Meet our Marketing Intern: Jef Nijs

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Meet Jef, our student intern. All summer long and throughout the academic year, Jef has been supporting our marketing team with content creation and social media marketing & monitoring.

What do you study, and how is it related to your position at Faktion?

I am a Business Engineering student at KU Leuven. I am going to do my Master Degree in Data Science and BA. I was already planning to take courses on data mining and machine learning before working at Faktion. I started gaining interest in Data Science and Business Analytics 3-4 years ago and gradually following lessons both at University and online. I also read articles, follow trends in this field. But on paper, it looks different from what it is in reality. Working here helped me gain insights into what is behind Machine Learning and how it is applied in practice.  

 

With my minor in Data Science and Marketing, this was a perfect combination: a junior marketing position in an AI company. I am passionate about data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and innovation in general. It seemed like a perfect match.

How do you find it here?

The first day I was stressed because it was my first job experience in a company, which is very different from academic life. However, thanks to the warm welcome of colleagues, their readiness to help and explain, flat hierarchy and flexibility, I felt immediately at ease. People are open-minded, and that it is very easy to turn to a colleague if you are stuck or if you want to know more about AI. You can just come to their desk, and they will give you an explanation or guide you further. People are very approachable. 

 

What I like about working here is the learning environment I dived into. Learning from experienced professionals is of enormous value to a student. My knowledge level has skyrocketed in just 2 months, especially with hands-on, practical cases of AI application. I have gained insights from a work field, directly from Machine Learning Engineers and Data Scientists. 

 

It is not a dull, repetitive job. Every day, a new challenge pops up that you need to face and you as a person are really of added value and not just cleaning excel sheets or doing a data entry job. I am happy with my choice of the summer job at Faktion than just doing mindless work somewhere else to kill time. 

 

Not to mention important soft skills, I have developed here such as building relationships with colleagues, communication with other teams, work ethic and creativity. I am rather a technical person; I am more of an analytical thinker and logical reasoner. When I started, I did not know how to do design a post. I learned it by simply doing, exchanging ideas, asking for feedback. Working here helped me think outside of the box; I gained new expertise here: creating, looking from a customer perspective, being business-aligned, and more. 

What are your future plans?

This opportunity gave me an idea of what topic do I want to take for my Master Thesis. I will do this in collaboration with Faktion; working on real cases and producing functional studies for business purposes makes more sense than just writing another paper that will collect dust in a database. 

 

As Faktion is very flexible, I plan to continue working here on ad hoc assignments and occasional projects through my studies. 

 

Furthermore, this internship in an AI company gives me an advantage in the job market after graduation. I will stand out among other students as someone who already has the first experience in the field, which will help me find the dream job. I would definitely recommend Graduates and Students to start their careers here.

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Kaja is passionate about language and how to get computers to process it in a human-like way. She gets a kick from translating a variety of languages, including local Dutch dialects, into performing AI models. Let’s have a sneak-peek into her typical day, between being a mom and a Senior NLP Engineer at Faktion.

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