The Local Committee President (LCP) application deadline is coming up real soon (Wednesday 26 October, 6pm), with the VP application deadline coming up shortly after (Thursday 03 November, 6pm).

With this in mind, I’m sure all of you are thinking about your next steps in AIESEC.

When I first applied for VP Corporate Relations in 2009, I had some apprehensions for taking up a leadership role in the organization. I asked myself lots of questions:

  • Would it be too much work?
  • What about school?
  • What about work?
  • How would I be able to raise a TN? – I never even went on a marketing call before!
  • How am I going to train people in doing something I’m not very good at?
  • Am I going to get along with people applying for other VP positions, and the LCP?
  • Do I want to devote time to this?
  • Conferences are really tiring – do I have to go to every single one?

Four days before the VP application was due, I made my mind up to apply – then made my mind up not to apply – over and over again until the very minute it was due. At the last possible moment, I decided to send my VP application.

Fast-forward a year later, I was in the exact same position – only this time, I was now applying for the LCP role. I asked myself lots of questions:

  • What if my VPs quit?
  • What if we fail minimum standards again?
  • Would I have time to work during the summer?
  • How are we going to raise TNs?
  • Do I know anything about Finance?
  • Do I have time for this?
  • Is being LCP worth it?

If you’re reading this post, I’m sure that you’re asking yourself questions similar to the ones I asked myself. Taking the next step in AIESEC – be it running for LCP, applying for VP, or going on an internship abroad – is a decision that can’t be made lightly. I can tell you that any role you take in AIESEC will be as rewarding as you make it.

As VP Corporate Relations (2010-11), I led the AIESEC UBC sales team to booking 77 marketing calls – compared to just ten the year before – and managed to raise and realize a technical traineeship position for an Egyptian intern. I had the opportunity to train people in doing sales while learning sales myself at the same time. I also had the opportunity to work closely with the executive team, going through the ups and downs of leading a 50+ member student-run organization. While I had many successes, I also made a lot of mistakes and experienced lots of failures – ask a member of last year’s executive team how I did during our Quarter 3 Board of Advisors meeting went.

As LCP (2011-2012), I led a group of 7 awesome VPs in running AIESEC UBC. I got the chance to fly to Toronto (twice) to get trained specifically on how to be a better LCP. I also got exposure in other aspects of AIESEC that I didn’t really dabble in before my LCP year (finance, talent management, communications in particular). I learned not just how to run and lead a team, but how to run and lead an organization. I was there to celebrate the successes of my VPs and members in the background, and I was also there to help fix problems and failures (both my own and others).

It isn’t always easy being an LCP or a VP, but I can tell you that it is definitely worth it. You won’t get the opportunity to work with a group of 7 other passionate people working towards the same goal as you in other organizations. It’s through leadership roles that you learn to take risks, and take responsibility for your actions, and the actions of the people you’re leading. It’s better to learn certain things before graduating from university – a leadership position in AIESEC provides you with the platform to do so.

LCP and VP applications come once a year – don’t put off taking the next step – this might be the only chance you’ll have in running for your desired leadership role. Everyone who joins AIESEC is promised opportunities for advancement and development; make sure you don’t miss out on this opportunity!

If you’re asking yourself why you should take the next step in AIESEC, forget everything that’s holding you back, and ask yourself: why not?

By Joshua Songa, LCP of AIESEC UBC