Why did you come to Illinois Tech?
I have always wanted to discover the U.S. Illinois Tech came to my French University to give a presentation and here I am.
Why did you choose your major and specialization?
I chose to study Information Technology and Management because it combines both business and computing. Back in France, I held a Bachelor in Computer Science, but I want to enhance my business and technology skills.
What is your favorite thing about being a student at Illinois Tech?
My favorite thing about Illinois Tech is the people. People at Illinois Tech take time to talk to students and enjoy helping them outside of class hours. There are also students coming from all around the world. I discovered enlightening people and made great friends.
How has Illinois Tech helped you?
Since it is my first time in the US, I do not know much about the American culture. I can read as much as I want online about it, but the best way to learn the American culture is meeting and listening to American people. Illinois Tech allowed me to meet interesting people, whom provided me with great advice.
How are the courses like? How do they help you? (Prepare for jobs/career)
Most of my courses include projects. To receive the most out of my courses, my teachers allowed me to work on personal projects. I built my startup’s web application during my first semester thanks to this agreement, maximizing the benefit from my courses.
How is the academic experience? How does it compare to your previous educational experience?
I really appreciate the flexibility of my course options. There are many elective courses that allow me to pursue courses that interest me. I also like the mindset of teachers and our academic advisors at Illinois Tech that allow us to study what we like most. Working on real-life technology projects in class is also great. In France, the education system is less flexible. We choose our majors and then all our classes are mandatory; we do not have elective classes. Moreover, in France, I was not able to adapt my school projects to relate them to personal projects.
How is campus life? What do you like to do?
Last September, with three other friends, we decided to try to build a startup, HubRoad (www.hubroad.io). This entrepreneurship adventure absorbs most of our time. Thanks to the infrastructure on campus, we may work at almost any time of the day, either in dorms’ lounges, the library, or even the MTCC building. And if you need a break, you may go swimming or play basketball. Campus life is practical and fun.
Thinking about the resources provided to you by your Department (labs, faculty, networking and career events, competitions), what do you find most valuable and why?
In the Fall 2016 semester, with our startup we took part in the Chicago Innovation Challenge. The ITM faculty members were great advisors and very supportive during this experience. I believe that networking is the most valuable resource inside the ITM department.
Where do you work?
I work at HubRoad, the company I co-founded with three other Illinois Tech students/friends during my studies at Illinois Tech. We spend around 40 hours a week working on this project. Job Title: I am the co-founder and lead software architect at HubRoad (www.hubroad.io)
What type of projects or innovation have you done while at Illinois Tech?
Being in my last year of my graduate studies, like my graduating class, I must find a job. I talked frequently with Career Services at Illinois Tech to learn more about the job application process in the US. My friends and I had the feeling that the job application process is complex for students who are not used to it. We surveyed IIT students and came up with the idea of a web platform to provide automatic tailored advice to students during their job search using open databases of interviews from previous students. We won the 3rd prize of the Chicago Innovation Challenge, chosen from a total of 40 projects.
How have you applied what you learned at Illinois Tech to your job?
From the first day of school, I managed to integrate my personal projects with my classes. I believe the best way of learning is to apply what you learn in an actual, concrete project. This way, you feel more involved in the class and enjoy the experience more. In my Java and Testing classes, I directly worked on my startup project building and tested my product.
What is your proudest moment as a student?
The ceremony during which we received our third prize from the Chicago Innovation Challenge in Hermann Hall
If I could do 1 thing over again it would be.
I would gladly feel the thrill of the Innovation Challenge again.
What is the biggest challenge you faced as a student?
The biggest challenge as a student is probably time management and as an entrepreneur the difficulty in allowing yourself free-time. Simultaneously, I am launching a startup, conducting a 6-month research project about “micro-feedback”, and am a graduate student in ITM.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
I would like to work in my own company full-time. However, I am an international student and because of U.S. legislation. I must obtain a full-time position in another company while applying for the appropriate visa to transfer my startup from a side project to a full-time endeavor. My goal is to raise enough money with the startup to obtain an Entrepreneur VISA and build startups! I also enjoy sharing my experiences with others, so I would love to teach people one day.
Advice for other students:
The best way to accomplish great things is to network with people, listen to them and learn from them. We are so young and many people have been through some of our future adventures already. Those people are usually more than happy to help you, and share their experience with you. Alone, you may do good, but with the help of people you can do great.