Navigating the Starters Academy: Jari’s Story

The Starters Academy of Intellus was my “One Last Time”. 

 Hold on, let me explain. 

 I am Jari Evenepoel, a 28 year old father of two kids, with five years of practical working experience in Supply Chain & Project Management and PowerBI. After three working experiences, each with their own set of goals, challenges and roadblocks, I made a choice. I decided that consultancy may be a better fit for me as someone who wanted an environment of learning, collaboration and dynamic projects, without committing to one company. And so Intellus became the partner-in-crime for this next adventure. But when they told me there would be a six week period called the Starters Academy, I shivered in my seat. It was a moment that led me to a personal commitment: this would mark the ‘one last time’ I ventured into an experience like that. 

Don’t shoot me yet, I do believe in continuous learning, knowledge centers or collaboration and knowledge-sharing. But sometimes I feel like each company feels like their company needs a training period, bootcamp or whatever the trending word of that year is, 

Having encountered instances where training seemed more like rehearsing the same old script rather than true skill enhancement, my skepticism about the added value of this Starters Academy was only natural.  

But then September 5th came around and I made the journey from Kortrijk to Boortmeerbeek (125km, this will become relevant somewhere further below), ready to immerse myself in training and coaching for six weeks. The first day was filled with practical information, forms to fill in and a general introduction to the company and each other.  

After a few hours (and a few coffee breaks), I felt a shift in the force as for the first time I was no longer the analytical anomaly in a team of people with other goals and focuses. The group was about 15 people large, with some other guys already having working experience and most people of the group directly from college. With each coffee break and each piece or moment of small talk, more and more I felt a connection that I seldom experienced in my previous experiences. With a group of like-minded people sharing the same drive, passion and interests, we started our six week adventure.  

As Intellus combines three separate entities (Cubis, Lytix and Aivix) each with their own specific segment of the dataverse attributed to them, the Starters Academy is geared towards creating a fundamental base level of knowledge for each of these entities. Because of this each participant will have challenging days, where for instance someone trained in the use of SAP BW will be submerged in the world of Python and Databricks and feel like a fish out of water while another day a PowerBI-accustomed Business Analyst will shine during the group exercises around Microsoft’s Data Visualization Tool. Very soon people bonded and connected over their shared anguish for unknown tools and missing knowledge but received help and explanations from the skilled tutors (each an Intellus Consultant in their own right) or from the other participants.  

During the Academy, the Powerhouse Intellus showed its true colors. Weeks went by and more and more participants had to step out of the room for an hour or two. They had their first interviews with possible clients for after the Starters Academy. Soon messages were received that some of us would be starting with clients after the Academy, others would even have to step out of the academy to start at an earlier date with their client. I was also one of these lucky people, starting with a client after week 4 of the Academy. This fact created anticipation amongst us and the lessons. 

With days centered around SAP, SAC, PowerBI, SQL, Python & Databricks the Starters Academy gave us a versatile and powerful tool belt. The fact that Intellus has consultants that are skilled to various degrees in one or more of those tools creates a community of aid and advice around us. This is how Intellus in my opinion makes sure it keeps being the Powerhouse it was yesterday and will be tomorrow.  

And then I haven’t talked about my personal reasons for having such respect for the company Intellus and its backroom staff (HR, Sales,…). As mentioned above, I live quite a distance away from the headquarters. This in combination with my previous working experiences led to Intellus giving me the opportunity to self-study at home during the days focused on materials I already had a thorough base level of knowledge. With 4 hours saved, my days became more efficient.  

And even the process of finding clients became exemplary. I had my first interview with a client on the day I started! Maarten (shoutout!) trained me by phone on how to handle an interview with a client and stayed with me during the call. I wasn’t even an employee yet but they still made time and effort for me. 

All these experiences have stayed with me for the last year, as I closed the door on my first year with Intellus. From the thorough training days and exceptional tutoring during the Starters Academy itself to the reception and flexibility of the backroom staff of Intellus, I left the Academy feeling ready for my new life as a consultant. And most importantly, I knew I wouldn’t have to walk this path alone. The other starters learned with me, laughed with me, cursed on difficult topics with me but most importantly we connected with each other leaving a safety net of knowledge for each and any one of us in case we would ever need it.  

The Starters Academy changed my view on in-house training for new employees and I am glad this was my “One Last Time”.