Interview of Narendra SINGH, our local EIT Digital Master School Kick off winner

To start with, could you tell us a bit more about you ?

I am Narendra Singh from India. Before coming to France, I was working as a Graphic Designer in Mumbai, India. It’s one of the biggest cities there. I studied Computer Science and Engineering in my Bachelors. It was really my will to pursue design that made me to shift from  pure computer science to HCID. Actually, HCID is Human Computer Interaction and Design. I am starting as an M1 student. I am glad I could find the EIT Digital Master School programme which let’s you experience two countries in one Master.

You went at the EIT Digital Master School Kick off at Helsinki where you and your team planned and pitch an innovative business idea in a realistic business challenge competition ... and won. Congratulations ! Could you tell us more about it ?

Our group of M1 students went for the EIT Digital Master School Kick off with some of our professors [NDLR: 300 students from all EIT Digital Master School technicals majors]. I had heard about it before and thought it would be all parties. Well, it turned out that we would work there for 3 days straight with a generous Gala Night in there.

Once upon a time, 300 M1 Students from EIT Digital Master School Programmes...

Everyone was from different streams and brought a different and unique perspective to the table. We were a team of 9 and the person whose idea was selected was called owner of the idea. Our “owner” wanted to make it easy for people to search for dishes of their liking and taste. We talked about the business model on the first day and then how we should put the product to reach the masses. We thought that a website and app would be the best for it. We had a review with two other teams to get insights on our plan and later we had a demo with our mentor to get feedbacks on the final pitch. The third day, our owner gave the final pitch in front of the jury. It was a tense environment as we were competing against 7 other teams of equally talented people to get into the finals. We eventually got selected and had to present again before the whole EIT Digital students, teachers and the jury. It was a really a magical moment when we were announced as winners. I don't want to disclose to much of your idea as we might really be onto something big in the future.

Do you think you will keep up with your project and team? What did you learn from this challenge?

I have strong feelings that we might keep up with the project. The ideas were selected on merit and the person with selected idea was like the leading person in the team. Our idea owner told us that she had been thinking about the idea for about a year and could see it to fruition at EIT Digital Master School Kick off. She is actually excited to have worked with all of us and we formed a facebook group to keep in touch with everyone. It’s highly likely that we may go forward with this idea.

Narendra's team working on their idea

The challenge basically showed us how you work in pressure environment in a real corporate setting. The thing that made us win was the great team dynamic as I mentioned before and I could not stress more on how important it is. We were a complete mess on 1st day but by the 2nd day we were in sync with each other as if we have known each other from long time.

EIT Digital Master School has a minor in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Did you have any entrepreneurship project/idea before applying to this programme ?

The winning team of "IsSmart" – A #web #app for knowing where to eat what you want

No, I have not done any entrepreneurship project before applying to this programme. Though, I have worked for 3 years before coming here for Masters. One company was a corporate giant Infosys and my second company was a startup in Education sector. I think I got the experience from both sides of the industry and it actually helped in this EIT Digital challenge.

Why did you choose to study with this European programme ?

Initially, I was only focussed on programmes in USA and Canada and I think most of us are fed with a notion of these countries as the best, but I didn’t want to be in a huge loan debt. I explored my course choices in Europe and I found the HCID course, a 2 year Masters, at KTH, Sweden but there deadline had passed by that time. Then I found that they offered same HCID course as double degree with EIT Digital Master School programme and its deadline was still 2 days away. I swiftly applied and God, it was difficult to choose two universities among 8 choices.

I chose Universite Paris Sud and KTH, Sweden. France was my first year choice because among all European countries, France is much better known by Indians and of course, Paris is known widely there for its attractions and romanticism. Also, the wine and cheese was another reason for coming here. You might think it’s all different reasons for coming here. (both laugh). But really, the programme is very attractive with its provision of 2 universities in 2 countries and I was able to secure a scholarship which just made the decision easy.

What is your plan after your double degree graduation ?

Currently, I have planned to a start a freelancing business after my degree. I would prefer to stay in Europe for a while, say probably at least 2-3 years before deciding to go back to India. I might even come back to France again. There have already been so many helpful and lovely people that I have met in France and who knows where I might get an opportunity in future.

Any advices for a student who does not know the programme and/or might be scared by this Innovation & Entrepreneurship minor ?

That is a very important issue to address. The professors themselves are surprised at the fact that EIT Digital doesn’t market their programmes much. I think the major flaw is that students tend to search for Institutions based on their “Overall world rankings” which mostly results in institutions from US, Canada and UK. On the other hand I searched the best colleges for my field which is HCID and got to know these programmes. Also, instead of following the friends and other people, knowing your priorities is the best way to go.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship minor is a minor as the name suggests and not the major component of the programme. It really gives you insight on how the industry works and I feel, there is really need to fear but actually embrace it because sooner or later one will be in the industry whether as an employee, employer or freelancer.

Thanks so much.

UPSud crew at the "generous gala night" as Narendra called it

ADMISSION PROCESS has just opened, it's a good time to apply for programmes and scholarships, ONLY on EIT Digital Master School website.

You want to know more about our Masters at UPSud with EIT digital programme?
- To know about our HCID track (French version)
- To know more about our CCS track:
Other tracks at others EIT partners premises, visit EIT Digital Master School website

Photo credit to George Atanassov