Ace Career Days

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They say that success doesn’t come to you, you go to it. It might be true, but this year the International Faculty Association ACE decided to spare you the fatigue and bring to you the most well-known and prominent organisations and businesses, showcasing different jobs for the three departments within Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication. Every year the faculty association organises the ‘Career Days’ – a 3-day event in which the association brings students in contact with various companies and organisations and tries to broaden the students’ awareness of their future professional or academic careers, as well as broaden their knowledge about the various available companies, that could one day provide them with the job/internship of their dreams. Just in case you missed this amazing opportunity, here’s a short summary of this year’s ACE Career Days.

The official opening of the Career Days took place on Monday, 5th of January at restaurant Siena on campus, where Mr Fer de Jong Jongert (the developer of the concept Better Together) shared a few dos and don’ts when being interviewed by a potential employer. First of all, present your better self and stay strongly connected to yourself (by being confident and trusting yourself you will make the employer trust you as well). At the same time, avoid presenting yourself as the best catch the organisation needs – be courageous in telling the employer what your strengths and weaknesses are. Dress accordingly to the organisation you’re presenting to, and last but not least – have a good handshake.

Day one started with a few very interesting and helpful workshops. One of these was Job interview training and LinkedIn workshop – held by Mrs Masuma Shadid (LinkedIn Trainer and University Lecturer) who explained how to create a good online profile and make it your marketing document that will sell you. Here are some tips that Mrs Shadid shared with us:

  • Add a profile picture (profiles with profile pictures are viewed 20 times more).
  • Edit your headline by adding your location and/or the potential position you would be suitable for.
  • Have a creative summary – it will grab the attention of the reader and make him/her spend more time on your profile.
  • Mention your skills.
  • Connections. Make your network work for you.

Day two was all about companies operating in very diverse fields like ‘Abroad Internships’, a company which helps you land the best internship in not only Europe, but also in Australia or more exotic places like Hawaii; ‘Viacom’, the multinational media conglomerate which focuses mainly on cable television; ‘360 Magazine’, which filters the news from all over the world, giving the Dutch audience news not only from the inside but also from the outside; and ‘Nationaal archief’, the place where all the important information about the Dutch government is kept. In short, each of these companies gave a glimpse of what it would be like and what to expect if one were to work for them.

Whether your dream is to become a blogger, organise events or work in foreign affairs, day three and last day of Career Days might have touched upon all of these fields with organisations like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, organisations known for electronic music festivals like ID&T and FITGIRLCODE – a worldwide community of fit and healthy women who started as a small Instagram account. The successful event ended with a networking drink where students got to get in contact with all the present companies and organisations and express their interest in a possible future job position.

Despite the limited amount of tickets available, the interfaculty association and (most importantly) the Career Committee has done an amazing job in organizing such a useful and engaging event and I hope more people will have the chance (and desire) to attend next year’s ACE Career Days. Until then, do not forget to follow them on Facebook @careerdayserasmus and Instagram @acecareerdays to keep up to date on the upcoming in-house days.

Humans of IBCoM – Emina Mulagic

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Although the weather of Rotterdam grew more grueling to endure, I had the opportunity to interview the incredibly driven Emina Mulagic. She is a BA-2 IBCoM student who is awe-inspiring, with her participation in multiple associations and her passion for them.

 
“I’m chairman of the career committee in ACE, and was in a few committees last year. I think of it as a great opportunity, especially since Erasmus University has something for everyone. I know I tend to end up being very busy, but it isn’t something I mind. I think it goes hand in hand with the IBCoM programme, perhaps maybe not as much as the first year’s concentration on theories, but a lot of hands-on application from a lot of BA-2 courses.”

 
Emina joined ACE during Eurekaweek in her first year. “I thought it was normal here, to join a, or a bunch of, associations and organizations in the first year. I always tried to do a lot of things, and while I guess leadership can be considered a personality thing, and I do think that I have that personality aspect. But being a leader isn’t always about being very lenient or very strict – it is very much based the context and the situation you’re in as a leader. I loved my team for the Career Days, but I still knew I had to be clear with what I wanted. They were great at improvising when things weren’t going exactly as planned, but they let me be more of a central part – a facilitator if you will, rather than say a dictatorial leader. I gave roles out based on their personal abilities, but still listened to them when they gave me any input or feedback. I think that is what makes a good team, and a good leader.”

 
ACE’s Career Days, in Emina’s words, created “a bridge between academics (IBCoM) and career paths – including interns and possible jobs.” She strongly believes that students only gain, not lose, from these experiences. Her experience as a chairwoman taught her a lot of things about herself and about working in a team. “I think it was a success – we did get more people than last year, and you always strive to be better than last year. I think it was essentially perfect. We got a lot of speakers, but I wish we could’ve gotten more. It was just difficult because although we started in around November or December, the agendas were already written for most companies by then for the February period. I think the speakers were wonderful, very inspiring, and in choosing them we tried to cater to our audience. We had sent out a survey asking which speakers or companies people would want to see, or what advice they would need, and we based it on that.”

 
She also is a part of the Eastern European Association. “It is a fairly new association, and we work on integrating Eastern European students with, specifically, Dutch culture. As it is new, we get to implement a lot of innovative ideas. While it is a challenge, I love it because you learn a lot of things from each project, regardless of what position you are in. As the saying goes, you can only bend the steel while it is still hot.”

 
“In my free-time, and it doesn’t seem like I have very much, I like traveling – like many IBCoM students. I also love learning languages, at the moment I speak six, and strive to learn more. For my exchange destination, I am going to a small city in Spain, and will try to soak in the culture and better my Spanish – but one of my friend’s jokes that [because I like being busy] I will be mayor within a week!”

 
“I would just like to say that Erasmus University Rotterdam provides these opportunities to take even more out of your experience than just the academics – so grasp the opportunity when you can. It will only help you.”

Humans of IBCoM – Saaiqa’s Story

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For this week’s Humans of Ibcom I interviewed Saaiqa Merali. This is her story:

Saaiqa was born and raised in a town called Mwansa in Tanzania. “It’s just like the second city of Tanzania.” Until she turned 16, Saaiqa lived in Mwansa. Then, she had to move because there was no continuation in her school for the last two years of high-school. “So, I had to move to Kenya to finish high-school. It was kind of normal at that time, when you wanted to continue an international education. Pretty much half of my class moved away from home.”

After that she started her plans for university. “That was the next logical step [continuing high school] but I also wanted to go to university”. Saaiqa first went to Dubai, to study Psychology with Marketing. “Psychology was kind of a leap. I never studied that before, but I knew that I wanted to do marketing. So, I was thinking more [farther] along the line, like what would make me stand out. Being the best in your field and also make yourself different to all the other graduates [is important in Tanzania] because you have to work hard to get a job. As an attempt to do something different but something I liked, I did psychology with marketing”.

But when Saaiqa started it, she did not like it at all. “It’s not to say that psychology is a sh*t course. It is a good course. It just wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t stay engaged and I stopped going to class because I really couldn’t enjoy it at all. I  wasn’t enjoying myself.” By then, she decided to drop out and after she went home for the summer break, decided not to return. “[At] first my family wasn’t pleased because obviously I already did a year of school and it would all have been for nothing. I wasn’t able to carry my credits and that wasn’t great, either. As parents, they were a bit disappointed, but they were really supportive.” Her parents told her to find something she really liked and to stick to that. Saaiqa is very grateful for the support she received from her family and friends.

The next course she started was IBCoM. “I haven’t been in school since I dropped out in 2013,” she tells me. First, Saaiqa wanted to get straight back to school. For a year she was looking for different courses she could like and felt like she needed to get back. “[I felt like] I needed to get back to university. But somehow, I guess it was my mindset at that time, I just didn’t want to be back in school. So, I always found a problem. I was holding myself back but not admitting it.” Saaiqa decided to do some practical work before going back to university. “ I worked in two marketing jobs and I really enjoyed working [hands-on].”

Later, she did an internship at an events agency, and by then Saaiqa realized that was what she wanted to do. “I was kind of settled and knew that I want to do Media and Marketing and Events and just at the time I was realizing it, IBCoM came up on my computer and I thought it was amazing. Everything about this course seemed perfect. I just applied.” She also applied to many other programmes, but IBCoM was the first response she got back. Since IBCoM was her first choice, it seemed natural to stick with it.

Saaiqa told me that she is always getting two kinds of reactions: either people find her story super cool or super scary; the imagination that you fail and then lose four years of your life for some students is a real horror scenario. “But that’s okay. I’m happy when people ask me about it.”

Saaiqa´s advice to all students that think about dropping out is to talk about it. “I hadn’t talked to anybody about dropping out. I was scared because I did not want to seem like a failure and I had really low confidence and self-esteem.” She found excuses for everything and barely went to university. “I just called my mum once and she was like, “Oh, no.” I decided to do the second term but I barely went to class because I absolutely hated it. It can be scary if you´re about to drop out and don’t know what you´re going to do. It would be nice [for] people know that they’re not lost. You will be fine!”