Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Place where I belong

As an army kid, growing up involved lots of moving around the country, where I spent a large part of my childhood in the North of India. My dad's retirement from the services bought me to Secunderabad in the beginning of the new millennium and very honestly, I felt like a fish out of water. And the new college didn't help things either. After 7 years of not fitting in, the year 2007 came as a breath of fresh air.

A friend of mine spoke to me of AIESEC, and back then I knew nothing about it. But my gut told me I was in for something special, something I would cherish for the rest of my life. After getting through the recruitment process I was put into Out-Going Exchange department as a member, and learnt the basics of providing the AIESEC experience, and how everything in AIESEC revolves around it.

What followed my membership experience was my first National Conference, June National Conference 2007, Agra. As an onsite Organizing Committee member, and as runner to the Member Committee President back then, I had what was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. As I received kudos for my work as a runner, I learnt what it was to be a part of AIESEC in India, to think, live and dream nationally, as I watched AIESEC in India and the Member Committee (MC) together for the first time in my life.

My first Middle Level Management (known as Management Board at that time) application was to the position of Information Systems, and I took on the post, as a part of which I was responsible for branding AIESEC Hyderabad globally and set the platform for my global network and designed the Knowledge Management policy for AIESEC Hyderabad that year. And for someone who didn't know what Knowledge Management was back then, designing the policy was a great learning experience.

During my Information Systems term I applied for MC work days, a period where I got to work in close quarters with the Member Committee, in Mumbai, and was responsible for handling clients like Satyam and Tata Consultancy Services.

During such a close association with the Member Committee I had one of my greatest learning experiences and my work with them earned me a call from the MC to be a part of the National Stakeholders Dinner, a platform for me to showcase my work and interact with industry bigwigs. For a 19 year old to have dinner with the National board and other dignitaries easily showcases the unlimited opportunities a platform like AIESEC has to offer.

The month of December signified something special in what was to come in my AIESEC career. The applications for the Executive Board (EB) of AIESEC in Hyderabad opened up and I applied for the positions of Outgoing Exchange (OGX) and Communications and Information Management (CIM). And contrary to my expectations, I made it to the EB. On a freezing December night, with the whole Local Committee looking at you under the bright winter sky, the moment could only be described as 'heavenly'. What followed was Natcong 2008, my first national conference as an EB member that year, and an occasion to bond with my and other executive boards of AIESEC in India.

My term as VP University Sector gave me a good perspective of the market in India and abroad, about the people that AIESEC delivers the international experience to and what the word 'globalization' really means now- A situation where everyone works everywhere; in a world without boundaries. During my term I honed the art of selling the great AIESEC experience to people needing an international experience. But my biggest learning was leading a department, motivating members, working alongside them, and making them believe in what we, as a global organization stand for. During all this I learnt what it was like to bond with a department, and found one of my best friends in my fellow Vice president, together when we for the first time, achieved our goal to be the best.

After almost a year of working with sending people on international experiences, I got my first International experience in the form of a facilitator for Organizing Committee Presidents in Serbia and Montenegro. Natco92, Kladovo. As facilitator my work involved teaching them about project management and the idea of exchange around a project. My international experience involved learning about how another AIESEC country does its exchange, functions at the Member committee level and most of all how Europeans perceive the AIESEC experience. If a national conference taught me to think in terms of AIESEC in India, Natco92 taught me to think in terms of AIESEC globally.

My experiences in AIESEC so far were inspiring enough to fuel me for a longer stay in the organization, as I applied again for the executive body, AIESEC in Hyderabad 2009. My experiences with AIESEC till date fuelled my desire for taking the leap one more time, the pressure, the drive and the striving for excellence that makes the AIESEC Hyderabad EB what it is, was something to live and breathe for.

As VP University Sector this year, my profile involved working with more experienced people, people with professional experience and selling them the idea of an international experience through an internship. Delivering them the AIESEC International experience was as fulfilling as it was the first time around.

The most fulfilling of my AIESEC experiences was my second international one, this time around for a whole month, November 2009 in Germany. It was a very close interaction and my work this time entailed promoting Indian professional talent in Germany, creating more opportunities for Indians there by interacting and selling the AIESEC experience to German professional organizations. It also involved teaching AIESEC members in Germany the Indian way of doing things, and learning from them the German way. My stay there involved lots of travelling, and one of the most memorable experiences of my life was to see the people I met way back in 2007 in India, now in Germany. AIESEC truly makes the globe your playground.

It is through AIESEC that I experienced things most people my age could only dream about and truly understood that despite all our diversities our world is indeed very small. In my international experiences I found friends and lessons that make me who I am, a young man who has seen what the world has to offer. AIESEC gives you loads of opportunities where you can discover yourself and the best in you. In AIESEC and in AIESEC in Hyderabad specifically I truly found a second home and family. In AIESEC Hyderabad I found a dream for myself, the dream to be the best I can, and to bring out the best in those who work with me. My experience with my Local Committee was truly like that of a 'family' as I know we all share one common invaluable experience, the AIESEC Experience.

Hari Lahari
Vice President, Outgoing eXchange
AIESEC Hyderabad


  1. Thank you Hari. You have spoken...we have maganed to get YOU to do that. Thank you :)

  2. badhiya hai...well put down, and very inspiring for the present generation of @ers as well... :-)

  3. Very nice hari....your experience is a lot to read and ponder about