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The internship of your life at TMC Entrepreneurial Lab

The TMC Entrepreneurial Lab (TEL) is a dedicated workspace where Employeneurs are able to work on their own projects in a start-up environment. Seven projects have been started so far, from a monitoring robot to a bee observation system. Another twelve projects are in the start-up phase. For students TEL is the perfect place for an internship. You’re offered plenty of freedom, are integrally involved in the project and have the experience of working for a big international company. TEL manager Lotte Geertsen tells us more.

What would you like to learn during your internship? Most interns do not expect this question from their employer. But in the TMC Entrepreneurial Lab (TEL) students really have the last word on their internship assignment. ‘It really surprises students in the beginning,’ says TEL’s manager Lotte Geertsen. ‘But in the end they think it’s really cool, because it means their development gets top priority. I think that’s what an internship is all about. So say you want to do something with automotive, then we’re going to check which of our projects is best suited for that.’

Freedom and responsibility

Since the start in 2017 more than ten students have completed a TEL internship. The demand exceeds the supply, as last year saw 22 applications for only seven positions. ‘We’re very selective in choosing interns,’ Lotte says. ‘An internship’s project manager is an Employeneur as well, so during office hours he or she works on his or her own assignment at the client’s company. That means he or she is not always available for questions and the interns have to work alone a lot. That means having plenty of freedom and responsibility, but you have to know how to handle it.’

If you’re good at dealing with that kind of freedom, you can look forward to a dream internship. Lotte Geertsen: ‘During most internships you’re only allowed to design one little part or component, but at TEL you’re an integral part of the start-up. You work on the entire project and you’re much more a part of the product development process.’

Socialising, teamwork and good feedback

Linda de Man was in her third year studying technical physics when she started her internship at TEL. She became part of the 3Beam project and helped build an artificial lighting object, based on an old picture tube television, that was exhibited at the Eindhoven GLOW festival. ‘In a TEL internship you get a lot of freedom to choose what project you’d like to do and also what you want to focus on within the project. It leads to a much more productive and pleasant way of working. I’ve had to learn to speak up and ask for help when it was needed. Because the Employeneurs work on this project in their spare time, things like socialising, teamwork and good feedback are very important.’

Third year mechanical engineer Frederico Belohuby became an intern in a TEL project that worked on a football kicking robot to give wheelchair-bound children the chance to play football with their friends. Frederico really enjoyed the stimulating environment at TMC. ‘From early on I was able to participate in pizza sessions, talk to Employeneurs and make all sorts if interesting contacts. If such a diverse network shares its knowledge it’s so much easier to achieve bigger things. Because I was allowed so much freedom I had to be self-aware and responsible. It made the internship feel more like work and not a school project where I only tell my teacher about my progress. It has made me feel independent and capable of making my own decisions at work.’

Professional guidance

TMC offers students professional guidance during their internship. Every intern is given a graduation supervisor in the form of a TMC Employeneur from the same field, whom they can approach with technical questions. Then they also have their own allocated contact person within the TEL project, which is usually the project manager. Once a week the project team has a meeting during evening hours, which the intern is supposed to attend. Lotte Geetsen: ‘We don’t want our interns to work extra hours, so in exchange they’re allowed one free morning or afternoon per week. Since students go out on Thursday night, they usually take the Friday morning off, ha ha.’

Want to know more about our internship opportunities? Contact Lotte Geertsen for more information. 

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