“Best decision I’ve ever made,” she said.
Kimberly looked ahead with a sparkle in her eyes. I was not sure if she was talking to me or herself. The weight of her words lingered in the air. This was the moment when I decided that I, too, would join AIESEC.
Four months ago in September 2015, I crossed this wish off my bucket list. So far, my AIESEC journey has been exhilarating, fruitful and eye-opening.
AIESEC was my first encounter with B2B sales. I used to work in a tea house and had experience selling tea bags. At AIESEC, we are selling talents, experiences and values, and they are much larger, riskier investments than tea bags. Therefore, I treat AIESEC work almost with a sense of reverence. Do not get me wrong, I do think that selling tea bags is exciting and that contributing to the happy start of someone else’s day with a cup of caffeinated beverage is worthwhile. However, communicating values of youth empowerment and international perspective with companies, knowing that I am playing a part in creating overseas internship opportunities for human beings from the other end of the globe, appeals to me more at this stage. It thrills me to think that I may be able to inspire interest and action in decision makers whose yea or nay can have direct influence over an organization and potentially a future leader’s life.
AIESEC gave me the privilege and courage to reach out to industry professionals. It gave me a legitimate excuse to ask them out for coffee without having to worry that I have little to offer – because I can always talk about the values that AIESEC can provide their companies. I once met up with a journalist to ask for advice on entering the news industry – and, of course, to analyze the benefits that AIESEC can add to her newspaper agency. It turned out that her agency was unable to partner up with AIESEC, but the kind lady graciously offered to cover a story for us on their news feature. The moral of this story is that sometimes you think that you are setting out for one gain, but in the end, two wins find their way to you if you establish a good rapport with your clients. And I should also mention that the number of wins does not stop there if you turn the relationship long-term: The lady forwarded me two internal job postings later on.
AIESEC helped me bridge connection with strangers in the street, literally. On Boxing Day, my AIESEC team went on a social outing to Metrotown. While waiting in line for the fitting room, we started chatting about AIESEC business, using AIESEC jargons. The lady in front of us turned around and revealed to us that she was an AIESEC alumna. Just as we were awestruck by the coincidence, she dropped the second bomb and said that her husband was also an AIESECer. We followed her gaze and saw a man standing next to a pile of sweaters smiling at us. This chance encounter blossomed into two subsequent meetings, during which the couple generously shared with us their insights and stories about AIESEC, work, and life. I would never have got to know them nor listened to their intriguing stories had I not been a part of AIESEC.
“Best decision I’ve ever made,” I said to myself.
Thank you, Kimby, for introducing me to this dazzling world full of magic and opportunities.