AIESEC from inside: an interview with our MCP

AIESEC changes it’s executive boards every year, at national and at local level. Every year we have a new president and a new group of vice presidents who are responsible for guiding the organization during their one year term. In order to understand the organization better, we are bringing today the view from our current MCP (member’s comittee president),  Dyego Oliveira.

Born in Brazil, Dyego is now a citizen of the world, having visited, worked and impacted diverse cultures and environments over the last few years and the president of AIESEC in Switzerland for the term of 2016/17.

Tell us how a bit about your AIESEC journey

I started my journey in the organization in 2010,  hosting some exchange participants in my house, because I wanted to meet new cultures without leaving my home. I received people from Chile, the USA and in december 2011 I felt the eager to get out myself, so I went for a Global Volunteer in Egypt, in a project named “Where it all begins”. I went back to my homecity, finished my studies and by that time I decided to go abroad again, so I went for another volunteering project in Paraguay, in a communication project. I left there feeling a better person, in the way of giving value to life and things I had: There, I used to see people with big problems and disabilities, and still they were everyday welcoming me to the NGO with a big smile.

Two years later I went to India, for a Global Talent and there I faced some challenges, starting by the fact I was fired one week after I had started working. So there I was, on the other side of the world, unemployed and what I though was: “Let’s be Solution Oriented”. So I spoke to AIESEC back home and AIESEC in India and we were able to find another opportunity for me. After some months I found the opportunity to work at a new AIESEC committee that was opening in Paris. So I applied, got accepted to work as Marketing VP and one week later I was flying to Paris. It was really challenging, but still we were able to promote a great number of exchanges on our very first year, even more than some older committees. In November 2014 I got the chance to visit AIESEC in Switzerland, so in 2015 I applied for the national executive board (MC) and got accepted. Not satisfied with all the work we were doing, I decided to apply for another term on the organization, this time as MCP. I wanted to bring visibility to AIESEC in Switzerland, make it present in the Global Plennary and show the world that, even though we are in a very structured and stable country, we still have space to promote a lot of exchanges here.

How do you think that a working experience abroad (GT) shaped who you are today? How did you see your impact inside the company you worked in?

The experience taught me to become a more dettached person. I’ve always been very scared of losing people and things, but living abroad showed me that this is a natural and normal thing. It made me understand people, understand different cultures and that people have different points of view, so I learned to listen, respect, not judge them.  It increased my curiosity to understand what is going on in the world, it made me a more tolerant person as well as more analytical and capable of making more racional decisions. A Global Talent is longer right? It is different from a Global Volunteer, when you have only six weeks to live it all, it is very intense. When you have more time, you can take more time to adapt, to meet people and connect to them.

How do you evaluate AIESEC in Switzerland’s work with partners nowadays and what evolutions you see as natural for the next terms?

Well, there was a time when we would have up to 40 partners and nowadays we have around six. The partnerships were very much affected by problems with value delivery and quality of the experiences we were giving to our stakeholders. For me, quantity and quality are not opposites: you can deliver 1000 great experiences or 3 bad ones. I always defended and worked for quality experiences, given that it is fundamental to guarantee sustainability to the organization on the long term.

Switzerland is a great country, good economy and education and many big companies are not interested in AIESEC because of our international recruitment (it can be done online, without the work from a third party), so I think it is important for us to review the value preposition of our product for our country. We have to understand better our maket to develop better strategies. Global Entrepreneur is a product with great potential in the country, but it still has to be developed in terms of accomodation and visa issues. I also think that we must look at more data, to understand better what went well and what went wrong and improve on it.

Why do you think that AIESEC is important in Switzerland and why do you think it is important for us to be inserted in the second sector?

Well, I believe that AIESEC develops leadership by bringing people to work in challenging environments, with challenging job descriptions, where the exchange participant has to adapt quick, be agile and a fast learner. Switzerland, as a society, as a country is a place where talking about leadership is not so easy. Diversity here is not the largest and bringing foreigners to work here contributes to show to Swiss people how people with different backgrounds can add value to their companies and they can all learn from each other.

 

Interested in working closer to AIESEC?

Register at http://bit.ly/AIESEC_4_Companies

 

An exchange journey to India!

This week we are bringing an exchange story shared by Calliope Karavgoustis, a 23 years old AIESEC member who has decided to chellenge herself and volunteer abroad in Baroda, India, on July 2016.
What motivated you to go? I was already a member of AIESEC and I wanted to experience our products. Furthermore, I love traveling and at that time I really needed a break to discover another reality, I wanted to explore something completely new, meet new people, be in another environment. I also wanted to challenge myself by going to a country that is completely different than what I knew and India was fascinating me. Also, I knew that by going with AIESEC it would be easier to be integrated and take the best out of it. Finally, combining the discovery of a new country with a volunteering project seemed to be the best option in order to feel “useful” and to interact with the local community.

What were the main challenges for you? Everything was completely new to me and it was hard in the beginning to adapt to all that. It was challenging to figure out what behavior would be the most suitable. Everyone was looking at me since I was a foreigner and it was weird and a bit uncomfortable in the beginning. However I got used to it and once I started talking to people, most of them were really friendly.
Another challenge was that things don’t always go the way they should and when it is in a different environment, you need to adapt and be resilient to find solutions. My project changed somehow during my stay and I had to adapt to it, but in the end it turned out well.
Another challenging element was basically that I didn’t know anyone and I had to  “find my place”, make new friends, etc. But step by step and after the first days, I felt more comfortable and I had met already some very nice people.

How did AIESEC helpe you? AIESEC was very helpful especially during the first days because they helped me feeling more integrated and it was easier to understand their culture by being with them. Since we are the same age it’s also more convenient to spend time together. And they are used to welcome EPs, which makes everything more natural. Another good thing was that before leaving I could ask them lots of questions to get ready and feel more reassured.
During the whole stay, AIESEC Baroda invited us (the Exchange Participants) to any event they had and for any inquiry, I knew I could ask any of them, they were always ready to help.

In general, my stay was very enriching. Everyday I was discovering new things, learning a lot by myself as well as from others, I met amazing people, I could integrate the community and have a better overview of how is life in India. It was also a great journey for myself because I was put in a challenging environment that made me grow a lot!

AIESEC seen from an AIESECer

Hello, readers! Today we are sharing with you the story of one of AIESEC in Switzerland’s Exchange Participant, Nina Bianchi!
Nina went to India to work as a volunteer and you can find out more about her Leadership DeVelopment journey with AIESEC here:

“I’m Nina, 21 years old. I went on an Global Volunteer exchange in Kolkata, India, in August 2015 (so I was 19 then). I was already a member of AIESEC, and I had just started my term as LCVP (Local Committee Vice President).

I decided to go abroad to volunteer with AIESEC because I had some time in the summer, and I wanted to do something different than just travel or work here in Switzerland. For me, it was an opportunity to discover a new culture I was very curious about, and to do that from the “inside”, from a different point of view than a tourist. As an AIESECer, I also wanted to live the kind experiences we offer, so that I would be even more motivated to work for it and allow others to live it as well.

During my exchange, the main challenge for me was definitely the cultural differences, especially the work culture. Since I was working and living with Indians, I had to adapt a lot my habits and my way of thinking and working. It took me a week or two to get used to it and be able to work without getting frustrated or uncomfortable. But I would definitely say that I learned a lot from it and became much more easy-going and adaptable in my work in general, even once I was back in Switzerland. 
AIESEC in Kolkata really did everything to make my experience as smooth and rich as possible. I saw them a lot, they made me visit the city and their favorite places, and I got the opportunity to attend a lot of events from the Local Committee there, which was very interesting for me as an AIESEC member. They were also very available to answer my questions and concerns and to make sure that the communication with the school I was volunteering in was going well. 
I would definitely say that this exchange allowed me to develop myself, both on a personal level and in my professional experience there. Working and living in such a challenging environment definitely made me learn a lot on myself and the way I engage with others, whatever their culture and background can be.
Interested in knowing more about AIESEC? Register at http://bit.ly/AIESEC_4_Youth

Youth and Entrepreneurship: New ideas for new business

Every year, the School of Management of Fribourg releases the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), as a way to explore and assess the role of entrepreneurship in national economic growth. It was first released in 1999 and ever since, the data analysis, conclusions and forecasts on Entrepreneurship in Switzerland can be accessed by anyone. The last report was released in 2016 and it brings attention to some interesting facts on the current reality of this field (check out the 2015/16 report here).

For instance, Switzerland shows high perception of capabilities along with a low fear of failure and still only 40% of the interviewed participants see entrepreneurship as a good career choice. Besides, the report brings out the fact that, although the country presents a low rate of discontinued business ideas, 50.2% of those were due to Swiss bureaucracy.

Another important fact brought by the report is the low rate of founding activity among 18-24 year olds in the country. The article points out some hypotheses that could explain the low rate of young entrepreneurs in Switzerland, such as lack of self confidence and unwilling to leave their comfort zone, which would be working as an employee. Maybe if entrepreneurial incentives and trainings were introduced earlier in education, this situation would be changed.

Even though main entrepreneurial initiatives don’t currently come from youth, having young people in this business sector can bring great results: New business work well with new ideas. By working with AIESEC and recruiting young talents from abroad for your startup, you can contribute to making entrepreneurship more attractive for Swiss youth, as well as having access to new and creative ideas!

For more informations about working with AIESEC, register here at http://bit.ly/AIESEC_4_StartUps .

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!

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

Effective team management leading to effective results

IMG_0141One of the key aspects that allow companies to achieve better results is effective people management. Although this responsibility is often attributed to the Human Resources department, managers and team leaders should recognize their active role on the employee’s performance, achieved results, motivation and development.

As an organization that seeks to develop leadership in its participants, AIESEC has developed Team Standards, a model for leaders to efficiently manage teams inside the organization. Check out our model below!

BUILDING
The first step of a team is building its identity. On this stage, the members get to know themselves, start bonding and understand the basic structure and activities of the area/ department.

Also, expectations are set as well as strategies and planning of the results.

On this moment, the leader has an active role in understanding his/hers members, by getting together individually with each one of them and setting personal development goals. This way, the team experience will add in results for the company and for the personal development of the individuals

PERFORMING
Now that the team members already know each other, their responsibilities and goals, it is time to perform. It is important to establish a regular routine, by having periodical team meetings, one to one meetings and activities of the team in general in moments known as “off work” (team bonding, activities, appreciations and acknowledgements of the member’s work..)

CLOSING
Once the project is reaching it’s end, it is important to elaborate a report, mentioning key results, what was achieved and what was not. It is a way to make sure information won’t’ be lost and can be passed for other areas or teams.
Also, having moments of debriefing, evaluating key learnings, next steps and the team experience as a whole.

By going through these steps, company leaders are able to understand better it’s employees and make sure talented people continue in the organization, contributing to its sustainability and long term results.

Want to know more about this theme and how to achieve better results in your company? Sign up here at http://bit.ly/AIESEC_4_Companies

How AIESEC connects youth and companies: Global Talent

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As the largest youth-led organisation, AIESEC aims to develop leadership in youth, and next to the Global Entrepreneur’s program, we run the Global Talent program. Through it, we connect young people to internship opportunities through our international platform, allowing your company to find the talent and innovation you have been looking for and activating leadership development in your international intern!

What does this product include? Here is an overview:

The flagship talent programme enables your businesses to provide meaningful professional experiences to a global network of youth talent who want to make a difference. The programme duration ranges from 3-18 months and is focused on bringing talent from all over the globe to your offices.
We provide a full range of support services that help make the experience as smooth as possible: from profiling the candidates, handling visa and logistics, to cultural integration and reception services. It is a flexible and effective business solution that can be implemented in multinationals across their various departments, or support fast growing SME’s in expanding globally.

AIESEC is partners with hundreds of organizations worldwide, such as Electrolux, ING, and DHL, as well as with D-Ploy and Complio amongst others here in Switzerland. For almost 70 years now we have been developing young leaders and contributing to organizational development of companies that believe in change, impact and innovation. By bringing different points of view and knowledge to the working environment, our partners are able to achieve bigger results.

And how can you be a part of this?
Register here in our website and checkout more informations for Global Talent and international recruiting:
http://bit.ly/AIESEC_4_Companies

General information on going abroad with AIESEC

AIESEC aims to create an understanding between cultures through the Global Community Development Program. Our international network is organizing this exchange program to provide you a fun and meaningful experience and the chance to immerse yourself in a foreign culture. It is an excellent opportunity for you to develop your entrepreneurial and leadership skills, to experience cultural diversity by creating direct positive impact.

AIESEC’s unique Global Community Development Program provides volunteer opportunities to help foster global awareness of cultural differences and social and environmental issues within local communities. Our exchanges range from 6 weeks to 12 weeks. Submerse yourself in the lifestyles of countries you’ve never been to!

Our GLOBAL CITIZEN program is divided in:

– GLOBAL CITIZEN Education

– GLOBAL CITIZEN Social Work

– GLOBAL CITIZEN Entrepreneurship

 

How can you take part in one of our programs?

Depending upon your university schedule, you can travel anytime, but the major peaks for project always are:

Winter Break: Dec-Jan-Feb-Mar

Summer Break: June-July-August

Volunteering means the position is unpaid. However, you will receive:

Accommodation: Included for the duration of the program either in a volunteer apartment/shared flat where you will be staying with a group of volunteers or at the local host family to increase the cultural experience.

Meals: Depending on the project up to 2-3 meals per day will be offered.

 

Application Process

1. Information & Application

Learn about our programmes either through an info-event, promotion or blog. Check the opportunities you have in all over the world through this website:

https://opportunities.aiesec.org/

Fill in the application form.

2. Interview

We would like to check your motivation, expectations and skills to go on an internship, we would also want to make sure that we can offer you the most suitable opportunities.

3. Preparation Seminar

In a one day long preparation seminar you will get prepared and ready to live in a different culture and get tips on how to find the most suitable internship.

4. Project Application

Start applying for the different projects. Your AIESEC coach will support you during the whole process.

5. Volunteer Experience

Start living your volunteer experience and learn about the destination’s culture, customs, history and challenges.

6. Return

Share your experience with others and inspire them to go on an internship as well. Become a member or a leader of your local AIESEC committee.