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Rector's visit on P-day

Friday, 8th of March, we opened the doors for the 16th time for P-day, where students meet companies in the hopes of securing an internship or a project collaboration for next semester. With a fully booked event, we had the pleasure of welcoming 75 companies and approximately 500 students attending a morning and an afternoon track. Rector of Aarhus University, Brian Bech Nielsen, was also among the participants.

Impressive turnout and high spirits on P-day. Photo: Jens Hartmann, AU Photo

As part of their education, BEng students must do an internship in the 5th semester. Twice a year, companies willingly turn up to create bonds with our students and offer internships, bachelor projects or other collaboration opportunities – and this time was no exception.

Read more about engineering internships.


"First come, first served"

Once again, shortly after the company registrations opened, proud organizer Henrik Olsen could announce that P-day was "sold out". It is clear that the companies want to talk to our students and start building a foundation for future employment. Many internships are subsequently converted into student jobs and, since then, into permanent employment. Henrik Olsen stated about the great commitment we experienced from the participating companies:

"The internship is an important part of an engineer's education. It is where they get to apply their knowledge and put what they learned during their first four semesters to the test. Therefore, we are very happy that companies come forward time and again to offer internship positions to our students.”


Rector's visit

Rektor for Aarhus Universitet, Brian Bech Nielsen, slog også vejen forbi P-dag for at hilse på virksomhederne og høre om deres erfaringer med at have ingeniørpraktikanter. Han udtrykte stor begejstring for arrangementet:

Rector of Aarhus University, Brian Bech Nielsen, also stopped by P-day to greet the companies and hear about their experiences with engineering interns. He expressed great enthusiasm for the event:

"There was a fantastic atmosphere, and it was a great experience. I could clearly feel that our students are in particular demand, and the opportunities for them are vast and wide. Much praise to the department and the head of department, Mikael Bergholz Knudsen, for putting the event together. And a special acknowledgement to organizer Henrik Olsen, who created this match event and has been in charge of it for so many years."

Brian Bech Nielsen also had the opportunity to speak briefly to those present and kick-start the afternoon track's One-Minute-Madness session with the famous words "Let the madness begin!".

Rector's visit on P-day, 8th of March 2024. Photo: Jens Hartmann, AU Photo.


Internships in Denmark and near the Arctic Circle

Among the registered companies were both large tech companies, local startups, agencies, one Greenlandic company, as well as municipal and regional organizations – all with one goal in common, namely talking to the students about the opportunities they had to offer.

In addition to the content of the One-Minute-Madness presentations, the companies tried different methods to get noticed in the battle for the students' attention – from popcorn and croissants to merchandise.

Among the creative methods were Dynaudio, who invited the students into a fully equipped Porsche Cayenne with ATMOS sound for a talk about a specific bachelor project opportunity. Cecilie Kaasgaard, who is an electronics engineer and works as an acoustic engineer at Dynaudio, elaborated:

“We are here to talk to the students and offer collaboration around a bachelor's project involving machine learning – an area in which we ourselves lack competence. We know a lot about acoustics, signal processing and electronics. We believe that if we add machine learning to the equation, there would be a foundation for innovation. All in all, we greatly appreciate the fresh perspective we get from working with students.”

Cecilie Kaasgaard, acoustics engineer, Dynaudio along with said Porsche Cayenne. Photo: Jens Hartmann, AU Photo.

We also met Asbjørn Skovgaard, who, in the picture below, shakes hands with rector Brian Bech Nielsen. Asbjørn Skovgaard is an electrical energy technology engineer and Head of Engineering at the start-up company Battman Energy, which participated in P-day for the first time. We asked him what they expect from their future engineering intern and what the student can expect from an internship at Battman Energy. He explained:

"For us, a good intern will be someone who fits in socially and who is also able to develop technical solutions while understanding commercial business. We offer a position where you can largely define your own tasks and help build a team in our start-up company. You will work closely with experienced people with a high level of professionalism, so you will be well taken care of both professionally and socially.”


Asbjørn Skovgaard from Battman Energy greets rektor, Brian Bech Nielsen. Photo: Jens Hartmann, AU Photo.

Another first-time participant was the Greenlandic mobile and internet provider Tusass. We talked to Mikkel Graabæk, an electrical engineering student and former intern at Tusass. He spoke about his own internship:

"I was given great responsibility from the beginning and experienced that I advanced a lot – both professionally and personally – in a short amount of time. Therefore, I can clearly recommend anyone longing for an adventure abroad, to apply for an internship at Tusass in Greenland.”

Finally, we spoke with Lena Todnem, who is a recent graduate with a master's degree in computer technology and is now employed as a software engineer at Nitor Energy, where she has also had a student job. She explained how they approach the task of designing an internship:

"For us, it's the balance between giving the students permission to find out what they can do while helping them to step out of their comfort zone. In my experience, that is where you can really grow. We are looking for students who are curious, have a drive and a desire to write a lot of code.”


The importance of long-term employment opportunities

Among the participating students were mainly 4th-semester students who will be doing their internships next semester. But also students from previous semesters, who are already starting the work of getting to know the companies, were present.

We spoke to many students during the day and asked them about their considerations in connection with choosing a company to do an internship with, as well as what their strategy was for choosing which companies to seek out during P-day.

Among their responses, clear trends emerged. High on the list ranked the opportunity to work with something "real". The company's location in relation to the students' residence was also an important parameter. Despite the low unemployment rate among our diploma engineers, several students also mentioned that it was important for them to have opportunities that extend beyond the internship – that they had the option of getting a student job and, later, permanent employment with the company.

The colored stickers on the students' clothes indicate the students’ study programs. E for electronics, EE for electrical energy technology, ST for healthcare technology and SW for software technology. Photo: Jens Hartmann, AU Photo..

After the first round of One-Minute-Madness, we met Katrine Johannsen and Mette Vogelius (electrical energy technology, 3rd semester) and Andreas Jacobsen (electronics, 3rd semester). Their reaction to One-Minute-Madness was as follows:

"We are on our way over to talk to the companies that were clear in expressing what they were looking for and what they could offer in an internship. For us, it was a bit annoying that some of them spent the time talking about gyms, canteens and skiing trips when you want to hear about what they do and what you can do with them. They can always tell us about the other things when we talk to them afterwards.”

We also talked to Niels Jakob Østerberg, a 4th-semester software student. He was there to find out if there were any companies present that could offer him some very specific opportunities:

"For me, the most important thing is that the work is interesting and secondly, that it is possible for me to get to and from work. I hope to find an internship with a company where I can work with cyber security. I am interested in working with penetration tests and helping to secure the company's systems against external threats."

Warsan Abdullahi Sheikh Musse, who is studying healthcare technology in the 2nd semester, went to P-day at the request of her head of studies, Samuel Alberg Thrysøe, and academic supervisor, Tina Øvad:

"We have been encouraged to participate today because Samuel and Tina want us to open our eyes to the opportunities that exist for those of us who study healthcare technology. I took a lot of notes during One-Minute Madness, and based on them, I have selected some companies to talk to today. Afterwards, I have to go home and do a little more research, so that during the next semesters I will become more aware of the opportunities I have in connection with an internship."

Amanda Houmøller Bork, who studies electronics in the 4th semester, is looking for a dynamic internship:

"I value the opportunity to develop the skills I have learned here at AU and that at the same time I will get to learn completely new things that could be cool to work with. I am interested in signal analysis and circuit design and analysis but am open to finding a company that does something else. I have also sent an application to CERN, but there are no guarantees, so I would also like to talk to other companies about internships.”

At the end of the day, a happy organizer, Henrik Olsen, could look back on another successful P-day. He reminded that the next P-day will be on October 4th. Registration will open here at the end of August.

Henrik Olsen, Photo: Jens Hartmann, AU Photo.


Henrik Olsen, associate professor
E-mail: ho@ece.au.dk
Phone: +45 4189 3242