WHILE most of their peers were taking a break from university during the month-long semester holidays, 550 Aiesec members used this time to get together and learn the inner workings of the business world.

The “Youth to Business” forum was part of Aiesec’s week-long annual national conference, held this year at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi, Selangor.
Aiesec, an international student organisation for youth leadership that is present in 12 public and private universities in Malaysia, regularly organises leadership and development workshops for its members.

Many of the attendees were neither business nor economics students, instead, the majority were made up of science and education majors.

Sessions focused on challenging students to think of creative ways they would function in organisations like Nippon Paint, Accenture Consulting, ING Insurance and Naga DDB public relations, all of which sent representatives to head the sessions.

For most of the “Aiesec-ers”, this was their first time dealing with business modules and CSR (corporate social responsibility) project ideas, and with many of the delegates being in their first or second year at university, it gave them a chance to break out of lab work, studying and lectures.

Kavidha Natarajan, a student in biomedical science at Taylor’s University, found the session with Accenture both eye-opening and challenging.

Kavidha Natarajan, a student in biomedical science, found the forum both eye-opening and challenging.

“We were tasked to pitch a solution for a telco company looking to start new mobile TV project. Once we had outlined what we wanted to do, we had to come up with the framework for it and figure out how feasible the project would be.

It’s not as easy as you would think. Everything from communicating effectively to critical thinking and dissecting every single detail was pretty new to me.

“It was a valuable experience because how often do you get to learn straight from industry experts? The energy levels of all the delegates was also very inspiring,” explained Kavidha, 23.

Ashilla Sabin, a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) student at Universiti Malaya, thought the brainstorming session was a great way to encourage students to think differently.

“It felt like we were all colleagues working towards a common goal, everyone was treated equally,” said Ashilla, 23. “I’m in education, so I do a lot of presentations but nothing quite like this. Dissecting a case study and coming up with ideas for a project made me feel like I was going back to level ‘zero’, as this was all very new to me.”

Student Ashilla Sabin, 23, said she learned a lot about business at the Aiesec Youth Business Forum last week.

Even though the brainstorming session and presentation time only amounted to a little over three hours, Ashilla felt like she had learned a lot in that short time.
“I now have an idea about economics and business, coming to this forum has shed some light on the subjects,” she said.

Engineering student Foo Jiong Kit, 24, helped facilitate the ING Insurance workshop, which challenged students to come up with corporate social responsibility or CSR programmes for families with single parents and the unemployed.

Engineering student Foo Jiong Kit, 24, helped facilitate the ING Insurance workshop

Having been in Aiesec for four years now, Jiong Kit hopes the society will continue to grow as it is a good platform for students to get involved in leadership, community service and to develop themselves in many areas.

“The activities and programmes in Aiesec are quite diverse, there is something for everyone, whether your calling is in community service, talent management, leadership and so on,” he said. “Each programme aims at helping members develop skills in these areas and many more.”

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