PRINS: International Studies students make an impact on the ‘real world’
From its beginning in 2012, International Studies has been designed to offer something unique in humanities programmes: a connection between students and organisations, and a working familiarity with the expectations of business. And with the Practising International Studies (PRINS) consultancy project, the culminating project for 3rd year International Studies, programme participant’s studies ‘get real.’
“This programme very much listens to the demand that has been voiced for decades now, that there should be more attention to the professional future of humanities students,” said Johannes Magliano-Tromp during the PRINS final presentations May 7-8 2015. “It’s important that organisations and companies become more familiar with the kind of talents that are being fostered in this Humanities Faculty and within International Studies, and that students learn to apply their knowledge and skills outside of academia.”
This first iteration of the PRINS consultancy projects offered students, and the five participating organisations, proof of concept: That International Studies students with their broad educational backgrounds can offer unique value to NGOs and businesses, and that organisations want their advice.
One example was the NN case on the future of labour and human resources strategies. Jordy Veth, Programme and Talent Manager for NN Group, was particularly curious about “flexicurity” and how such a labour model – in which organisations share a flexible, mobile freelance talent pool – could be rolled out. Students who worked on the project were highly engaged, as the flexible labour model appeals to many young internationals looking forward to building their career. “I already knew I didn’t want to stay in just one company, so this project gave me confirmation that my choice is viable and a good one for my future,” said Nahema Maduro (presenter of the AdviceGuru consultancy team). (read more)
“This wasn’t just an assignment, it really involved me,” said Eke Kronieger (Navigating Networks consultancy team). “Tackling the puzzle was great. I’m really interested in the flexicurity model myself. During PRINS I learned to think about how to delve into the subject and then see the end result, and because it’s a three month project we got a really strong idea of what it is like working with companies.”
While Jordy Veth had done some initial research around the flexicurity issue on his own, the PRINS was valuable for he and NN on a number of levels. “I can’t do research and analysis this thorough, and I’m excited that students are interested in this flexible type of working,” said Jordy Veth.
“The PRINS course is a strong example of connecting the university world with the business world. Business and academia as whole should work more together – there should be a smooth flow from scientific analysis to actors in business,” he says. To leverage the findings of the International Studies students, NN Group will further organise presentations in which students of the winning NN consultancy team(s) will present and discuss their findings with the HR Management Team.
The same sharing of information and presentation by PRINS consultancy team members will happen at Shell, which had provided a challenging project based on implementing water markets. “This is an extremely complex topic and you’ve done a great deal of research – now what will we do with this in Shell?” asked Maike Boggemann, Shell Strategy and Scenarios Projects Manager during the finals. Answer: The research will be shared with Shell’s extensive community of water practitioners, with external partner Xyntéo and its network, and presented to the higher levels of the multinational. “One of the Directors of our Executive Board is leading this work and would like to sit with you and listen to your recommendations,” she said.