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EIT Digital Master: Not just The Regular, International Double-Degree

“Two Years, Two Countries, Two Degrees” is the slogan EIT Digital uses to advertise its master’s programme. We spoke to Louis Durand, alumni of the Embedded Systems course and currently working at Amazon in Luxembourg, to find out what makes the master’s special and what advantages it has to offer.

Image Credits: Avi RichardsUnsplash 

You are innovative, work creatively and future-orientated, have passed a first university degree with flying colours and are brimming with entrepreneurial competence? The EIT’s Digital Master School might be just the thing for you. Its stated goal is nothing less than that of educating the digital innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. To this end, a two-year programme is offered in which students can take courses at two world-class universities in two different European countries to obtain a double degree that combines technical competences with practical skills in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Students can currently choose between seven technical programmes: Autonomous Systems, Cloud and Network Infrastructure, Cyber Security, Data Science, Embedded Systems, Fintech, and Human Computer Interaction and Design. Are you intrigued by these topics or one of them in particular? As the application period for the new academic year begins in November 2021, alumni Louis was on hand to answer questions and give you internal insights into the master’s programme to help you decide if it is the right option for you.

Louis (28), who is French, was admitted to the engineering school IMT Atlantique after a preparatory class in Math-Physics. For his last year, he opted for a joint program with the EIT Digital Master school programme in Embedded Systems. He spent his first year at KTH in Stockholm and the second one at the University of Trento in northern Italy. As part of his Master’s thesis, he worked as an intern on the development of a exoskeleton prototype and its control intelligence at Safran Electronics & Defense in Massy, Paris. Immediately after graduating, he was taken on there and worked on the user interface of the French infantrymen radio. He then continued his career in Luxembourg as part of the Amazon Fulfillment Technologies organisation.

Louis, how did you come across the EIT Digital Master’s programme and why did you choose it?

A good friend of mine decided to enrol for the Master’s while I took a year off to create a start-up with some classmates. The next year, I decided to enrol in the programme as well after receiving good feedback from this friend. I felt that this Master was a good fit for me for many reasons: the professional quality of the programmes and the host schools was an important criterion, the entrepreneurial component resonated with me after I had a year of experience with entrepreneurship, and the international experience would be very useful for my future career in my field.

“The best entrepreneurship course was Open and User Innovation, a course about how open source or user-led initiatives and can help a business to grow faster.”
Which of the programmes did you attend and why?

This was quite a tough decision. My interests always lied between robotics (electronics, mechanics, control theory) and software engineering (algorithmics, Artificial Intelligence, software development). I hesitated between the programme Human Computer Interaction and Design, which covered themes such as Artificial Intelligence, and the programme Embedded Systems, which had a specialization on Cyber-Physical Systems. I chose the latter with the Cyber-Physical Systems specialization. I could learn in my first year the basics of computer architecture and understand exactly how a computer works at its core, and I could follow a course on Robotics and another about Internet of Things in my second year. This was very interesting. The robotics course proved to be very helpful during my internship on the exoskeleton project. Today, the EIT Digital Masterschool proposes new tracks among which the “Autonomous Systems” track, which would have been a perfect fit for me!

Looking back, what were the best courses or the greatest lessons for you that you still benefit from today?

There was a research methodology course in KTH that was very useful to get accustomed to research and scientific writing. In terms of technical courses, the computer architecture, and compilers courses in KTH were tough but in-depth; now it is satisfying to know the details under the hood of a computer and programming languages. In Trento, the Wireless Sensor Networks and Robotics courses were the most applied courses of all. I used a lot of the Control Theory I learnt from the Robotics course for my internship at Safran. Finally, the best entrepreneurship course was Open and User Innovation, a course about how open source or user-led initiatives and can help a business to grow faster.

What were the advantages of this double-degree master?

In a few points, I would say:

  • Double degree from two renown universities
  • A true and long-term international experience, which is very valuable in tech
  • The summer school is a very great experience, both for the social events and the workshops.
  • A lot of opportunities to travel! Kick-off event, summer school and the two university locations makes for at least four different destinations as part of the program.
  • No fees for European students like myself
  • Possible grants up to 1000€ per month for the duration of the whole master!
  • Exposure and opportunities to start a business. Especially in Stockholm, the EIT node has a lot of resources and the city itself has lots of events and opportunities.