"Professionals should go back to school"

Dr Roland Clarke working together with EIT Digital Master School students.

Dr Roland Clarke working together with EIT Digital Master School students.

Dr Roland Clarke (left) and Peter Navrén, IT Project manager at Rexel (Sweden)

Dr Roland Clarke (left) and Peter Navrén, IT Project manager at Rexel (Sweden)

He is back. Last year, Dr Roland Clarke, director of Clarke Energy Associates in Barbados, participated in the EIT Digital Academy Summer School on Digital Finance in Budapest. This year, he attends the Internet of Things (IoT) and business transformation Summer School in Stockholm. "Midcareer and advanced career professionals should return to school, because the tech business environment demands it."

To get to the IoT and Business Transformation Summer School, Clarke flew from Barbados via Miami, London, Dusseldorf and Helsinki to Stockholm. The trip was worth it, he says: "I was in Hungary last year to get an introduction to the world of innovation and entrepreneurship in the context of new technologies and that has opened my eyes. To go home I have a better flight with only one stop in London. That will only take two days."

If the trip takes so long, could you not just have chosen another course on the Internet of Things closer to your home?

"No, I felt strongly I should return to EIT Digital instead of going somewhere else. The EIT Digital Academy Summer School has the right mix of technology and innovation on the one hand and entrepreneurship on the other. Besides, this Summer School is mostly attended by EIT Digital Master School students. It is a huge opportunity to work with them. The younger people still have inquiring minds about technology and recognise that the world is progressing extremely rapidly. You should connect to them to keep up with the latest developments. If you want to attract future employees and customers you need to understand how the engineers communicate, what their values are. I think, all midcareer and advanced career professionals should return to school because the tech business environment demands it. Given the rapid trends in the digitalisation of industry, older professionals need to go back to school."

What did last year's learning give you?

"Energy is my business. I think I got much more constructive deep knowledge on the technology side and I have invested in Bitcoins and Ethereum. I have not gained any consultancy jobs as yet. The industry requires a certification for blockchain and I have been studying further about blockchain online. That is even easier since I attended the Blockchain Summer School."

Why did you choose to attend the Internet of Things and Business Transformation class?

Dr Roland Clarke"I got an invite from Hungary, as I was there last year, for Machine Learning for Financial Data. That is not for me right now. First, you have to have your systems architecture in place before you can work on topics like that. I might go back next year for either Big Data Analytics or Machine Learning. Now, for me the emphasis on IoT is essential for my business. I need to learn all about data and how you get the initial data from things like sensors, controllers and actuators connected to real world physical systems. Then challenge the data in your information systems where you can do analytics and predictions. In the energy market predictions are very important. Blockchain technology comes into play after the initial data is collected."

What is your need?

"As a consultant, I am planning on transforming my consultancy into a technology-based company in the energy space. At this Summer School, I specifically selected a utility assignment use case to work on with my student team."

What is the added value of working with students?

"Within my team I am the energy expert and business consultant. Students have their specialisation in information systems, communication systems and electronics which are all related to technology that supports the internet of things. I learn from them, they learn from me. It is a marriage between my area and their specialisation."

What are your learning goals this year?

"I want to go deeper into writing business proposals, doing better market research and understanding issues of customer value even more. I also want to know more about supply chain information. The next step is to use the intelligence gleaned from information processing, and ultimately communicate that back to customers in order to help create value for them."

Your first goals were the same as last year.

"Indeed. Last year, in Hungary, the learning experience was a discovery process, the concept was new to me. I didn't know what I was getting into. Now I have a better idea of what to expect, so now I am in a much better position to grasp the teaching. I can now go deeper on those topics."

Did you meet your learning goals?

"I would say so. I feel much more confident this year compared to last year."


See also the story of Peter Navrén

EIT Digital Academy Summer Schools

Just like last summer, The EIT Digital Academy educates about 300 participants, both professionals and EIT Digital Master School students between their first and second year of study, on making business on new emerging technologies. Each of the ten two-week Summer Schools handles a topic in the field of Digital Wellbeing (Eindhoven and Lisbon), Digital Infrastructure (Trento and Stockholm for Big Data Analytics and IoT and usiness Transformation), Digital Finance (Budapest), Digital Industry (Munich and Helsinki) and Digital Cities (Rennes and Tallinn). The participants are exposed to the latest digital developments given to them by respected keynote speakers and learn how to transform technology into business.

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