PRINS: a growing ‘brand’ for organisations and proven career impact
“This year we are really dealing with current, critical issues the world is facing, issues students can see in newspaper headlines today,” said Dr. Sarita Koendjbiharie during the PRINS 2017 kick-off sessions. “As Humanities students you should be working to create solutions for these issues, or at least creating knowledge that will offer solutions.”
This year the presenting organisations included the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DAMCO, the World Food Programme, the European Space Agency, Workplace Pride and Xyntéo (which also participated in PRINS 2016). Each organisation asked tough questions around critically important topics – from food security in embattled lands to LGBT rights in a globalised workplace; from the shifting ‘shared’ values of the Netherlands and the Americas to the swift integration of the EU’s refugee population into its working world; from innovations for a venerable supply chain provider to using satellite data to carry out the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr. Koendjbiharie emphasises that after just three years, and with ‘repeat presenters’ like Xyntéo, “we are in a luxury position” in terms of the calibre of organisations and cases that the PRINS offers to 3rd year BA International Studies students. Past organisations have included multinationals like Shell, Unilever, and Samsung and NGOs like Transparency International and OPCW, all of whom have expressed satisfaction with the work of the PRINS consultancy teams.
In fact the PRINS may be developing a brand amongst forward-thinking organisations who see the advantage in availing themselves of the brightest young international minds from one of Europe’s highest ranking Humanities departments. “We’re very pleased to be working with ESA and the World Food Programme, which is part of the UN and the largest humanitarian organisation in the world,” says Dr. Koendjbiharie, “and Xyntéo truly appreciated the energy of our students last year and is using parts of all five team reports for a current project in Myanmar. It was really a productive experience for them.”
Not only is PRINS beginning to show maturity and impact for organisations; the first reports are coming in from alumni of the BA International Studies about how PRINS helps them fulfil their ambitions – whether that means moving on to a Master’s at Leiden University (or another institution), or leaping directly into the working world via internships or jobs.
Blažka Felicijan (BA International Studies 2016), for example, was a student consultant on the Transparency International case in PRINS 2016, then went on to a Research Internship at the Post-Conflict Research Centre in Sarajevo, and is currently an Intern at the UNHCR in Slovenia. “During the PRINS I truly learned how to perform research; specifically how to pose correct academic/research questions, how to collect data and how to draw conclusions,” she says, “and I often look back at the framework of my PRINS research when developing new research.”
And Polina Liubomirova, who was team leader for the PRINS 2016 Xyntéo case, says she is “incredibly happy I had the chance to do such and interesting and useful course.” Polina, currently in her MPhil Technology Policy at University of Cambridge, says that “even when I was doing interviews for my Master’s I mentioned the PRINS and people were really interested – sometimes even more than in my academic courses.”