29 August 2013

The sky is the limit for new generation of students


Rector Ralf Hemmingsen will be making history during this year's Matriculation Ceremony on Friday 30 August when he shakes hands with a record 7,966 new University of Copenhagen students. Already recognised for their focus, this generation of students is a valuable asset for both the labour market and Denmark as a whole.

7,966 applicants have this year been offered a study place at the University of Copenhagen. This is the highest number ever. Photo from last year's matriculation (click to enlarge. Please credit University of Copenhagen).

"My message to the new students is to rebel. I don’t mean grab a hammer and sickle or overthrow the University management, but they must dare to think for themselves. Perhaps South Korean engineers can continuously improve flat screen TVs, but our students have other qualities. Our University can alter the course of the world by creating 'game changers' like Niels Bohr, who created his model of the atom a century ago," says Rector Ralf Hemmingsen before the time-honoured Matriculation Ceremony on Friday 30 August.

A firm handshake in an uncertain world

The Matriculation Ceremony will serve as the students’ official welcome to the University. And, according to tradition, Rector Hemmingsen will be ready to shake hands with every one of them. The handshake symbolises the student's vow to respect the rules of the University.

"Just starting university is a major change for these young people. Some of them may be thinking that they’ve only just attended a lecture or two and we’re telling them to go out and change the world. Of course, they’ll need to study; without knowledge their lives will be without ballast and their words without substance. Only through education will they obtain a solid foundation for their perception of the world. But the world is rapidly changing and it won’t wait for the University. These students represent the generation that must carve a niche for Denmark in the Asian century," says Ralf Hemmingsen. 

The University alumni association, Kubulus, will also be greeting students during the ceremony and will be offering them a range of activities while they study and helping them bridge the transition from university life to employment. Over a caffè latte and a University of Copenhagen-red muffin, the students will be invited to hear about the alumni association’s activities, including the popular mentoring programme and kick-off event 'New at UCPH – eating right on a budget'.

High-calibre skills yield good business concepts

The newest class in the University’s 534-year history, this year’s new students follow in the footsteps of those that came before them as they begin on a path towards obtaining an academic degree. High-quality academics, however, are no longer a guarantee for success. In and around the University, a thriving ecosystem of organisations and science parks are driving innovation and the spirit of enterprise. Examples of these include the Copenhagen Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab (CIEL) and the student entrepreneurial greenhouse Katapult. They provide excellent opportunities to network in business and to start a business already in the study. CIEL participates in the Matriculation Ceremony and will present the opportunities for networking and advice they offer students.

Mia Irene Kristensen is studying food science and has started her own company, CPH Good Food, in parallel with studies (click to enlarge. Please credit Vibe Morso).

One student who has already come up with successful and innovative new ideas is Mia Irene Kristensen, a student in the Department of Food Science at the Faculty of Science.

"My company, CPH Good Food, sells 'culinary communication', a product that allows me to combine communication and science. I teach cookery classes, write cookery books and articles about food, develop products, provide consulting advice and photograph food. It all began in 2008, when I began blogging about food and ingredients. Back then, blogs were an exciting new way of communicating. Suddenly people began sending me work online because they liked my scientific approach to food. That hasn’t changed, and there’s no doubt that my career once I’m done at university will combine food and science."

Kristensen has deliberately chosen courses that are relevant for her business.

"I’ve applied a lot of what I’ve learned at university – it’s just a question of finding the right way to apply it. There is endless information about food and food products that I can pass on to my customers to make eating an even more pleasurable experience for them. It’s a matter of using your skills in a context that people understand so they appreciate the point you are making and apply the new information in their own kitchens."

CPH Good Food was one of the six companies started by students that were nominated this June by the University of Copenhagen Entrepreneurship Club for the UCEC Award.
See video portraits of the other companies and their enterprising young founders


News Editor Anna Høxbro Bak
Tel. +45 22 64 03 55

Mia Irene Kristensen, student, founder of CPH Good Food
Tel. + 45 60 73 38 07