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TESLA Minor - University of Amsterdam

The TESLA Minor provides the new generation of academically educated people with critical analysis, problem solving and entrepreneurial skills in the areas of social responsibility and sustainability. The skills the students obtain can be used in any field to put their knowledge into practice and value for society. Through the TESLA minor over 100 students have been trained and worked on over 30 business cases. Some innovative ideas and projects from TESLA students have been continued by companies such as the Friesland Campina solar project.

Context

The Tesla Minor is a 5-month educational programme for research master students from the beta faculties of all Universities. Students work in small groups on complex projects for real clients that combine science with a business or societal challenge.

The TESLA minor is a yearly project of great personal and educational value to TheRockGroup. We’ve developed the Tesla Minor in 2013 when the University of Amsterdam expressed the need to have an excellence programme that would prepare graduate students to utilise their scientific expertise in working environments. We use this project to disseminate our business and sustainability knowledge to a yearly selection of graduate students. The Tesla programme has the objective to move students out of their academic comfort zone and engage them in different types of real challenges. While working for real clients they learn how to manage a project, communicate in different situations and create value in ‘non-scientific settings’.

Our Work

We train and develop students as sustainability consultants by connecting them with companies, research institutes and civil society organizations and guide them on professional and personal level. The Minor offers a 360-degree learning experience including an integrated sports, peer coaching and development programme.

Through designing and managing the TESLA Minor, TheRockGroup has experience with and participated in over 30 sustainability and health related projects with organizations such as NGOs (KIT), SME’s (Tovertafel, Burg Group, Scienza, Sungevity) and Dutch multinationals (such as Friesland Campina, Unilever) and research institutes (such as TNO and ECN), governmental organisations (such as the Port of Amsterdam, the national police and the ‘Waterschappen’/Waterboards) and sustainable companies (such as Commonland).

The training and development experienced by students during the Tesla Minor provides the students with a steep learning curve in both their professional and personal development. They learn how to apply their scientific knowledge and share their own ambitions and talents to create value within and outside of science for society. The sustainable entrepreneurship and business development approach in TESLA leads to many emerging ideas that can be brought to practical use in the future.

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