A Successful Thesis Collaboration Leading to a Hire

We have interviewed four companies asking them what it takes to create a successful thesis collaboration and there are plenty of good advice to take into consideration. In particular, if you want to improve your chances of getting a hire as a result of the thesis collaboration.

Katrine Lionett Pedersen

Are you nervous about collaborating with a company on your thesis? What to expect from a thesis collaboration? Don’t. We’ve some tips from several companies on how to deal with that. Like that, you know just how to get a successful thesis collaboration leading to a hire.

The Companies we interviewed

We’ve talked to four different companies, all different in sizes, about collaborating with a student on a thesis collaboration. Including how the thesis collaboration may lead to a hire. 

The four companies interviewed:

Become – marketing agency

Keepit – software company

KARL – micro-tech startup

Shape A/S – apps development company

One of the companies is Become, a Danish marketing agency with 11-50 employees that delivers targeted and measurable marketing strategies to enterprises. Become is a result of a merger of two companies in 2020 but both companies, before becoming Become, were established in 2011. The Danish marketing agency provides professional services, deriving from 18 years of experience in online marketing.

Secondly, we’ve Keepit, a medium-sized software company with 51-200 employees that specializes in cloud-to-cloud backup. Keepit possesses +20 years of experience in data protection and is deservedly considered the industry leader in Cloud-to-Cloud SaaS (software as a service) data backup.

Enrika Bauraite from Keepit and Henrik Sporh Christiansen from Become.
Enrika Bauraite from Keepit and Henrik Sporh Christiansen from Become. Graphic by Fausto Bottini.

Thirdly, we’ve talked to KARL, a micro-tech startup with 2-10 employees founded in 2020. KARL is an Al-driven (artificial intelligence) SaaS tool for farming management that aims to release unnecessary use of metal resources and secure crop yield by semi-automating task coordination based on variable factors.

Lastly, we’ve Shape A/S, an award-winning mobile development studio that is focusing on apps development. At this moment, Shape A/S is a medium-sized enterprise with +110 dedicated employees and +10 years of experience in digital transformation for mobile and beyond.

And now, let’s get down to how you get a successful thesis collaboration with a company leading to a hire!

Relationship Builders – start off with a good topic

Once you’ve signed up on Excelerate, you can see good examples of thesis topics and upload your own. When a company has reached out to you, you’ll meet in person or virtually to agree on the terms of the thesis collaboration. Once you both agree to proceed with the thesis collaboration, the real work begins. Remember, the thesis collaboration also enables the company to assess whether you’d be a fit for the company as a future hire after the collaboration has ended. Therefore, you ought to deliver your best. Remember that you’re in charge of the project and that you’re collaborating with people. 

“As a student, focus on building a relationship with the people that you’re in touch with within the company. Thus, there is a higher chance of them being interested in hiring you afterward. Remember that it’s people who hire other people and in many situations decisions are made on human factors.”  

Enrika Bauraite, Strategic and Enterprise SDR Team Leader at Keepit
Laura Asta Rendboe from KARL and Søren Ulrikkeholm from Shape A/S.
Laura Asta Rendboe from KARL and Søren Ulrikkeholm from Shape A/S. Graphic by Fausto Bottini.

Speaking of building relationships, interaction and communication are important factors to consider when dealing with the company.

“Communication is key, being straightforward when having trouble and being able to ask for help is crucial.”

Laura Asta Rendboe, CEO and Co-founder at KARL

During the thesis collaboration with a student, you might run into challenges either associated with the process or the thesis writing but also with the company. In that case, make sure to reach out to the company and be honest but friendly. Always. Ensure them that you’re a great candidate for a future hire after the thesis collaboration with a student has ended.

“Be open-minded towards deviating from the plan if something unexpected happens. Some things just don’t work as fluently and efficiently as expected.”

Laura Asta Rendboe, CEO and Co-founder at KARL

Expectations During a Thesis Collaboration

Both the students and the companies have expectations of each other during the thesis collaboration, which ought to be met. In that connection, there are a few factors to consider. One of them being that keeping the right attitude and spirit is fundamental throughout the collaboration. 

“I’d most likely view the students as interns during the thesis collaboration. Meaning that obviously I know they don’t have much experience yet but I’d expect from them that they’re willing to learn and will do their very best in contributing to the company.”

Henrik Sporh Christiansen, Partner in Become

Speaking of keeping the right attitude, showing a genuine interest in the company as a whole is also a great advantage. Both for the sake of the thesis collaboration but also for you to land that first hire. Passionate students are very attractive.

“Passivity is a no-go, thus you signal to the company that you’re not really interested in them nor the project. Engage with the company and show that you’re passionate about the project and the company itself.”

Søren Ulrikkeholm, Director of Operations at Shape A/S

Furthermore, it’s also vital that you take responsibility for the process of the project while maintaining the right attitude, simultaneously.

“Show engagement and passion during the thesis collaborating and work with a ‘freedom with responsibility’-mindset”. 

Laura Asta Rendboe, CEO and Co-founder at KARL

How to Land the Hire

As you, as a university student, are contributing to new knowledge on a subject, the research you’re conducting can be of great value to the company.

“For the smaller companies, the results and the research of the thesis collaboration are probably more important than to bigger companies since they don’t have a big budget to create research on.” 

Enrika Bauraite, Strategic and Enterprise SDR Team Leader at Keepit

However, depending on the topic, the research you’re conducting might also be valuable for corporate companies. Also, the companies are assessing whether you could be a potential fit for a future hire in the company after the thesis collaboration has ended. Hence, there are a few other things that the companies might be looking for in you as well.

“It’s important that the students have the potential to engage and communicate with customers properly – for the greater good of our company. Hence, we’ll look into how the students communicate in general and how they engage with us to assess that.”

Søren Ulrikkeholm, Director of Operations at Shape A/S
Thesis collaboration with a company leading to a hire.
When landing that hire. Photo by Fausto Bottini.

Others are also looking into the additional interests you have. These might be beneficial to the company during the thesis collaboration and potentially after they hire you. 

“I look into what the student does outside of the classroom. It’s important that the student has something special to offer besides what they have gained of knowledge at the university. Work experience, voluntary work, webinars attended, hobbies, books read about a specific topic relevant for work, or anything of that sort looks good on the CV. If you can transfer that knowledge into how you deal with your thesis and the collaboration itself you can make a great impact.”

Henrik Sporh Christiansen, Partner in Become

Your social skills are definitely being assessed too during the thesis collaboration. Thus, the company can see if you actually fit into the company and are the perfect hire.

“Your grades are not that important, we’re focussing on if you’re a good and reasonable person. If you’re funny and have a positive attitude you’re an interesting candidate.”

Søren Ulrikkeholm, Director of Operations at Shape A/S

Just Do It

All in all, it’s distinct that showing engagement and interest in the project and the people are great starters of a successful thesis collaboration with a company, which may lead to a hire. If you do your absolute best in delivering results, the company will notice you. Hence, you’re one step closer to a hire. If any challenges arise, communication is key. Being able to take responsibility and being honest with what you want with the project is crucial. It also tells something about your character and work ethic. 

So, just do it. Sign up on Excelerate and get a successful thesis collaboration leading to a hire if everything goes by the book. You’ve just read a lot of tips on how a successful thesis collaboration with a company. So, you have nothing to lose and everything to win. Take the plunge!