I made the decision of going on an internship with AIESEC in November 2019. I was about to complete the third year of my university studies and found myself – frankly – a bit lost. Though I’d gone through some powerful volunteering experiences that definitely taught me a lot, I hadn’t actually had a working experience in my field of studies, which made me feel like a complete outsider to the corporate world I was about to enter – rather sooner than later.
I started skimming through available opportunities abroad with not so very high hopes. Apparently, I had chosen a fairly good timing to search for positions, for a number of different fields were reflected on the available spots: from IT to Pharmacovigilance, from Finance to Marketing and so on. I took my chances and trusted that fate would take care of whatever was meant to happen and applied.
The company was the Hungarian branch of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), an Indian multinational focused on outsourcing IT and business services and solutions. Back then, I knew very little of the company itself, except it was big and had many years on the market. By December, I got the news I had been selected for the role of HR Generalist, and the anxious excitement started building up in my chest as I had about two months to get my affairs in order and fly over to Budapest, Hungary – a country I had never set my eyes, feet or mind on.
Overall, I had the expectation (and hope) that an international internship would not only give me the professional background I lacked and longed but would also get me out of my perfect bubbly comfort zone, living with my parents and coexisting with pretty much the same people and places in my home city for so many years. More than a year later of making that bold decision in November 2019, I know my internship experience allowed me that and so much more.
1. I did learn about the corporate world
One of the main reasons I chose to do an AIESEC internship is that I truly believe youth has a key role in changing the way companies operate. There are a lot of things we would like to transform in our world that big corporations can play a defining part in, and as youth, we need to take the responsibility for making it happen. But as the saying goes, “Don’t talk the talk unless you can walk the walk!”; first you got to understand how the business world spins before trying to turn it upside down.
My experience has granted me especially that. Unlike most internships, I was given real responsibilities to deal and be held accountable for from the start. It definitely gave me a sense of ownership towards my deliverables, as well as factual, experience-based knowledge on how HR is managed in the grown-up world.
One of the skills I’ve appreciated the most was the ability to “speak corporate”. I learned how to sell my ideas from an actual business implementation and improvement perspective, a crucial communication skill when working at a 2500+ people branch of an even larger company.
The lesson: if you want to make a change, you gotta have a clear why, with an even clearer implementation plan, timeline, responsibilities and success metrics to make it work.
2. I capitalized the opportunities given to me
You can choose to just do your daily work, or you can also look at the available openings to grow even more. A big company is a buzz of opportunities to learn and develop yourself, both personally and professionally; TCS provides access to a number of learning platforms, hard/soft skills training and even seasonal language courses, available to all associates.
I make the time at least once a month to attend internal training and learn new things, even if they are not directly related to my position, the field of studies or interests – I find there is always a valid personal output from each of them. I also relish with every chance I have to get to know HR roles and activities other than my own, and this allowed me to draw a better outline of my professional “likes” and “dislikes” for the future.
When you choose to look at your internship experience as more than just the straightway forward, you get more roads to discover. And there is always room to improve and grow.
3. I built a diverse network
More than 2500 associates, 98 nationalities and about 30 languages TCS currently supports in Hungary. Diversity is one of the strong suits I value the most in the company, and it sure gave me the chance to meet many different people, from a variety of age ranges, cultures and fields of study.
Getting in touch with diverse backgrounds enables you to understand different work realities and markets. It shows you all the numerous possibilities the world has to offer, in areas you didn’t even reckon existed; and helps you connecting the dots (and the people!) that set a much more defined path towards reaching your personal and professional goals.
I am a strong believer that diversity is key to enhance innovation in corporations, and every day I realize first-hand how it makes me see things from all sorts of unexpected points of view.
4. I kick-started an international career
About 80% of AIESEC interns get an employment offer within TCS after the end of their internship. This means 8 out of 10 interns apply and get an actual proposal to stay in the company as full-time employees.
Your AIESEC internship can represent the first milestone for the beginning of your career abroad.
Though I still have to go back home to complete my university studies, I close this experience with a lot more clarity of the opportunities I have waiting for me, out here in the big corporate world. I reached the understanding of what I actually want to work with, and the contributions I can and wish to make for our society. In quite the short period of time, I went from a lost university student with zero professional experience to truly paving the way towards the dreams and milestones I would like to cross on the next 1, 5 and 10 years ahead. And, in the process, I got to find myself.
My internship with AIESEC shaped the way I build my future from now on. I hope it can do the same for you.
This blog was written by Clara Suit Queiroz.
Clara Suit works as HR intern at Tata Consultancy Services and is currently finishing her studies in her hometown of Salvador, Brazil. Clara loves writing and one of her dreams is to become a professional freelance writer. The topics she enjoys the most are relationships, feminism, immigration and community development.