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A cut above the rest

As Paroma Bhattacharya (19) interviews collegians hoping to join the Mumbai chapter of AIESEC, the world’s largest youth-run organisation, she can hardly believe that only two years ago she was in their place.

mumbai Updated: Aug 16, 2010 01:14 IST
Apeeksha Vora

As Paroma Bhattacharya (19) interviews collegians hoping to join the Mumbai chapter of AIESEC, the world’s largest youth-run organisation, she can hardly believe that only two years ago she was in their place.

Present in over 107 countries and 16,000 universities, AIESEC (Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales) provides students a platform to interact with people from across the world and develop leadership skills. From exchange programmes across the globe to meeting industry heads and influential decision makers, students who have joined the organisation claim it has redefined them.

“In the past two years, my experiences through AIESEC have made me a more confident person. I am no longer afraid of making presentations to an audience,” said Bhattacharya, a student of St Xavier’s College.

Smriti Sant (19) joined AIESEC in April last year. This year, as vice-president of communications she is leading a team of eight people and working with people from companies such as LinkedIn who treat her as an equal. “Heading the communications department has given me the opportunity to interact with a public relations company and that has taught me a lot about the sector,” said Smriti, a student of Sophia College who wants to pursue a career in public relations.

Through the year, AIESEC Mumbai organises small and large scale events for which they raise funds and handle logistics.

“I am part of the team responsible for raising funds. I’ve had the opportunity to meet 50 CEOs including Adi Godrej and Meera Sanyal,” said Eeshaan Satwalekar (19), a sociology student at St Xaviers College. “Meeting notable industry people is what you dream about when you start a career and through AIESEC, I got to do that,” he added.

AIESEC also provides short-term internship opportunities to students to work with companies and NGOs abroad. “You can travel the world but to really experience a culture you need to live among and interact with the locals. That’s what I love most about AIESEC internships. I got a true taste of Romanian culture and made great friends,” said Jai Hind student Jehana Vazifdar, who went to Romania for a six-week traineeship this summer.

Parents, too, encourage the AIESEC experience. “It’s been more than a year since my daughter joined AIESEC and she’s grown to be a mature individual,” said Anuradha Sant, Smriti’s mother and a senior human resources manager.