The University of Tehran was working in a traditional way full of paperwork to manage students who are close to graduation and have to pass their internship program at a company. The growing number of students and having more companies that wanted to engage fresh students made the management of this process even harder.
IranTalent company with more than 17 years of experience working in human resources management and running the biggest and number one job site in Iran offered a constructive approach to building a Saas platform which converts traditional paperwork system into a brand new software that could help lots of people including university administrators, professors, students, and companies and made a unique experience in connecting companies and students with the supervision of university.
This platform was successful enough to attract more than 12 universities to use it as their internship automation system. Also, more than 1500 companies are engaged to hire fresh students for their internship program.
The old system and its problems
The system was based on a huge amount of paperwork and offline flows.
Firstly, the university’s admin reached their partners and corporators at different industries to ask about how many job positions they had vacant for junior and intern students. Then with this estimation from open positions in mind, they announced to the students who were eligible to take an internship unit to find the jobs they like and suitable for them. (jobs had to be in the same category as their field of study) in most cases, job positions were not attractive enough and students tended to find their job elsewhere and introduce new companies to the university.
Imagine that every single student wants to introduce a new company and how the university could cope with this amount of Investigation to validate new companies. In some cases, students took advantage of this chaos to work at a relative or family member’s company that was easy for them.
I should point out the fact that an internship program could have a vital role in a student’s career path in the future and universities know how significant it is.
But managing in old-fashioned and offline ways, using fax to reach companies, or using a lot of paperwork, made this part of the university work poorly.
Solution: A Centralized platform
We offered a constructive solution for replacing their traditional system at the University of Tehran with an online internship platform which we were going to build under a Saas (Software as a service) approach. Students, the company’s supervisors, professors of the university, faculty managers, and university administrators come to a centralized platform and each of them could access some specific part of this system.
Scheduling and timing was an important part of this software. In this way, we cut off all paperwork and connected lots of companies in the directory of the IranTalent website to the university.
Our company is the leading job site and online recruitment service in Iran serving as the primary recruitment channel for many leading Iranian companies.
Being the first and biggest job site in Iran, IranTalent has more than 17 years of experience in HR management. Therefore, it was the best possible option to help the university of Tehran to connect to a lot of companies.
We wanted to offer this platform not only to the University of Tehran but also to any other university that we can engage in the future. So, with this in our mind, we needed to customize the UI part of the software as quickly and simply as possible to build another instance for a new university.
Therefore, everything related to branding like logo, slogan, the whole color palette, patterns, etc. had to be separated, so that university admins could change them during the set-up process of the software.
Now more than 12 universities acquire this platform with their branding.
Users and Roles
There are several roles in this software that I briefly introduced before. Here is the extended explanation:
The young and talented generation at the age of about 20 to 22 who passed more than 100 units and wanted to take an internship unit, were the target students who could use this platform.
They are completely familiar with technology, using the internet every day, and eager to use panels to handle the university’s tasks. They could use this system to view related job positions, complete their profile and CV, apply for job positions they want, view the status of job positions, check their email to see a notification for any status changes, upload their internship reports, and view the company’s and the professor’s score.
So, students are mainly involved in lots of situations.
They are mainly experienced people in their job and partly use the internet at their work and some of them are not familiar with the panels and platforms.
They should train students and teach them the fundamentals of their jobs. They should give scores to students based on an evaluation form in their panel at the end of the internship program.
This group of users are highly educated people and mainly the oldest users on our platform. Most of them have vast experience in using software and online platforms, but are too busy to spend their time on our platform.
They are assigned to up to 7 students’ internship programs to supervise them doing their jobs at companies. At the end of the term, they could view students’ reports and analyze their progress, and score them.
These are employees of the university who have been doing their job for several years. They are experts at using managing software. They could do time framing for each part of the process of the Internship.
Also, they are responsible for customizing software to the exact branding of the university during the set-up process. Moreover, they could manage faculty supervisors whose job is to manage students and professors in their faculty.
They are employees of the university and most of them are quite familiar with technology and using software. Their job inside our platform is to manage (add, remove and edit) a list of fields of studies, students, and professors. Plus, they could assign professors to students’ internship programs (approve/reject them), and their final selection (approve/reject them).
There were several types of users whose goals, needs, and pain points in the old flow, I had to investigate. My colleagues, including product owners, and I had several meetings talking to university admins, faculty supervisors, and processes.
They explained what they wanted and how they were operating traditionally. We examined some new flows, diagrams, and wireframes each session to get more insight into how we could design the new system that fits their needs.
Every week that we made good progress in designing and thinking about new approaches to make a flow, we held a meeting with seniors at the University of Tehran and discussed them. We had clear fundamental journey maps and a lot of wireframes after multiple sessions. This process was time-consuming but super necessary to understand their perspective in order to enhance our designs.
The timing is an essential part of this system. Each role has its scheduling and all of them come together as one. Here is the whole flow of the process that could be used in all different universities.
- Student signs up
- Student completes CV
- Student applies for job positions
- Company approves or rejects CVs
- Student finalizes selection from approved jobs for which they applied before
- The faculty supervisor checks students’ requests for finalized selection. Approves or rejects the internship program. If they approve it, then they assign a professor to the program.
- Student start their internship at the company
- At the end of the program, the company gets the score of students and writes its comments and feedbacks
- Student uploads internship report
- Professor downloads report, views company score, comments, and feedback. Then scores the student
- Students and company supervisors fill out a specific survey about the quality of the program
- Companies sign up and ask to cooperate with the university
- University admin investigates the company. Approves or rejects them.
- Companies post job positions
- Faculty supervisor checks job positions. Approves or rejects them.
- Companies have a deadline for checking CVs to approve or reject them.
- Companies have a deadline for scoring students and filling evaluation forms.
- Defining all the fields of studies during the process of internship in the specific term.
- Check the eligibility of students to take the internship unit and mark them.
- Reaching to companies via email and other channels and invite them to sign up and post their job positions
The cycle of design
and develop in a
It was an amazing journey during 8 months of researching, designing, getting feedback, and enhancing design (or redesign!), collaborating with front-end and back-end developers, polishing implemented pages, collaborating with the Q.A. and tester, talking with the product owner, university admins, and receiving feedback from all these roles.
These all happened due to having a great communicative atmosphere in the IranTalent and the University of Tehran.
Outcome and benefits for all users
They do not need to select their internship from a limited list of unattractive companies.
They can build a great CV and apply for lots of job positions in the panel. Also, they can upload the report, view the company’s score online and professor’s score too. Moreover, they could evaluate the company and professor too!
They can choose their candidates themselves.
Universities used to send some selected students to the company, but with the help of this platform companies could choose students based on their CVS.
I think this system is most beneficial for these people. They get rid of tons of paperwork and they could focus on supervising companies and students’ relations. They manage deadlines and announce timeframes to students, professors, and companies.
Now with this system in their circle of software, they can easily manage their students. Ask for any updates from students or companies, view companies’ feedback about the students, companies’ scores, students’ reports, and finally score them easily.
12 universities so far!
even in covid-19 era
This software was successful enough to attract more than 12 universities that wanted to use it. Most of them are listed among the top universities in Iran. Here is the list:
I must say that it could not have been achieved without the collaboration between a great team inside the IranTalent company and great university administrators including the head of the IT department and all the staff at the internship department.
Also, I want to say thanks to all developers including the front-end, back-end, DevOps, and our great tester who put a lot of effort into examining the system and making a great quality assurance. And last but not least, our manager and the product owner who gave me this opportunity to think freely, design, test, enhance, and produce a great user experience in this process.