Currently there is a spring recruitment period in the non-government organization AIESEC in all 107 countries and territories where it is present (including my home country Moldova). This can be determined by various posters and banners with powerful messages or simple, but real stories, presentations (called “Big Picture”) and info desks at universities, on-line articles and so on.

If you noticed any of these banners or posters, then you might have asked yourself: “What is this AIESEC? What is in it for me? And should I really join it?

Truth to say, I am not so good in inspirational speeches and promotional articles. So, I will answer these questions as objectively as I can, with positive and negative points, with successes and disappointments, with personal examples and opinions of other AIESEC members.

When you look at all those happy faces from the “I am an AIESECer” posters and photos / videos of various events, you perceive AIESEC as a positive, successful and rapidly growing organization, where all members live and work as in a fairy tale. Yet, this is not quite the truth.

The organization itself is neutral. It does not transform you into a successful leader – it only gives you a large variety of tools and environment you can use to “mold” this leader out of yourself. The descriptor clearly points this out: “AIESEC – the international platform for young people to explore and develop their leadership potential.” You see: this is only the PLATFORM for you to use as a trampoline to reach new heights, which is much harder to do without it and alone.

Emerging from the previous fact, the second one becomes obvious: in spite of the 60-years global growth and many successful experiences AIESEC is not the ideal place. It is all about PEOPLE. And all people make mistakes. Due to this point I have tried to quit AIESEC about seven times during my 3-years experience here… but even after becoming an alumnus still remain close to it. Why? Just let us look at this fact from the other side that considers such well-known idea: “Your most powerful learning experience is obtained through your own mistakes”.

Compare two young persons of about 21 years old, who plan to start their business. The first one, who just graduated from a university, has no or little idea of what is project management, how to manage a team, and what to do when risks knock boldly on your front door. The second one, who combined university studies with volunteering in AIESEC, has already experienced these and many more things, and now is able to use them effectively and efficiently. A rhetorical question here: Who has more chances to become successful entrepreneur?

Now, I propose to combine the “neutral” character of the organization and all challenges and not so pleasant experience it might hide. And what do we get here? Yes, YOUR OPPORTUNITY! It means that it is YOU together with other members who make the organization as it is.

You do not like the destination it goes to? – Become a leader of the project / conference / committee, propose your direction and strategy, and lead your team.

You consider there is lack of professionalism and quality in providing internship services? – Apply for the so-called eXchange Quality Board and improve them on the global level.

You notice unethical attitude and behaviour? – Go for the International Ethics Subcommittee or even establish your local one and educate members on the importance of ethical leadership.

As you see, the present and future of AIESEC depends on each member of the organization, including YOU. It will be what you all, together, make of it. No more, no less.

Thus, my suggestion here is: Think carefully about this opportunity and

Find YOUR AIESEC! (Literally)

More information and videos can be found HERE.