The stereotypical introverted nerd that keeps to the back seats of the class or the conference room is under pressure. 

 “You need to understand the dissimilarity that is present in the labour market. You must be able to give feedback, motivate and joke with people who have completely different backgrounds,” says Ib Enevoldsen, Managing Director at Ramboll. 

Expert knowledge will always be a must, but engineers and IT professionals must also be able to communicate and work in environments, where there are more cultural differences than similarities. 

Therefore, students need to focus on more than just the books. This message comes from Managing Director at Ramboll, Ib Enevoldsen, who provides four tips for the professionals of the future: 

“Expertise never goes out of fashion. But you need to be able to put your expert knowledge at risk to create value,“ Ib Enevoldsen emphasise. 

For instance, by being able to communicate with clients whose degree of specialist competence lags behind yours. Or by being able to give feedback and joke with colleagues who have a completely different cultural background.

Ib Enevoldsen

Managing Director at Ramboll, Ib Enevoldsen.

Tell grandma about your work 

Thus, first step is about communication. 

Specialists do not complete projects without help from other areas of expertise and moreover, employees must be able to interact with clients and users during the process. 

A knowledge employee needs to explain complex technical challenges to the client, the end user, and potential cooperating partners. Therefore, being present, listening, and using your empathy when communicating are necessary qualifications in today’s labour market. 

“Communication is one of the most important qualities to create good results,” Ib Enevoldsen emphasise. 

A good idea is therefore to practice speaking, answering questions, and in particular listening. 

For instance, you can practise by trying to explain your grandmother the difference between Javascript and Java or tell her how the third generation of atomic reactors differ from the second generation. 

The idea is simple: make a person, who does not posses the same professional background as yourself, understand a chosen subject. 

Use your network and expand your collaboration horizon 

No matter if you are working with IT-security or building bridges, it takes more than one specialist field to complete projects today. 

“The complexity is increasing, and no one person can master the totality. Everyone needs to be able to cooperate with other specialist fields. Therefore, students might as well get started,” says Ib Enevoldsen. 

In order to start the interdisciplinary collaboration as soon as possible, Ib Enevoldsen recommends that students reach out to fellow students from other study programmes or even other universities. For instance, you can work on interdisciplinary projects or just talk with other students about their subject areas. 

In this way, you extend your professional horizon, which enhances your understanding of future projects you will be working on.  

Likewise, the effort will provide new network connections that can benefit you later in your career. 

The vast majority in the present labour market use LinkedIn or other digital platforms to extend their professional network, but many do not begin until the job hunting starts. In order to enhance your job opportunity, students can kickstart the expansion of their network during their studies, Ib Enevoldsen emphasises. 

Digitalization needs to be part of your professional capabilities 

Most projects today contain digital sub-elements that you need to understand. 

The labour market makes demands on your ability to navigate and develop your knowledge within digital tools. 

“You can no longer make a distinction between professionalism and digitization. Today, these two are integrated,” Ib Enevoldsen concludes. 

The challenge is that the digital tools are constantly evolving. The changeability in the digital world is a premise, you need to accept. 

“It is crucial that young people today keep up with the technological development, and learn new knowledge they can use in digital contexts” Ib Enevoldsen explains and adds: 

“You ensure a sound basis for your career, if you identify the new opportunities and make use of the digitalization’s potential in the projects you are working on”. 

This is not to suggest that you need to be able to do coding in four languages. You “just” need to be able to learn new things and follow the digital progress. 

However, I am sure that today’s young professionals will meet this challenge,  because they grew up with a continuing digital development, says Ib Enevoldsen. 

Reach out to your Italian or Chinese classmate 

It can generate a negative atmosphere if you do not know your colleagues, their behaviour, and their traditions. 

If you for instance make fun of religion in the canteen in front of the firm’s multicultural workforce, it involves a great risk of someone being affected. You are also making sure that you will never win the prize for employee of the month. To be a part of increasingly global business conditions requires a degree of cultural understanding. 

“You have to understand the dissimilarity that exists in the labour market today. You must be able to give feedback to, motivate and joke with people who have completely different backgrounds,” says Ib Enevoldsen. 

Luckily, students have excellent opportunities to develop a global mindset and enter the international labour market without leaving their educational institution. 

Students from all over the world flock to technical universities in Denmark to benefit from the high professional standard. Thus, young Danish students can easily socialise and cooperate with Greeks, Chinese, Americans etc. 

“It is a gift for the students,” says Ib Enevoldsen.

Danish students avoid international friendships 

However, DTU has among other things written about international students’ difficulties with reserved Danes on their website. 

In the article, sociologist and chief consultant from Living Institute, Katinka Hyllested, explains how Danes differ from other cultures by being a tribal population that is quite isolated among other things. 

“We keep an arm’s length to new people and do not completely let them in,” observes the sociologist. 

This only makes Ib Enevoldsen’s request even more important for future professionals and engineers to consider. 

The Managing Director at Ramboll also encourages students to make use of the opportunity to study a semester abroad.  

If you can engage in these four areas during your study, you will be able to join any firm and create value with your specialist knowledge when you have graduated.