Basically, what it does….
SMEs and particular individuals have a lot of very specific needs regarding all kinds of topics. The problem is that usually they don’t have time, personal nor economic resources to fund those needs. Here is where the undergraduate students come in handy: they can fulfill the SME´s and particular individual’s needs providing high quality solutions, and they can charge a lot less than specialized companies. By attending the projects, students will gain professional experience, which is a requirement that many companies have and that can also be very helpful in order to increase the probabilities of being selected for a position in a company. Also, through Symbiosis, students can earn some extra money from a temporary job, which is an idea that they will very likely appreciate.
Profession: Student industrial Engineer
Key Characteristic: He has few spare time due to studies.
David is starting 4th semester of his career. He is a good student, and is conscious about the need of professional experience to be competitive but is confuse of how to keep up with his grades and earn experience at the same time.
Profession: Professor of the Science Department
Key Characteristic: “I love to teach to people that loves to learn” Science professor.
Eugenia has worked in the University for 20 years, she started as a teacher for passion, but after constantly repeating the same exercises and topics over and over she has grown to be bored about her profession, but is unable to change due to economic responsibilities. Among the students she is popular for being boring and demanding.
*The quotes have been translated from Spanish to English
Trying to follow the Design thinking Methodology, I have tried to simulate the experiences that the players would experience in the idea. For doing so I have:
- Asked a professor to implement my idea of bringing real challenges as the course projects, instead of repeating the ones of the previews semesters.
- Observed the process of thesis projects that last semester students of industrial engineer do with their professors for local SMEs.
I. FIRST IN-ClASS PROTOTYPE:
Scince the beginning of the semester (August 7) a professor of an elective class implemented my idea of bringing real challenges as the course project. As in past semesters the professor assign 3 groups of 6 students, each one with one project they had to work over the semester. One project with a medium size construction company ( FORSA), the other project is with the University ( Javeriana), and the third one is with a big company TOTTO.
The course is in its 6th week, and the finding are:
STUDENTS DON’T WANT TO SIMPLY FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS, THEY WANT TO BE FREE TO PROPOSE IDEAS OF THEIR OWN.
“ We don’t want to be the labor hand of a company, we want to have the freedom and trust of coming up with something ourselves…” Forsa group
ONE OF THE BIGGEST MOTIVATORS FOR STUDENTS IS THAT THE MANAGERS SHOW INTEREST AND HIGH EXPECTATIONS FROM THE RESULTS.
“ ….having a successful professional coming to our presentation and hearing us out with interest and respect, that’s what I have liked the most, and that’s why I am encourage to do a great job so I would be able to demonstrate myself again…..” TOTTO´s group.
IF THERE IS NO PRESSURE OR SERIOUSNESS FROM THE COMPANY, THE PROJECT WOULD FALL TO BE SEEN BY STUDENTS AS A THEORETICAL PROBLEM AGAIN.
In FORSA's project, the company haven’t answered anything to the work of the students, resulting in lack of motivation.
STUDENTS LOVE GAMING COMPETITION BY LEVELING UP.
In the class we have worked with ClassDojo, an app that allow each of the students to create an avatar and during class if they answer correctly they get points for it. The difference is that this points are not perceived as academic points, but merely as level indicator. “ O man! I need to review more in order to not fall back next time”.
In some careers, students are require to do a thesis project in order to graduate. They usually do it about a problem or project that a local SMEs is needing. But neither the company nor the student take seriously.
II. THESIS PROJECTS:
STUDENTS WOULD ALWAYS FIND A WAY TO ACHIEVE WHAT THEY NEED-TO, BUT WON´T COMPROMISE WITH THEIR DUTY UNLESS THEY LIKE-TO.
In some cases they just pay to someone to do it for them.
“I had to work in this thesis, I couldn’t find any other one so I just had to take it in order to graduate the upcoming summer” Maria Camila, Industrial Engineer student.
SMES PREFER TO PAY IN ORDER TO GUARANTEE A RESULT. IF THE PROJECT IS GIVEN OUT FOR FREE, THEY DON’T FEEL THEY CAN TRUST THE RESULTS, BECAUSE THERE IS NO ACTUAL COMMITMENT.
SMEs don’t take it seriously because they are getting in for free.
“ When there is not investment, then there is no reason for me to be worried about it” Juan Carlos, a local SME Manager.