Students, you have a chance to change the world!

Students, show us all you have got and help cope with the global social challenges that Europe faces continuously. A successful Slovak start-up Challengest, which links up skilled students with the best companies is coming in cooperation with the Erasmus programme +  and foreign companies, with a unique project focused on increasing the competences and exploiting the unused potential of young people to address European social problems.

 What does it mean in practice?

You have a unique opportunity to develop your own solution for main social challenges, and thus become a hero.

Hidden superhero

How does it work?

A foreign company that is active in some of global issues will assign a task, a challenge, for students and young people under 30 years of age. Solvers try to analyse the assigned task and propose the best, realistic and feasible solution. Then the solutions are evaluated by a specific company which is the challenge sponsor, and the authors of the best solutions will win a valuable prize and will have an opportunity to actively participate in the implementation of the proposed solution in practice. It is a great opportunity not only to gain valuable experience and a remarkable item for your CV, but also to participate in a real change which will have a long-term positive impact on the entire world.

What social issues will be addressed in the challenge?

They are global issues affecting the lives of people across Europe; for instance the air pollution, poverty, unemployment or education. It simply deals with issues which must be not only discussed, but also solved. They are topics receiving some attention, but still long-term solutions that would lead to a gradual improvement of the situation, are absent. It is vital that these topics are addressed just by young people for whom it is, among other things, an opportunity to develop the future by themselves. It is precisely the right time to come with breaking solutions. A combination of young intelligent people, full of ideas and achievements of these modern times can finally bring solutions that our society needs more than it is aware of.

What can you obtain?

In addition to a prize and the feeling of a job well done, it is a great entry for your CV. Participating in such a competition is the sign of your proactivity, and also of that you are aware of that these global challenges must be addressed. The authors of the best solutions will not only win attractive prizes, but they can also take part in an internship and help to put their own solution in practice. Moreover, each solver will have an opportunity to participate in a development programme and through e-learning develop such skills as:

  • Professional communication and communication techniques
  • Presentation skills
  • Time Management – effective time management
  • Creativity, innovation and change
  • Project management
  • Marketing skills
  • The art of persuasion and negotiation
  • Multicultural collaboration

Launch_post_FB2a

 

Show all of us that young people have great ideas. Present yourself before the whole world and be part of a positive global change!  

You can find more information at www.challengest.com. The registration is fast, and in a few seconds you can sign in at challenge. Work hard, think social and be successful!

5 rules of effective networking or “Never eat alone”

never eat alone_1

We all know that valuable contacts are really important when it comes to finding a great job, almost irreplaceable. However, it´s important to work systematically on the net of contacts. It won´t just appear in front of you. In his book Never eat alone, Keith Ferazzi describes in detail everything you need to know about making up your own net of contacts. Here are 5 netoworking rules from this book:

1. Make up your own network beforehand

Start now! Don´t wait till you are jobless and relying only on yourself. You have to create a network of co-workers and friends before you really need their help. People are more willing to help you when they know you and like you. The most important is to know these people and perceive them as friends and not only as those who can help you or who are your “potential clients“.

2. Don´t be an annoying groveler

Be courageous! Address powerful and well-known people, don´t be afraid to talk to them, but be aware of the following:

  • don´t grovel where, in reality, nobody wants to meet you
  • always talk directly; purposely talk about a sensible topic with a set aim; always get to the point quickly
  • be open, be yourself and don´t avoid more controversial topics; having your own opinion – even if it is different, is always valuable
  • always try to offer something – help or any piece of information; don´t try to get to know somebody just because you need something from him or her

 3. React to other people´s needs and problems

Help your friends even if they don´t ask you for it. Try to solve their problems or, at least, try to direct them to somebody who will help or advise them. Don´t think only about your own success but also on how all those around you could reach it.

 4. Keep your relationships healthy and working

Remember and write down the names of people you met. Make notes on what you talked about so the next time you meet them again, you can start where you had finished. You must develop and maintain good relationships. It´s not enough if you send a Christmas greeting to them. Organise parties, offer them a coffee, lunch or just spend some time with them. Find the interests you have in common.

 5. Be interesting

Learn to analyse various trends, be expert in what you are doing and try to be perceived as an expert. Work on your continuous education and on your personal growth. Dedicate 80% of all your effort in improving your strengths and 20% in your weaknesses. This is the way how you will be  inspirative and enriching for anyone you meet.

I fully recommend the book Never eat alone to all those who have a feeling that they are falling behind in developing and maintaining the relationships and they´d like to change it. When you open it, you will find a number of examples, common mistakes but also a lot of great tips for oyur successful developing and maintaing work relationships.
Michal Vernarský
(student of psychology and successful Challenger)

When you lack time for a startup, work on it at 6.30 am

Sometimes a startup is built from a garage, sometimes from “terribly painful” waking up. I didn`t hear about a second one yet. But I certainly lived it.

The first morning cup of coffee, the first meeting

First morning coffee

I was having luch with Andrej one day. He mentioned he was building a team of people who would be possibly working on a new project. This project would connect the world of students and business. He explained what he really meant by starting a new project and what it might bring to students and companies. It sounded unbelievable. Next was an offer to meet the other day to discuss this business idea and it´s planning.

However, there was one problem. We were supposed to meet at 6:30 am. Don´t take me wrong, we didn´t want to torture ourselves by getting up so freakin´ early but this was the only time we both were available (as far as we couldn´t find any other suitable term due to our work and family responsibilities). Eventhough I hesitated for a while, I told myself that surely I would manage to get up at 5:30 for one time.

Of course I overslept and got to the meeting a bit late. We were discussing about the sense of this idead as a startup. We also went through important things that would be necessary for running such business. Anyway, at 8:30 we had to leave for our work. Since it was impossible to discuss everything during these two hours, we arranged another meeting for the following morning at 6:30. I said to myself: “Nevermind, I´ve made it once, I´ll make it again.” We managed to discuss more the next meeting, but not everything. And as it is characteristic for startups, new questions were appearing and we didn´t manage to finish our plan even at our second, third, either the fourth or the fifth meeting… and suddenly, two months passed and we got used to get up at 5:30 every morning. Moreover, it was clear to us that there will be no change in our early getting up the following two months.

3 advantages of 6:30 startups: (except some astonishing sun risings)

1. Nobody disturbs you in the morning – there are only few people who go to work so early. It´s not common at all that a colleague calls you that he needs you to send him a report or that he would like to have a word with you about something. And so we had our two undisturbed hours only for our plans. We could work on developing our startup.

2. It´s obvious that it is really imortant for you – I had to set up my alarm clock at 5:30. And this is something! I bet that not a lot of people who I know have even seen such time on their alarm clock. This is one of the reasons why any of us had no doubts about how important our startup was for us. When we both saw this, we hired our first employee. His excitement about this project wasn´t difficult to test – he was willing to be present at every morning meeting.

3. Building the team – telling stories over our common morning coffee, grumbling about the alarm clock. All these can help your team to live kind of togetherness. This was important especially in the first phases because we didn´t have much time to build a team. Believe me that this “morning rite” built our team. When somebody didn´t arrive and wasn´t answering the phone, it was easily understood. We all knew what happened and laughed about that.

I´m not telling this is the best what can be done for building a startup team. To meet at 6:30 every day is not an ordinary startup´s common routine. However, in our case it worked. Not because we planned this. Simply, there wasn´t another way. It has brought us a number of positive things that have enriched and strenghtened us. There is something what I´ve learned from my own experience – if you have an idea and you really want to develop it, there isn´t a single reason why you shouldn´t give it a try. A lack of time doesn´t matter then, because there is still enough time at 6:30.