ELECTRONICS STUDENTS LEAGUE (LSE)
- Coordinator of the Sports Department (Oct 2009 – Jul 2012)
- Founder & Coordinator of the IT Department (Oct 2010 – Jun 2015)
- Counsellor to the President (Jul 2014 – Mar 2016)
- Member of the Council of Directors (Oct 2009 – Mar 2018)
- Member of the Board of Advisors (Starting Jul 2014)
- Representative/ambassador (Oct 2008 – Jul 2019)
From the moment I stepped foot on university grounds to submit my admission application, I fell in love with LSE. Although at that time it wasn’t as developed as it would become (it was at the beginning of its 2nd out of the 4 phases of evolution – see more about LSE history here), I was impressed with the numerous volunteers assisting newcomers and with the flyers (that described the ideal student life we are going to have there at ETTI if we were to join), that were being distributed around campus. In that particular moment that seemed to me like great proof of an organized structure and I was inspired by their energy.
So immediately after the university year began, I started participating in the organization’s weekly meetings, admiring the leaders who were so skilled in talking freely in front of others, in speaking up about their ideas to organize events, who dared to propose initiatives and to ask people to trust their ideas and join their teams. Those days were so thrilling to me and everything looked so professional and thought out on such a grand scale (that I had only seen in movies). As I was interested in organising events way before starting university (see details on My Hobbies -> section Organizing events) and in the study of organisational cultures (see details on My Interests -> Societies & Organisations), I saw LSE as the perfect ecosystem where I can evolve, implement my ideas and develop myself as a professional.
Projects in which I acted as co-founder and executive coordinator:
Only major projects are listed, generally organized by volunteer participation from more than one department.
- “Alearga Pentru Viata” – Race for Life (Dec 2009 – ) – a yearly charitable cross, I have co-founded together with FC Sportul Studentesc
- other projects under the Sports Department
- CareerTeam (Oct 2012 – Sep 2018), initially as the Coordinator of the IT Department and later on as alumni
- IT, CT & MP Training Centers (Oct 2012 – Jun 2019), initially as the Coordinator of the IT Department and later on as alumni
- LSE Alumni Community (Jun 2013 – ), as alumni
- MobilPRO (Apr 2014 – Mar 2019), initially as the Coordinator of the IT Department and later on as alumni
Projects in which I acted as co-founder but not as an executive coordinator:
*Projects that are starred are those where I continued the collaboration through my company TC, after retiring from LSE.
- Standup for charity (15 Dec 2011). as the Coordinator of the Sports Department (this project was a sub-project of “Alearga Pentru Viata“)
- Tronica (Oct 2012 – Oct 2015), initially as the Coordinator of the Sports Department and later as the Coordinator of the IT Department
- RISE (Jun 2015), as the Coordinator of the IT Department
- LSE 25 (Oct 2015), as Counsellor to the President
- TEDxUPB* (May 2016 – Apr 2021), as alumni
- TM UPB* (Oct 2017 – Sep 2019), as alumni
- WASAP* (Mar 2017), as alumni and mentor
- UPB Alumni Community* (Feb 2017 – ), as alumni
My contributions to organisational development
An average member is active for 3 to 4 years (and that’s generally for any student NGO), while I spent more than 7 in top management only. I worked with so much passion and dedication that I became the longest active member in the history of the organisation and I still keep in touch with new members every day, discussing ongoing projects.
This section may look like a very long text, but I personally feel that the amount is actually tiny compared to the time and energy I gave to the organisation and to the things I learned from this experience. I have just managed to put 10 years in less than 10k words (and a diagram).
The Sports Department is among the original existing departments in LSE, founded in 1990. When I initially joined, there were only a few members that usually organized small football or streetball tournaments (without too many “official” protocols, regulations, diplomas or other stuff like this; I found no trace of an official record of any sports event organized by LSE before April 2009).
After I signed up for this Department, I enthusiastically started to try organizing events and I finally managed to do that in April 2009, when the first ETTI-wide Football cup was organized, which was also the first time we used the term “Electronics cup” when referring to an event. As the department had a coordinator (Alex), he managed to discuss with the LSE management about promoting the tournament as being officially organized by the organisation; meanwhile, I coordinated executively behind the scenes: posters, tournament website, schedule and diplomas.
A few months later, in Oct 2009, the LSE management proposed me as the Coordinator of the Department and the fun began.
From the first year of activity, I started to create sign-up forms for new members, to create the first roles in a LSE department and enable people to auto-assign responsibilities and organize events.
And so, I have been the coordinator of the department until my last year of university, when I handed over the leadership to Irina.
During this time, the activity of the department was split into 3 parts:
- Promoting sports and a healthy lifestyle:
- we opened a blog (in partnership with Cristian Gheorghe) with articles on healthy food and lifestyle advice (this blog was part of APV, a project of this department)
- we created a dedicated section on the department’s website to promote major sports events where students could attend or even participate
- we organized events in the student dormitory to broadcast (using a video projector) some special national sports events
- we gained new partners that offered free tickets and benefits to students attending their events – sports and much more (such as FC Sportul Studentesc, Bulandra Theater)
- Managing the schedule and maintenance of the campus sports arena. It was a streetball court where students could also play foot tennis or volleyball. We created a website to manage the schedule of this court and members of our department would be delegated as administrators (keeping the key to the court, supervising bookings, signing reports etc.). It was a very intensive activity to coordinate the administrative team according to their free time and in sync with the needs of the students to play on the court and we did that for more than 5 years.
- And the most consistent part of the activity of the department – Organizing sports events. It all started with the first football tournament in Apr 2009, then the following year, when I took the leadership of the department, we started to organize biannual editions of the Electronics Cup on multiple types of sports. We also started supporting many other organisations, as many as we could, by providing them with volunteers, aiming to promote our events outside the campus and creating contexts for our students to practice sports. With an average of 150 active members each year, we managed to organize events such as:
- Streetball’s evening – a weekly Tuesday evening when the streetball court was exclusively booked for streetball lovers and for small unofficial streetball competitions.
- “Alearga Pentru Viata” – Race for Life (Dec 2009 – ) – a yearly charitable cross, co-founded together with FC Sportul Studentesc and Cristian Gheorghe. It was a project of this department and at the same time, one of the Major Projects (see details below in about section) of LSE.
- Electronics Cup (Apr 2009 – Jul 2012) – a biannual series of events that I initiated and like to think of as our local “Olympic Games” in the university, a tradition that still continues today. The sports we covered were: football, tennis, streetball, foot tennis, ping-pong, chess, backgammon, skanderbeg, volleyball. All the photos associated with these events can be found on LSE’s Facebook page or on the Department’s Facebook Page.
- “Maratonul Reintregirii Neamului Romanesc” – organized by RoClubMaraton, our team was there as a supporting volunteering team for the 2011 and 2012 editions
- Standup for charity (15 Dec 2011) – this project was a sub-project of “Alearga Pentru Viata“
- National University Football Championship 2012 – as co-organizers
- UEFA Final Cup Opening Ceremony (2012) and Romanian Final Cup Opening Ceremony (2013 and 2014); the first of which actually being the last event organized by me as the Coordinator of the Department.
More details about each of these projects can be found on their dedicated pages.
The team of the Sports Department at some point became a rare example of how well organized and proactive can a group of volunteering students be.
Except for these 3 major categories of activities, we were even able to start some other non-sports-related projects, such as:
- “Dialog cu personalități” (Nov 2011) – an event where we invited local personalities to speak to students about their life experiences. Even if it was not the success we expected and we did not continue the series after the first event, this was one of the ground foundations of the future and perhaps the most complex project of this organisation: CareerTeam
- Tronica (Oct 2012 – Oct 2015) – Students magazine with tech articles, interviews and university and student life news
- CareerTeam (Oct 2012 – Sep 2018), a project that has its roots in the Sports Department, evolved as a “Major Project” of LSE, developed within a great team that organized European Erasmus+ Projects, which later became a new department itself – YDD. There is also another important project that has its roots in CareerTeam, TEDxUPB.
As I was already involved in a lot of sports-related activities, our sports professor Adrian Pricop suggested that I participate in The Student Scientific Communications Session of the University “Politehnica” of Bucharest, where I submitted the paper “The importance of sports events and activities in universities“. This led me to build strong relationships with other professors in the Sports Department of a technical university (namely UPB) so in this context, I was able to lead my Department in the greatest event we have ever organized: UEFA Final Cup Opening Ceremony (2012) – and my last event as a Coordinator.
I have always been very proud of this team for the engagement and dedication they put into the projects, of how they gave away their free time despite the busy student life and I admire many people I met in this department for how deeply they understood the importance of a healthy lifestyle at that age and for how valuable professionals they have become nowadays. There are a lot of things I learned from the members of the Sports Department and I developed myself alongside them.
Here is a list of people that I really appreciate for their activity and without them, none of these could have been possible: Paula (trustee Secretary and she did unreal efforts to be the admin of the sports court for years), Marina (great contribution in our relationship with the Romanian Chess Federation), George (always up to date with all sports events around), Andreea, Bogdan and Ana (driven to innovation members – they were among those who established the foundations of Tronica, “Dialog cu Personalitati” and CareerTeam), Emil (one of the most prolific streetball promoters and court admins), Alex (the longest active court admin), Diana (one of the most active members although she was not an ETTI student), Irina (to whom I handed over the leadership of the department).
Ever since I became the Coordinator of the Sports Department, I was heavily involved in building web platforms in order to organize events. That actually served as part of my ground foundation as a software developer. As a department, I was one of the biggest requesters and consumers of software products inside the organization and all of them I created for myself.
As social networks gained popularity (in the early 2010s), the other departments started to increasingly move their events and advertising online. So most of the coordinators came to me for help regarding online forms or other web pages that may help them present their projects.
In this context of having more and more programming activity in the organization, I decided to found a new team of programmers. It may sound paradoxical, I know, but in 2010 an organisation in ETTI did not have a technical department yet. The context was just perfect though – we had hundreds of students around, all of them specialised in software. We just had to find ways to motivate them.
This is how we started by first creating a pilot team, called the “IT Team” with members that were part of another department and after a while we recruited new members from the university and officially added a new department in the organisational diagram. I was also the executive coordinator of this team (which later became a department) for the next 5 years and later on as well. To this day, I still keep in touch with the new generations and with the other coordinators that came along the way regarding technical matters.
Although LSE is just a student NGO, we developed a lot of complex and long-term projects that needed more and more software tools. Being part of a technical university specialized in software matters (and in addition to this, some of us were already working in companies as software experts – which was also my case, as I had been working in Orange for 3 years while I was the head of this department at the same time), the expectations for our outcomes were quite high as well, so we had to give our best to create reliable products. That was a very important aspect in the process of developing ourselves as professionals. And it was also a win-win scenario as we could bring concepts and practices from companies that we could implement in the department while we gained a lot of hands-on practice that propelled us as professionals in our companies.
The list of projects and software platforms developed by the IT department is very long, having more than 50 applications and the activity of the department reflecting in all the projects of the organisation. Here is a summary of the most important of these applications where I was directly involved as a developer and technical lead (as time passed and technologies changed along with the generations, some of them lost their functionality, and some even ceased to exist, but their activity was intense at some point):
- Organisation’s main website. LSE’s website was the main platform where every department posted details about their events or news regarding decisions at university’s management level.
- University events and platforms. Sometimes even the university relied on LSE’s support to build web platforms for some events. Even if we refer to the Admission simulation or the Student Registration after admission, the volunteering team was always there to support the university administration and handled the communication with the students using such web platforms.
- Registration forms. These are critical parts of every project developed by the organisation. One important set of forms is built at certain key points of the university year when new members can join the organisation or specific departments. The databases we specifically built were also very important for the future, as the organisation had always been concerned about the long term relationship with the alumni.
- Websites for special major events: LAN Party, MobilPRO, Prom & Junior prom events etc. An important number of projects developed by the organisation have a huge external impact, as many participants are not even part of the university. Managing thousands of participants for such events each year requires a lot of databases and web platforms to handle the registration, announcements, check-in, follow-up, long term communication and so on. In addition, for MobilPRO we had to develop 2 very complex systems: one to handle teams’ applications, source codes and documentation and the other for deciding the winners (as the Jury was composed of students, professors and sponsors).
- CareerTeam was among the most demanding and complex projects in terms of software needs (and in general, actually). Apart from the fact that the project organized sometimes even more than 2 events per week – conferences, workshops, open days, training etc. (and every detail about the participants and the speakers should have been organized in a database and analyzed – I know, there were different regulations at that point and btw we had terms and conditions), the project was massively relying on an opportunity platform, where students could apply for jobs, internships, master programs or scholarships. There was a huge effort from our team to develop and maintain this platform.
- Projects organized with or for partners, such as RISE, WASAP, OTB, We are Free, The Code or even external projects such as UEFA Final Cup Opening Ceremony (2012), TEDxUPB or APV. These projects have in common the fact that they were founded by LSE members, after which the projects evolved and exceeded the organisation’s boundaries. Even so, most of the technical effort was supported by this department. As for the more complex tasks, in which I was also involved by wearing another hat – that of the founder of TC, which had additional/more seniors and professional developers. In this way, I managed to connect my activity as a volunteer with my professional activity as a startup founder, using the mentioned projects as bridges between the 2 worlds. The interesting part is that in TC, most of the team members were part of LSE’s IT Department in the past. So that created the possibility of communication between generations, supporting juniors to become seniors and working together even further after finalizing their studies and volunteering. The IT Department of LSE was the most important contributor to my development as the founder of TC.
- Internal requests and resources. Having 7 departments and 1000 active members is not easy to handle. In addition to this, most senior members always end up being hired, generally by corporations. They learn a lot of things in terms of collaboration tools, methodologies and working procedures. So that influenced the organisational culture of LSE, which in some cases, acted as a corporation. The IT Department is responsible for processing all internal requests and helping the leadership to manage the resources, keep track of the organisation’s goods or generate badges for specific events. Sometimes there are internal events taking place (like team buildings or special occasions such as Xmas parties) where departments need small tools to organize interactive activities.
- Elections, applications and voting. Being a popular organisation with lots of elections and voting every year, there are always disputes regarding the transparency of these processes. One important mission of the IT Department is to make sure the applications are compliant and the process is transparent for those who should have access and private for those who may have harmful intentions towards the NGO.
- Virtual tour of ETTI (2014). We were always on the lookout for cutting edge technologies. Before VR was even cool, we had been working on a project to create a virtual tour for the university’s annual expo, called Polifest.
Aside from the huge list of projects the IT Department was involved in, the responsibilities of the department were not limited to that. Officially, the activity of the IT department is split into 4 branches:
- Supporting other departments and projects (just discussed below).
- Handle data storage and security at organisation level. The cloud accounts, hard drives, servers, email accounts, data backup, storing videos, photos and documents, were all under the IT Department’s umbrella.
- Organize technical training. We wanted to prepare our junior members while also attracting newcomers, which is why we were constantly organizing appealing technical training. See more details on IT, CT and MP training centers.
- Organizing MobilPRO and managing the MobilPRO community. MobilPRO is one of the Major Projects of LSE and the first mobile app competition for university and high school students in Romania. I am proud to be a co-founder of this project (alongside 2 Professors, Directors of Departments in ETTI) by representing the IT Department of LSE.
I put a lot of passion and dedication into this department by getting involved hands-on in each of the activities presented. To this day (as of March 2022), I continue to support the organisation with technical advice or debugging stuff around.
The IT Department was a great challenge in the early days of my professional life, helping me to develop my technical skills and adapt my schedule and load to the organisation’s needs. I also diligently prepared and trained multiple teams and generations, by recurrently organizing training where I shared my knowledge or by inviting other colleagues to present technical topics to the students. Even if we started with literally zero members, at its peak, the department had 25 active members – it is also the smallest department in LSE, due to the specific nature of the activities there; most volunteers join the NGO to relax, make friends or do something different than they do on a daily basis at their university/job.
I am proud of the achievements I accomplished while being part of this department and I am very happy that I even have the chance today to continue working on a lot of new challenging projects alongside people that I met there. I really appreciate these 2 guys for their activity and commitment, for their loyalty and for being so smart. None of these could have been possible years in a row without Tere (the first to follow me as a technical leader in the NGO) and Alex (the one who took over next and maintained the high standards).
LSE was an environment which was very similar to that of a company. We had knowledge and experience in the corporate realm, we developed complex projects with external funding and by following precise methodologies. But the key difference was that in companies people are paid for their time, while in an NGO you have to find other ways to motivate members to join, get involved, gather experience, share what they gained etc.
But unlike most NGOs, this was a student organisation where generations change so rapidly that it is very challenging to develop long term projects. In addition to each project’s complexity, the coordinators had to think about how to pass along knowledge and motivation to future generations and to adapt to new trends.
I have always seen LSE as a place where you can simulate many aspects of real life, with the major advantage that you can be wrong without harsh consequences.
- If you wanted to be an entrepreneur, you could just develop projects and try to get others to buy them in order for you to practice your leadership and negotiation skills.
- If you wanted to be a politician, there was a lot of organisational hierarchy where you could climb, gain popularity, sign up in elections and practice your public speaking skills.
- If you wanted to be a specialist, you could just join dedicated teams for programming, graphics and design, photography etc.
- So I decided to try them all.
In my honest opinion (formed after spending 10 years on the board or advising the board while interacting with hundreds of other organisations and companies), I believe LSE – as of the first part of 2016 – was one of the most powerful student organizations in Romania in terms of funding, number of partners and projects developed, as well as/not to mention complexity of the organisational model.
The experience I gained in LSE was a great chance for me to lead teams and help people grow. Aside from the projects and departments I founded/coordinated, I had the opportunity to learn the complexity of building sustainable projects cross-generations. In order to prepare someone to take further responsibility of a complex project, you should be mentoring that person beforehand for a long time, which requires a lot of energy, patience and communication. There is a special connection you create with someone who follows you in taking over the leadership of a department or of a project developed for years, after which you continue being in touch, evolve together and later on, create businesses or academic projects together. A lot of the relationships I formed were like that and I am grateful for that.
Although I have always been more oriented towards entrepreneurship and project development rather than political or populist activities, I still had a considerable number of representative positions:
- class representative and series representative – to represent my colleagues in the relation and communication with the university (exam scheduling, signing educational contracts, classes and laboratory repartition, student discounts etc.)
- tutor for younger generations – guiding younger students through university’s regulations or advising them on how to choose their specialization
- member in the Faculty Council and University Senate – participating in meetings alongside university management (I was mostly involved in these activities in my senior years or during the master program)
- organisation ambassador – LSE has hundreds of partners, companies and organisations. I was the SPOC or ambassador of LSE in numerous of these, especially in professionally related affairs. Mostly, because I was the leader of 3 out of 5 Major Projects and 2 departments – so I had a lot of context for external interactions. Here is a brief of the organisations/companies, in relation with whom I represented LSE
- for ETTI-related professional projects: IBM, Freescale, NXP, Alten, Orange, Alcatel, Vodafone, Digi, Cisco, Power Digital Solutions, OVN, EA, Huawei, RINF, Schlumberger, Tremend, Honeywell, Luxoft, Oracle, SII, Adobe, HP, Microchip, Infineon, ING, Stefanini, UTI, All View, Avira, Bearing Point, Brainspotting, Beia, Catalyst, Samsung, Nokia, Microsoft, AMP Telecom and IntegralEdu, Young Leaders Club, The Hack, BIT Academy, Bucharest Technology Week, How to Web, Innovation Labs, Tech Lounge, Droidcon, EFdeN, 360 Hub
- for sports projects: SEG, FC SPortul Studentesc, Top Tenis Arena, AS Club Poli, Leonte & Comp, Myprotein, Puma, CEC, Ceragem, ARTA-ADHD, MTS, DSTMB, Crucea Rosie, Smurd Bucuresti, FR Sah, National Arena
- On this occasion, I want to thank all of these partners for the long term support they offered and for their trust in our vision. I am grateful for all of these experiences because to this day I am still in close contact with many of them and building great projects together.
I did not necessarily pursue these positions (that is not to say that pursuing these positions is not a good thing), but the main reason why I came to be so actively involved in the community as a representative is that I was around a lot of the time and I simply liked developing projects; this in return created a lot of context and connections. Sometimes I even discuss this with some friends and colleagues and I always like to emphasize that despite the numerous positions that I fulfilled, I never ran for a representative position. And (PS. for those who really read the text until the end) when that will happen, if it happens, it will be for the presidency of my country. 😀
On the other hand, I generally like to be involved in multiple projects simultaneously, because I see that as a great way to get the flexibility to your schedule, especially when the projects are related, connected and support each other. I know, there is a very thin line between
- getting involved in too many projects, only on the surface and just for the sake of fulfilling a position or to gain popularity, without adding value to any of them and
- getting deeply involved in multiple projects and being able to connect the dots and create projects and teams that work together while you grow alongside the phenomenon.
I like to think I was in the second category, especially because in LSE I mostly coordinated projects that I built from the ground, so there at least were some visible results. But who knows, we humans are subject to subjectivity.
LSE has been around for more than 30 years now, so during this period of time, the organisation had multiple phases of development (based on my own analysis, after 10 years of membership; see details here):
- 1990 –> representative
- 2007 –> representative + events organising
- 2012 –> representative + events organising + professional projects
- 2015 –> representative + events organising + professional projects + communities
During this time, the organisational structure varied a lot and so did its projects, and membership profile.
Being an organisation with both representative and professional profiles, that set up LSE as a great environment for the personal development of its members as everyone could just learn from trial and error and simulate real-life with not much of a cost. But this complexity came with a cost: long and countless controversies.
As LSE was involved several times in “internal fraud scandals”, at least from the campus point of view, the organisation’s image gained a reputation that was not consistent with its actual values. It was quite often speculated by students that the members of the organisation are unfairly involved in the dormitory accommodation process or that the members of the organisation have different sets of benefits on campus in any case. But these things are not revealed from the beginning. You discover them later, alongside the frustration that the curriculum is too difficult or the enormous bureaucracy overhead that you need to experience as a student. In most cases, all these factors combined generate a lot of trust issues among students.
As a result, a lot of potentially valuable members do not even think of joining just to avoid their association with the organisation. Standing in the opposite corner are those who join just to take advantage of these speculations and hope they will get some extra benefits.
So all of this creates a vicious circle: potentially skilled members are hard to convince to join, “interested-in-benefits-only” members who will never add value will invade, and without members that create value, it is hard to create a good image and to attract new skilled members, or to reject those with vile intentions.
This is also toxic to the existing valuable members who are sometimes associated with the “bad guys” and it is not always easy to distinguish between them, even after spending years on the campus.
So it is challenging to keep the balance in the organisation and once again, it is similar to real life: almost everyone thinks all LSE members (or those in management positions) are the same and act unitarily (this would actually be a great thing for the interest of students as representatives have 25% voting rights in the faculty council). In reality, there are a lot of internal disputes between those who fight for their position and hoping for fame and benefits and those who develop projects and want to clear the organisation image. And it is a tough fight because the relationship between students on the campus also has a personal dimension – people become friends, create alliances and (with or without their willingness) they play a game of thrones.
Of course, the org image is not only caused by some malicious members, but also for historical reasons.
A good way to keep the balance is to have as many long term members as possible, members who can develop projects and inspire the younger ones to join. But it’s hard to have such long term members since a lot of potential great ones never join. What is more, it is a student organisation, unless they study for a master’s or doctorate degree, people leave quite quickly after finishing their studies, moving forward towards other aspects of their life and that especially happens because the university environment was never as friendly to them as it should have been. So it is quite understandable that some of them do not want to participate in changing the environment around them – as they think it should be functional from the beginning and not of their concern to do anything remotely like this.
And I completely agree when I analyze the situation of other top tech universities abroad: how they developed, how they took advantage of the relationship between the academic environment and companies, how they came back and supported students and so on. The continuity of students’ projects and the bridge between the 2 worlds, students and professionals, are critical factors to the further development of the area of expertise, and later on, of the whole country. After all, this is how they made Silicon Valley.
And yet, we are not there and the problem poses a certain complexity. Even if most projects are self-sustainable and resilient across many generations, others fall after a while (especially the more complex ones – see CareerTeam). Once again, this environment simulates real-life quite accurately: the question is whether we should get involved in improving or fixing something that should actually be functional from the beginning. Of course, it does not fall under our responsibility. And yet, the same question shows up in our daily societal life. But what else can we do besides improve it?
Just for the record, I only booked my room in the dormitory after I had started my master’s degree. So just to eliminate any concerns that I associated with the organisation to obtain some supposed benefits – I had a lot of time until that point to invest in the organisation’s development.
My teaching activity
Aside from building teams and projects in LSE, I enjoyed mentoring and training others a lot. Teaching others is one of the passions of my life. During my professional life I experienced all types of teaching that I could:
- graduation diploma coordinator (check specific details here: ETTI)
- trainer in a corporate environment (check specific details here: Orange | CN Group)
- trainer in a private software academy (Software Development Academy)
- summer school trainer (TC software summer school)
- trainer in students’ organizations (check specific details here: LSE | MobilPRO | CareerTeam)
The people you work with are the most important aspect of being part of a company or organisation. Besides the fact that everything we do, we do for others, it is very important with whom we do all of it. People around you make you love the organisation and the job that you do, and in this way, you create lifelong friendships or gain partners for life. In LSE I met so many inspiring people and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work with them for a long time and in many cases, to even break the boundaries of the organisation and later on, to create other things together in our personal lives. Here is a shortlist of people I worked with in close contact and I can definitely recommend.
Paula was among the first people in LSE who stood by me and trusted me in developing new projects within the organisation. She was the Secretary of the Sports Department and one of the managers of the communities that handled booking the campus’ sports arena or the distribution of tickets to partners’ sporting events.
Andreea is a natural-born influencer, at the time she was actively involved in everything and she was quite popular in the community – you could find her everywhere: if you went to a student party – she was there as a bartender; if you wanted to make a reservation for our sports arena in the campus – you called her or asked her for the key; if you participated in any sportive events in the campus – you would find her there, most probably as an executive coordinator or handing you the trophy. At the prom, she even handed the trophy for the Miss title – and that’s because of course, she herself won the Miss previously. And this was only the list for the recreational activities on the campus. On the other hand, if you opened our students’ magazine – you could find her there as a chief editor; if you attended a professional conference or personal development event – she was among the organizers after previously participating in negotiations with the partners’ representatives; if you attended charitable events – she was there as well in the organizing team. In addition to that, she was a member of the Faculty Council, so when I say everywhere, I actually do mean everywhere – literally.
I extensively collaborated with Andreea regarding our Sports Department, as she was involved in most of the department’s activities (described below – including APV, and UEFA Cup Final 2012), acting as my Deputy Coordinator and also as mentor to the next Department Coordinator. Together we (probably) built the most prolific group in the history of the organisation which, besides developing the whole portfolio of the Department, even established the roots to many non-sportive projects: Tronica, “Dialog cu personalități“, CareerTeam (which later developed a training center and formed people that founded Youth Development Department and TEDxUPB), the IT Department (which later developed MobilPRO). And here lies the most beautiful part: after so many years, even if most of us live in different countries, we still see each other at least once per year to celebrate life.
I have always appreciated Andreea because even if she is gentle, she has always known how to pose as an authority in front of the team, how to gain their trust and motivate others. In addition to this, she has a distinctive quality among most volunteers: she is self-motivated and does not need higher ranks to be dedicated or to work to implement her ideas and inspire others. I am grateful for many leadership lessons I learned from Andrea which I still use to this day.
Diana is such a combination of the superlatives of prolific and endurance as one can rarely meet. I worked with Diana extensively (probably the longest partnership I had in the organisation) on highly complex strategies regarding the long-term development and sustainability of the organisation and together we forged many generations and departments. If you were to compose a <<best something>> top in the ETTI community, I bet she would appear there.
Diana is also among the most influential members that shaped the organisation by having one of the longest periods of activity in LSE, widely recognized by students for her leadership skills and by professors for her academic records – as she graduated as a valedictorian. She was the executive coordinator of Robochallenge, the President of the organisation (for 4 years) and a member of the Board of Advisors.
Our collaboration exceeded the boundaries of LSE. We continued to work together even further, as I supported her to develop a very important project, which started in LSE and for which she was the executive coordinator: TEDxUPB. Together we also co-founded TC, TM UPB and UPB Alumni Community, a project officially developed by the university under Diana’s direct management.
We collaborated extensively on a lot of academic, business and volunteering projects, the most important among them being listed here:
She is an energetic person, tirelessly active in each project she gets involved in. In 2013 we worked together to organize the 5th edition of APV – the event with the biggest consumption of energy we had ever had until that date, and also the edition with the highest number of participants and funds. Irina had a great contribution to this, as she brought new partners to the project and to the organization and she played an important role in upgrading the methodology we used to organize APV.
I have always appreciated Irina for her dedication and commitment to her work as she is a total example of a result-oriented professional.
Marian is one of the most reliable colleagues and partners one can have. He has the capability to go a long way and he has amazing abilities to maintain constant focus for long spans of time.
Marian was the coordinator of the Graphic & Design Department and left his mark on the branding of the whole organisation on projects that required graphic content and photography. As he was among the members with the longest activity cross-generations, he is recognized by multiple generations of students as a benevolent and proactive mate and I consider him as a visionary leader for the model he was able to develop in the Department of Graphics and Design.
I worked with Marian on lots of projects outside of the organisation. He is a founding member and was actively involved in most projects of TC (including Questo), and in 2021 we started a new startup together – Voyah.
Andrei Terecoasa aka Tere is a total example of commitment, availability and loyalty. Tere followed me as the technical leader of the IT Department and MobilPRO and successfully developed the team and consolidated all the organisation’s projects from a technical point of view.
He is one of the best developers I know and he is widely recognized by multiple generations of students as a model for technical skills. Even after I handed the department over to him, we continued to work so well together, that we are collaborating on a daily basis even to this day.
Tere has been actively involved as a reliable developer in most projects of TC (including Questo, Cuibul Artistilor, TEDxUPB) since the beginning and in 2021 we started a new startup together – Voyah.
Later on, Andreea founded a new department within the organisation, called Youth Development Department (YDD) where she organized 2 international student exchanges (RISE & WASAP) with students from 9 other countries – a noticeable performance even for LSE’s huge portfolio. She is widely recognized as one of the most prolific members in the history of the organisation.
My partnership with Andreea continued later on, as she became my student in Orange Educational Program, for both her bachelor and master diploma projects, and later we would become co-founders of TEDxUPB while she would also become a founding member of TC.
Loredana is a remarkably smart and multi disciplinarily talented engineer and a very popular person in the ETTI community.
She was able to rise in LSE without any external support and become a member of the Council of Directors and the Coordinator of the PR Department in a short time. Following that, our collaboration started when she joined the MobilPRO team in its early days and later became the Coordinator of the Volunteering Team. She was one of the prolific members of the organisation, who was able to identify and convert new partners into supporting our projects.
Later on, Loredana obtained a scholarship in Orange Educational Program where I was a trainer for Orange. Further on, we collaborated on her bachelor diploma project and we even became colleagues in Orange (different departments, we had no activity in common).
Andrei aka Superroman, is the guy you want to call when you are in the deepest trouble or rush. As he always surprises people with his numerous (and sometimes, hidden skills), Andrei is able to be very efficient in every project he chooses to get involved in.
He was my Chief of Staff in MobilPRO, a mentor for the following generations of MobilPRO executive coordinators, a member of the Council of Directors and a very popular team member across generations as he was MC at the students’ parties for many years.
I have always appreciated Andrei for his proactivity and for being such a fair and dedicated professional.
Elena is a highly proactive member of any team and has an endless amount of energy. Elena is multi disciplinarily skilled; it does not matter if we talk about complex programming concepts or fine art, she manages to find her place in any context and to have an impact.
She held a vast variety of positions in LSE, from being an active representative in the Council of Directors, contributing to activities in the IT Department, being involved in projects such as “Guitar night” or “Charitable ceremonies” (and when I say involved, I mean that in both ways, organisationally and artistically), to becoming the Coordinator of PR Department and the Coordinator of LAN Party, one of the 5 “Major Projects” in LSE.
Radu Octavian is the type of person that does not need to make any efforts to be remarkable in an organisation. He is the guy you want in your organisation.
Radu is both a professional coach and UX designer and he is very good at combining them. He has also the endurance to stay motivated while developing complex long term projects and a unique capability to deeply study and understand abstract concepts as well as to express them – as he is a belletristic author and a great public speaker. That makes him both intimidating and inspiring at the same time, to the younger students that look up to him.
Besides the fact he was the VP of the organisation, he was also the founder of the revolutionary project Outside the Box – LSE’s project to support the personal development of its own members. Later on, he continued on that line and expanded the Outside the Box to 2 other projects, oriented on the students from the entire university: We Are Free and The Code.
Our collaboration exceeded the boundaries of LSE, as we both started our own companies back in 2015 based on POSDRU funding (when I co-founded TC and he co-founded TheRank – closed meanwhile). Also, I provided him with tech-consultancy for launching his own publishing house (Storycraft).
We are currently working together on a new startup, an educational social club for adults – iConnect Club.
Claudia is a reliable and tireless colleague. Always available and constantly highly motivated, Claudia has the energy to take a project from the ground and to lead it to the end and even further.
She was a member of the Council of Directors and the Coordinator of Robochallenge, one of the 5 Major Projects of LSE. I collaborated extensively with Claudia in our search for new partners for Robochallenge projects – we visited and negotiated with dozens of companies in the IT industry. Also, she was one of the students of TC software summer school.
I have always appreciated her for being such a fair mate and for her ability to profoundly understand the importance of building a great project rather than just climbing on an organisational hierarchy.
Cristi is widely recognized in the ETTI community for his unparalleled design skills. We made a great team together while working on a couple of projects with me as a developer and him as UX/UI designer. Among the most important of them are MobilPRO‘s branding & web platform and UPB Alumni Community‘s web platform.
He is also a very popular guy that easily integrates among/gets along with all kinds of people. Besides being the coordinator of the Graphics & Design Department, he later became the President of LSE.
Paula is a homogeneous combination of strength and emotion. She is energetic in all projects she chooses to get involved in and in most cases, she rapidly becomes a popular face.
My collaboration with Paula in LSE lasted for a long period of time, from the very beginning to the last day of her student life and she is among the people with whom I collaborated the most in the organisation. Our partnership was complex and covered multiple aspects, as she was my mentee, successor, partner, student and trustee friend in all of the following activities.
We first met at her prom party (where I was a member of the jury and she was a participant in the contest – where she won the Miss title, btw). Later on, she had a fulminant ascension in the hierarchy of the organization by being elected as a representative in the Council of Directors since she proved valuable in front of colleagues of her age. She also proved to have good public speaking skills, which I quickly noticed and promoted her as a speaker at the international conference Droidcon Eastern Europe 2016, which was co-organized by the MobilPRO team. After that, Paula started a new initiative in LSE by founding a debate club within the organisation, took the role of the Host of MP 16 (where she performed amazingly) and submitted her candidacy for Vice Presidency of LSE. In the next phase, she took the initiative to upgrade the debate club to become Toastmasters UPB alongside 4 co-founders and to submit her candidacy for Presidency of LSE, where I advised her regarding the organisation’s development plan. Ultimately, she delivered a speech (recorded by SigmaTV) on the anniversary of 200 years of existence of UPB, in the presence of the president of Romania (Klaus Iohannis, 2018) – an important event of her personal life, of our university, of our NGO and of our club to having a representative there and of myself (as a contributor of the monologue’s text).
I have always appreciated Paula for her openness to new, for her adaptability and for being a prominent leader, with entrepreneurship skills and at the same time a VIP material as well. Also, despite her heavy workload, she always had great academic records. She is currently channelling her energy/focusing on developing her new business focused on youth development in the IT sector.
Ana was my mentee and followed me as the executive coordinator of MobilPRO, aka MP. Although MP was in its prime at the moment she took the lead, she was able to successfully organize 2 editions, having international participants. It’s not a task that many members of LSE could achieve, as everyone knows how difficult is to take over a project with a long tradition and still be able to handle and even improve it. The transition between generations is one of the biggest challenges that LSE faces (and probably most student NGOs) and once again, I want to congratulate Ana for being an example for the other young leaders of her generation.
Despite her overloaded schedule, Ana was always able to obtain remarkably academic results (even from the first day, as she was admitted the 1st in the faculty with the maximum grade, 10).
I always appreciated Ana for being such a kind person and dedicated to her commitments.
Electronics Students League (LSE) is among the biggest student organisations in Romania and also one of the oldest (founded in 1990, immediately after the '89 Romanian Revolution).
I like to refer to the organisation as "One of the most important hubs of the IT industry in Romania".
I have always loved to be part of LSE because of its unique combinations of characteristics of a popular organisation (with elected boards and delegated representatives and ambassadors) and a professional organisation (with a highly complex organisational hierarchy, lots of sponsors and partners and a huge portfolio). See here LSE History, presented at the LSE25 event.
The members of LSE are mostly students of ETTI; the organisation can provide a membership status to the students outside of ETTI faculty, but they cannot vote in regards to the organisation’s management structure. Though passive members there can exist, the vast majority is involved in current activities by enrolling in one or multiple departments.
There are 8 Departments in LSE:
- 4 Core departments (that develop projects for students and outside the organisation): Education, Culture, Sports, YDD (Youth Development Department, formerly European Projects)
- 4 Enabler departments (that do not develop their own projects as a primary activity, but support the other departments): Graphics & Design, IT, Logistics, Fundraising (newest, as of 2021)
The board consists of active members in one of the departments. The board is also called the Council of Directors and has a managing sub-structure called the Council of Executives as follows:
- Council of Directors – aka CD (8 heads of departments, 6 x 2 elected directors per year of study, 1-5 coordinators of “Major Projects” – if they are not already part of any previous structure)
- Council of Executives – aka CE (the President, elected from the Council of Directors and 2 VP + 2 General Secretaries delegated by the President and validated by the Council of Directors using 3/4 qualified majority system)
- 1 Counsellor to the President (delegated by the President)
- 1 Auditor (the elected director with the least number of votes)
A major project is defined as a project that has four characteristics:
- the target public exceeds the limits of the campus and university
- the project has its own external funding and is able to provide income to the organisation
- the project serves as an important part of the organisation’s branding and has a great external reach
- the project is designed to be recurrent
There are 5 Major projects in LSE (as per March 2016, when I retired as an active member):
- Robochallenge (organized in partnership with ETTI Robochallenge team; the LSE team is represented by a delegated CE representative)
- APV (Sports Department)
- LAN Party (Department of Logistics & PR)
- CareerTeam (initially developed under the Sports Department, later assigned to the Department of Education, then the YDD projects branched out from CareerTeam and took the ownership of the project until later when the project was dissolved)
- MobilPRO (IT Department and Department of Graphics & Design)
Other remarkable projects developed by LSE:
- Admission simulation (Department of Education) – yearly event for high school students who prepare for university admission
- Night Guitars (Department of Culture) – a weekly event where folk lovers gather together to spend the night by playing the guitar
- Nameless Theatre Group (Department of Culture) – a theatre group developed entirely under LSE’s umbrella with ETTI students as actors
- RISE & WASAP (YDD) – Erasmus+ funded international student exchanges, hosted in ETTI, with participants from 9 countries from Europe and the Middle East
- Electronics Cup (Sports Department) – a biannual series of events in an “Olympic Games” format, at university level. The sports included in the event are football, tennis, streetball, foot tennis, ping-pong, chess, backgammon, skandenberg, volleyball.
- Photography Contest (Department of Graphics & Design) – yearly contest for the most talented photographs and photo editors in the ETTI faculty
- Polifest (CD) – expo event organized at university level; LSE supports the presentation of the ETTI faculty
- Prom & Junior prom (CD) – yearly galas organized for the senior year, respectively junior students
- Student parties (CD) – campus-wide big parties organized on various occasions such as Halloween, National Day, Valentine’s day etc.
BoA is a group of experienced alumni, leaders and mentors that provide advice to the Council of Directors on key projects or on long term strategic decisions. The membership is granted for life by the Council of Directors to alumni that had remarkable contributions to the organisation and mentored multiple other valuable members.
Although the group does not really have an active role in daily activities, and its members do not necessarily communicate with each other or act unitary (as there is no leader or hierarchy in the BoA), they have veto power in case of changes in the constitutive act.
Apart from the big portfolio of projects, the organisation was also involved in the activities of other partner organisations or companies by delegating SPOC (or ambassadors) and in the university’s administrative activities by delegating representatives in the Council of the Faculty, University Senate, class representatives, tutors of the year and dormitory representatives. All of these are in close contact with the Council of Directors of the organisation who worked together on the organisational strategy and relations.