Age: 23
Nationality: Italian

Alessandro completed the MSc Business Administration at the University of Amsterdam in 2016. He is now an Operations Intern at 3D Hubs.

ITEA was great because it was really easy to talk with people. At career events, making contacts and talking informally with people is most valuable.”

When he started his studies, Alessandro did not yet know what he would do with his career. After his first semester, he realised that he really enjoyed it in Amsterdam, and he started to think that he should get something more out of his study year in the city. In April 2016, there were a lot of career events but to him, ITEA seemed to be the most important. It seemed like a cool event, he said, and he felt as though it was not just a regular event as there was a focus on international students. He went to ITEA with the goal of entering the job market.

How did your career path go after attending ITEA?

ITEA was an accessible event. The setup of ITEA was nice, especially with the area with startups and the job fair. The companies were really nice and really young. We all had the same vibe, and there were really cool internships. ITEA was cool because it was really easy to talk with people. At career events, making contacts and talking informally with people is most valuable. I gained more knowledge of the job market, especially for internationals. I gained four serious contacts at ITEA, and they all came back to me afterwards. I also spoke with someone from 3D Hubs, and a week later I was in the office having a coffee with the CFO. This was actually a job interview. I loved the vibes at 3D Hubs, and accepted the internship.

What would you advise international students?

Entry-level positions for internationals are harder to find. Leverage the networking you can find at university. Use your Dutch connections, because they have experience and a network.

What would you advise international students who intend to visit ITEA 2017?

Go! Go to all these events because these are the best chance for you to stand out. From my recruitment experience at 3D Hubs, I can confirm that any chance you have to be in direct contact with the company is better. Take a good printed CV because it is an easy way to interact with someone by saying, ‘Hey can I drop my CV with you?’ Also, giving them your CV helps them to remember you better.

What is it like to work in a startup environment?

It is a great learning experience. In a startup, you work on everything. One day you might be working with the developers, and the day after you might be working with the CFO of the company. An internship in a startup is valuable and a great way to start. Working in a startup is different from working in a regular job. It is very exciting but maybe not for everybody. I would be a bit more careful about going for a full-time position in a startup because you really need to make sure you fit that place if you want to stay for the long-term. Cultural fit in a small company is everything.

What would you advise students who want to work in a startup?

Go meet the startup and talk to the team to get to know the environment. To get hired, make your profile unique. When I was doing recruitment, I never checked the grades of students, but if we saw something unique that was really valuable we invited them for an interview. I am talking about tangible proof of your interest or passions. For example, if you are applying for a content marketing internship and you show a personal blog or a social media channel on which you spend time and energy, it is valuable. Also, knowledge of programming is always a big plus. An entrepreneurial attitude is always highly valued in a startup environment. Lastly, taking initiative is really valued, so do not wait for them to come to you, but go to them.