremony and Celebration Dinner. Lots of photos were taken and potentially a video will be uploaded once it has been processed and edited. Graduating twice within the space of a month is intense! Just need to find space on the shelf for both certificates…