I want to go back to school. Not because I have a specific job in mind that I need a certificate for; not because I miss basing my schedule on ad-hoc, unilateral, spontaneous decision-making; not because I feel insufficiently educated or incapable; and not because I want to get laid (although all these things contain insidious whisperings of truth). I want to go back to school because the first time around I totally missed out on AIESEC.
AIESEC (Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales) is an international, non-profit, student run organization that is focused on building skills and exploring potential as a young person; a comprehensive, broad based, well connected social network of students and recent graduates working together to help each other find out what they want to do, how to get the necessary skills, where to actually get a position, and how to make the world a better place at the same time. And there is no private self-interest conflicting with the students’ questing.
AIESEC started in the 1930s and 40s with European schools collaborating on various programs and student exchanges, and has now grown more than 35,000 students strong, hooking up over 5,550 international internships per year for students to live and work abroad. Aside from providing internships, AIESEC provides leadership training trough internal roles to develop necessary skills and career focus, and helps out with the logistis surrounding the exchanges, including accommodation, work permit and more. Each year they deliver over 470 conferences to students, helping them network with one another and gather information to build their future as leaders.
If there is anything I can imagine longing for in the immediate time leading up to and following graduation, it would have been a support group of upwardly mobile, driven young professionals all chasing big dreams and comparing notes along the way, bolstered by a prestigious international presence with political know-how and connections to all sorts of big businesses around the world, offering the opportunity to travel and gain valuable experience fresh out of the meat grinder. And yes, they have an office right here in Vancouver, at SFU. Let me just quickly add this to my list of reasons why I hate SFU for rejecting me when I was in a year-end grade 12 academic death spiral……. OK.
The AIESEC approach is ultimately aimed at “Peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential” by developing students around values of leadership, integrity, diversity, participation, excellence, enjoyment, and sustainability. Through these values AIESEC helps students to take an active role in their lives, develop a personal vision, learn leadership skills, build a network, and champion a holistic world view for the future.
As far as the business world is concerned, AIESEC has access to a talent pool of the world’s best and brightest young leaders.
Now excuse me again while I find out if I’m young enough and a recent enough graduate to join.