Cristal: first steps in the business world
Cristal, EPITA and Epitech's junior enterprise, has been giving students of both schools the chance to act as service providers for client companies for 25 years. Following the structure of an IT consulting company, the board and team of salespeople supervise the 200 jobs carried out each year by Cristal. Nizar Bouderbala (EPITA graduate 2014), vice-chairman of the association, talks to us about the various measures offered to students who wish to get a first glimpse of the business world.
How would you define Cristal's activities?
Cristal is a junior enterprise which has been around for 25 years. Over the years, we have been able to establish our reputation and demonstrate our students' skills by working with a variety of companies with development or consulting needs. By placing the students in real-life situations, they are no longer working for a grade but to deliver a product which will be useful to a third party and will be paid. On the whole, we offer jobs which are adapted to everyone: from easily implemented tasks to IT research projects, all students, whatever their level, can get involved.
IT engineers today work in a world which is a lot more open than in the past. They are no longer just operators, they have to adapt and meet clients' needs and work with various partners. Cristal helps them get hands-on experience by applying the skills they learnt at school and by discussing with professionals.
How does Cristal help students get involved in business creation?
One of Cristal's activities is to guide students who already have contacts with a client. Unlike the jobs that we offer, the student gets in touch with us when they already have an ongoing project. All we do is provide logistical support (legal framework, financial advice, insurance) or strategic support: the students carry out their work almost autonomously and learn by themselves. In this context, they are already entrepreneurs since most of the process is carried out by them.
Another way we can help students who want to be entrepreneurs is to get them involved in startup projects. Many companies that get in touch with us are still in the initial stages of projects and are looking for dynamical and proactive young developers. Some of the students who have taken part in such missions have since then become technical managers for these startups. We are here to encourage them to innovate.
In a context where economic revival needs to be based on innovation, Cristal is the ideal starting point for any engineer, to gain initial professional experience or to start their own business.
Association Cristal: 14-16, Rue Voltaire 94270 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre
Telephone: 01 46 71 54 79