How To Succeed Without A Job
In the summer after my first year at CBS, I tried to get a cool student job. Surprise! – no experience means that you can only get call centre jobs… or dishwasher jobs… or delivery driver jobs (oh wait, I couldn’t even get that cause I don’t have a license). Where could I get experience? Then it dawned on me… In a student organization!
That is how my journey started. I joined a student organization and it was one of the best decisions of my life. The choice was quite random – I joined AIESEC because it was international, I knew some friends there and they seemed to have nice values. The amazing part about universities in Denmark is that they all have so many options! Have you opened the Network Booklet yet? It includes, like, a thousand organizations: everything from journalism, food, and acting, to consulting and finance and stuff.
So why am I saying that it was the best experience of my life?
1. You get leadership opportunities in the field that you are interested in (Duuh! – I just told you that’s why I joined.)
When you work in a student organisation, you actually have to do what people do in “real” companies do. I started with sales to companies (I had meetings with their CEOs and HR managers) – I learnt what companies want when they hire, and how to network with them. After five months, I became a Team Leader and I had to put up a whole new team that would try out new sales techniques. I had to pass this job on to one of my colleagues though, because 3 weeks after that, I decided to do something crazy and apply for being the Vice President of Marketing and Communications (OMG help! I don’t even have a background in this!). What was even crazier was that I actually got elected. All of a sudden I was in charge of the marketing team and the strategies that we would pursue.
Apart from this, I was also part of the team that organized an event and I helped our HR team with recruitment (so much fun!).
THE POINT: No matter which organization you choose, there will be lots of opportunities and lots of possibilities for learning new things. And you know what I discovered? It is completely up to you to pursue them!
2. You get to work with lots of people and network like hell.
You will meet people you love working with and you will meet people you hate working with. You might even meet your future business partner. Isn’t it better to find out who you can make a kick-ass team with, today? You will see how one unmotivated member can bring a team down or how a super-excited one can make you happy that you are working overtime.
Joining a student organization will also help you network with people outside of your inner circle, your study line, your university… I met people from at least 20 countries: students, entrepreneurs, interns, IT people, marketing people, and I don’t even remember how many more. I was even offered a job during the event I organized! Most importantly, I realized what type of company I want to work for and what kind of team.
3. It will help you understand what makes a successful organization work.
When you join (or start your own) student organization you will (usually) have more responsibility than in a typical student job. If you join a small organization you will understand the problem of not having enough members, or resources, or brand awareness etc.; if you join a large one (AIESEC exists in over 124 countries), you will experience the problems that can arise in huge corporations. You will get to see why an executive board is necessary and maybe even how it is to be part of one – and that it is actually hard to shape the culture of an organization. Whenever I had a subject in school about that I always thought it would be the easiest thing in the world (I am pretty sure everyone thought so too). One of the most important things that I learnt is how important external stakeholders are and how important it is to recruit the right people.
This title is self-explanatory. Seriously, it can be extremely fun. Hanging out with people who have the same interests and are just as weird as you (or close enough) is awesome. You’ll meet people that you will be friends for life with. Whatever your reason for joining is, this will be one of the reasons why you will be staying. Going to Nexus will be a lot more fun when you know so many people.
Once you are part of an organization, you will realize how much better your student experience is and how much more prepared you are for the real world. So hurry up and open that network book, and start applying!
P.S: If you are thinking that it would be crazy to choose to spend your time in a student organization rather than getting a job, I have news: You can do both!
This article was written by Claudia Micula, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at AIESEC CBS. She is in the third year of her degree in BSc. Business Administration and Service Management. You can learn more about AIESEC (and what they can do for you) here.