For most students, an internship is the perfect way to challenge themselves. They get their first professional experience and learn thanks to the professionals they work with and the projects they get involved in.

For companies, on the other hand, an intern means a helpful & skilled hand. They bring along fresh ideas, up-to-date knowledge, curiosity, and enthusiasm. Supervision and training are of course necessary but, what better combination than that to start a new project? The more innovative the project is, the more interesting for the student.

The Microsoft Innovation Center BrusselsIT Internship Program connects talented IT Bachelor students in their third year with Brussels based companies willing to work on a specific project. For 15 weeks, the selected students work three days a week in the company and attend two days of coaching and workshops at the MIC, thereby achieving the right balance between hands-on experience and training.

For the companies, it is a good way to develop a side project with the support of seasoned experts, but it also becomes a very effective system to find new talent to grow their teams.

"The biggest gain is the innovative part of the program", says Luc Vandergoten, General Manager at Contraste Europe

Interesting candidates & innovative projects

Contraste Europe is a large company operating in the finance, utilities, public institutions and non-commercial organizations sectors that offers a range of IT services such as Advisory Services or Solution Integrations. This Belgian group has taken part in the MIC’s Internship Program for four years now and in the words of its General Manager, Luc Vandergoten, the program “is a good opportunity to meet interesting candidates and work on innovative projects with support”. “Since the first year of the participation, we are working on a development framework for .NET applications. After 4 years we can say we have a good framework allowing us to quickly develop responsive web applications integrated in O365”, explains Mr. Vandergoten.

The Belgian startup Panora.me, the worlds’ first provider of panoramic selfie technology for the global entertainment industry, has also participated in the last two editions of the Internship Program. After taking part in the MIC Brussels’ programs for startups (the Boostcamp and the programs), they saw this opportunity as “the logical next step”, says its Founder and CEO, Raphaël de Borman. The students hosted in Panora.me could work on the front-end and back-end of their solution.

"Temptation is high to keep this fantastic opportunity for us but frankly speaking, we can only recommend it to any startup involved in technology", says Raphäel de Borman, Founder & CEO at Panora.me

Why take part?

Contraste Europe considers the program benefits as “getting access to top candidates” and also getting the “chance to evaluate their capacity and potential during the program”. But they view the biggest gain as “the innovative part”. “Since we need to define a project each year, we look at it as an opportunity to do research and get some innovative solutions as an outcome, with the valuable support of the MIC”, states its General Manager. Several interns from the internship have been hired so far, and the first one taking part on it is now in charge of the program in the company side. A nice way to come full circle.

As a smaller company, the impact of the program in Panora.me is different, allowing them to reduce their development costs and to dedicate more resources to R&D projects. They share  Contraste’s view in recommending the program to other companies, “ especially to any startup involved in technology”, highlights Mr. de Borman.