An interview with a Global Talent!

Tim Buyl is a 26 years old Belgian recently graduated young talent who has decided to challenge himself and jump into a professional experience abroad. Nowadays, he is doing his Global Talent at Contrinex, as a Sales and Marketing administrator.

Check out what the experiences and learnings Tim shared with us on a recent interview and understand better what is it like to work with a Global Talent!

Tell us a bit more about yourself and your internship here in Switzerland.

My name is Tim Buyl, 26 years old and I live in Belgium (30 km from Brussels in a small village called Geraardsbergen). I first studied a Bachelor in SME-management in Gent and afterwards I did my master in Business Administration in Brussels. 

My function at the company Contrinex (headquarter in Fribourg, Switzerland) is Sales & Marketing administrator. The first 4 months I replaced somebody within the company due to a maternity leave and I was responsible for the prices. So I had to define the prices to the subsidiaries (because it’s an international company with 14 subsidiaries worldwide) and calculate the margins. It was a high responsibility because I (of course after the approval of the CSO) could decide which price the country managers could maintain to their customers. Next to that, I had other projects regarding prices and I had to do different jobs for the international key account manager and products managers. Now my function has changed to sales intern and I work on a project for the international key account manager. The project is more focused on Salesforce and it’s about defining a structure within the software for important customers of Contrinex.

What motivated you to do your internship abroad?

It felt like every year was the same for me at my home country. Every year I met the same people, went to the same parties and did the same student job. It was like every year was repeating itself and I knew from before what would happen at a certain moment. I had a feeling there were no more challenges. Besides, I really wanted to become more independent, learn other languages and meet new people. One day a guest speaker at my university, a CEO of a big company, really convinced me to go abroad. In his presentation he told us: ‘once you have the opportunity to go abroad, just do it. You will definitely learn a lot and the economics of Belgium is just a small percentage compared to the whole world.’ So all those reasons made me think about going abroad and of course it’s a good step in the right direction for your further career. Every business will see it as a positive point in your life, because it’s a proof that you are not scared to face challenges and that you are ambitious.

What do you think that were your main challenges and learnings so far in this experience? How did this experience change you?

The first, and probably the most difficult one, was to say goodbye to my family and friends. I had never gone abroad for such a long time and when I was driving to Switzerland I was thinking: ‘What am I doing?’. I guess the first days in a foreign country are the most difficult ones for everybody, but after one week or something you get used to it and you see the advantages of the experience.
As I told you, with this internship I wanted to improve my languages. So at the beginning it was harder to communicate because my English is not perfect and I recognized my French is really bad. Now I can say I really improved both languages, especially my English because it’s the daily spoken language within the company and also within AIESEC Switzerland.
Another challenge was meeting new people. It was difficult because as I mentioned before my French was not so good and I have to admit that Swiss people are very friendly, but they are reserved people, only when they drink something they are more open. But from the very beginning AIESEC Fribourg invited me to different events, drinks and meetings. So that was a good chance to feel comfortable in a different country and meet new people. I had the same challenge within the company, but the people are very friendly and kind. So I really like the corporate culture within this company and I had no problems at all to ask questions and talk to them.

Because of the help of AIESEC and the friendly colleagues, it was not difficult at all to integrate well in Switzerland. After a few weeks I was already used to the Swiss way of living and especially the beauty of the country also helped me to feel home. This experience changed me a lot. Within the company I learned many things, like computer skills, presentation competences, teamwork, etc. and of course I improved my languages. Besides my professional improvements, I also developed myself in many different aspects, like independency, organisational skills and communication. I also had the time to think about myself and know better what I really want in my further career and life in general. Actually I improved all aspects which were my motivations to start this internship.
What is the work environment like and how different is it from your home country?

I think there are not so many cultural differences compared to Belgium and the work environment is quite the same, but what I really noticed is that Swiss people work a lot. In Belgium normal working hours are around 7 h 30 min a day and here in Switzerland it’s minimum 9 hours. When I arrive at the company at 8 am most people are already at work and when I leave around 6 pm the same people are still working. They have a lot to do and work the whole day. You can also find it in Belgium but not every day or so often. But of course the salaries are much higher in Switzerland, so it maybe could be an explanation for the long working hours.
Switzerland is also famous for their quality of products. Within the company you see they invest a lot in R&D and quality control. Contrinex will always place the customer central, so the long working hours are in line with the perfect service they guarantee.
Switzerland is, in my opinion, a perfect country to live in. You feel safe in this country and all the people are kind and friendly.
Finally, I want to conclude this interview with a special thanks to Contrinex and AIESEC Switzerland for all the opportunities I received from them and they made my 6 months experience in Switzerland one I will never forget. I definitely recommend it to everybody and especially to do an internship abroad via AIESEC. You will develop yourself both in a professional and personal way and it will take you to a higher level in your life.

How did AIESEC help you in the experience?
One day I found the very interested internship opportunity in Switzerland and contacted people of AIESEC Fribourg. After an introduction interview with AIESEC Fribourg they accepted me and they gave me some advice for the interview with the company. After that it went really fast, and I received the good news that I was accepted to do the internship.

AIESEC in Belgium provided me the presentation and helped me in the process to apply for the internship. They helped me with the preparation of my departure and some administrative tasks. Once I started to do my internship they contacted me and asked if everything is alright on a sporadic occasion.

I really want to thank AIESEC Switzerland, and especially AIESEC Fribourg, for all the help and advice they provided me during my internship and all the invitations they sent to me. From the very first day people of AIESEC helped me to integrate well in Switzerland and invited me to meetings, parties, drinks, lead sessions, etc. I visited cities, learned a lot and met new people all due to the friendly and kind people within AIESEC. They organised lead sessions where you learn to develop your leadership skills and I had to give a presentation about my experience for potential new members. A testimonial, which I also made for AIESEC, is the following: “AIESEC Switzerland helped me to find an interesting internship, integrate well in a strange country and met new people. It encouraged my personal development, independency, languages and leadership skills. I will never forget this experience and I want to thank all the people of AIESEC Switzerland for the giving opportunities. This organisation delivers excellent work and motivates people all around the world to improve themselves and to boost their further careers”. It definitely describes this organisation and I recommend everybody to do it via AIESEC. They did a lot for me to succeed in this experience.
Awesome, right? Interested in working with a Global Talent in your company?
Register at http://bit.ly/AIESEC_4_Companies and be a part of our Leadership Development network!

Understanding CSR with AIESEC!

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Corporate Social Responsibility, also known as CSR, is an initiative being adopted by companies around the world. The term defines a company’s effort to somehow create a positive impact in society. This impact can come from donations to nonprofit organizations, sponsorship for social projects and volunteering initiatives for the company’s employees. It is a way for a company to strive for more than profit itself and somehow give in a positive return to society. And why do companies do this, after all?
Nowadays, consumers are more and more taking into account aspects of the organization as a whole before purchasing or standing up for a branch. This means that, more and more, things done by a company that overcome its final products are taken into account by consumers. Working with CSR and making it a public thing can positively impact an organisation’s position among the market and its buyers.
It is not only attractive to the shoppers, but also to external investors and new talents. It is pretty common to hear young people and professionals in general looking for places to work where they can see why they are working there, understanding a purpose in the job. Given that, a company that invests in CSR and that values positive initiatives is certainly a talent attractor and keeper. It influences in a more positive work atmosphere and encourages professional and personal growth to the company’s collaborators.
Besides improving the company’s image among its consumers and investors, attracting and retaining good people in a positive work environment, CSR projects are also responsible for bringing together nonprofit and for profit organizations, strengthening both sides on this relationship. It can also be an alternative source of revenue for the third sector organizations.
In AIESEC, as we value positive impact in society, we propose a way to our partners to implement social projects in their realities. PWC, one of our organisation’s global partners, currently sponsors social exchanges with AIESEC for ten young leaders from around the world, to travel to another country and volunteer there in one of our local projects, which are aligned to one of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (Find out more about the project here).
AIESEC in Switzerland is currently looking for companies who are interested in CSR partnerships, so if you are interested in implementing CSR in your company or even understanding it a little better, make sure you register here at http://bit.ly/AIESEC_4_Companies !

Get talent from abroad with AIESEC!

IMG_0164Switzerland is a country of great opportunities and it is considered a reference in diverse subjects around the globe. The country counts with great universities, stable politics and economy, international companies and good infrastructure. When it comes to entrepreneurship, Switzerland doesn’t stand so far either. Investments in the field have been rising throughout the last five years and relevance has been growing.

Fathi Derder, Vaud FDP National Councillor, entitled his book as “The next Google will be Swiss”. In an interview to the 2017 Swiss Venture Capital Report (you can access the article here), released by Startupticker.ch, Derder supports that the only things missing for Switzerland to “make it to the top” are Talent and Risk Capital.

When it comes to talent, there’s a gap in bringing the right people to the right positions. One of the solutions brought by Mr. Fathi is the Start Up Visa, in which people who want to build something positive, should be welcomed and received to the country. That way, good people with good projects would strengthen the Swiss entrepreneurial environment.

Fortunately, we currently have an accessible opportunity for international talents and great ideas to work for the country! By enabling companies and startups to receive young students and professionals from all over the world, with different experiences and views upon entrepreneurship, the Swiss market is closer to reaching its potential and being part of the youth leadership development AIESEC promotes.

In our Global Entrepreneur project, startups hire interns who work for defined projects from 8 to 12 weeks. It is a low cost and low bureaucracy process that allows companies to reach great results!

For more information, you can register in our website: http://bit.ly/AIESEC_4_StartUps

How AIESEC develops the skills you will need by 2020

It is a given fact that the world we live in today is not the same one we will live in tomorrow or five years from now. This constant rhythm of changes is reflected in different aspects of our lives, including career development and skills seeked by the market.

An article released by the World Economic Forum points out the Top 10 seeked skills by companies by the time we reach the year of 2020. As the top 3 we have complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity, different from 2015 when these last two were represented by coordinating with others and people management skills.

AIESEC is aware of this constant changes and the need to adapt to the younger generations that come in the organization every year. Given that, the organization works with five years visions that guide us towards specific goals. Currently, AIESEC is working for the 2020 vision and one of its statements is ” Shaping what we do around what the world needs”. So, how is AIESEC providing to the world these specific needs and skills seeked?

By developing young leaders through practical and challenging experiences.

And how is this leadership developed?

AIESEC’s leadership development is based upon the Leadership Development Model (LDM) and its four qualities: Self awareness, Empowerment others, Solution orientation and World Citizenship. Each one of these qualities is based on the following skills:

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The top one 2020 quality brought by the World Economic Forum’s article, Problem Solving, for example, is very much connected to AIESEC’s quality of being Solution Oriented and the skills of resilience, positivity and taking risks. People Management, another important skill pointed out by the article is related to the Empowering Others quality, by engaging a group of people towards one same goal, working to develop the people from the team and having an effective communication.

So, by enabling youth to develop these leadership skills, AIESEC is contributing to the needs of the near future ahead of us! Want to be a part of this and enable more young talents to develop their leadership potential?

Register at http://bit.ly/AIESEC_4_Companies