Taking the Lead

As a Tech student, it is sometimes difficult to find a way to stand out. However, Tiffany Curtiss, a fifth-year MGT major, has done just that by being recently elected to the position of President of AIESEC United States.

Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (AIESEC), which is the largest non-profit student organization, allows its members to discover and develop their professional and leadership potential in an effort to have a positive impact on today’s increasingly global society.

Three and a half years ago, Curtiss decided she wanted to join AIESEC only to discover that an AIESEC branch did not exist at Georgia Tech. Curtiss, who had previous experience with starting non-profit organizations in high school, saw this as an opportunity and decided to create a new chapter of AIESEC.

“I thought it was a great chance to gain experience and be a part of an organization related to business,” Curtiss said. In order to start the Tech AIESEC committee, Curtiss worked on organizing the chapter during the day while taking classes at night.

As a result, Curtiss has gained many valuable experiences as she was given the opportunity to travel to such places as Turkey, India, Germany and Kenya while participating in internships related to such topics as microfinance.

Such experiences allowed Curtiss to further develop her leadership and professional skills; however, as a MGT major, it was the business aspect of AIESEC that originally appealed to Curtiss.

“It is a business,” Curtiss said. “And the product is global talent sourcing.”

Through AIESEC’s exchange program, Curtiss explained, over 4,000 students are paired with international companies that have available internships in which students may participate.

Many of these students are from the best universities in the world and underwent a selective application process in order to become members.

Companies around the world pay AIESEC to find within this pool of students the ones that have the appropriate talent, education, and leadership skills to be productive employees. It is to such a purpose, among others, such as the promotion of peace and globalization, that Curtiss has dedicated her time and efforts.

This winter, Curtiss applied to be the national President of AIESEC United States and was elected. As president, Curtiss will oversee national operations from AIESEC’s headquarters in New York, where she will move after graduating this May.

Her main duties involve managing, training and supporting the other committees around the U.S., as well as dealing with the legal and financial obligations associated with running an organization.

One of her main goals for her term will be to improve the training and support of the 29 other U.S. branches in order to increase student exchange on the local level; that is, sending more students to other countries and bringing more in.

However, she also hopes to expand the number of committees in the U.S. in an effort to reach more students, universities, and cities. She will also have to make sure that quality standards are in place in the recruitment process.

According to Curtiss, such standards ensure that “the right students and the best students are chosen and that good, quality jobs are available for people entering the States.” Curtiss hopes to improve international students’ reception to the U.S. in order to break down some of the stereotypes surrounding the United States.

According to Curtiss, AIESEC originated shortly after World War II, when youth in five European countries, particularly France and Germany, decided it was up to them to overcome prejudice, rebuild their nations and reestablish peace.

The youth would hold meetings with one another in order to become more familiar with different cultures and ideas, but it was soon realized that it wasn’t enough to just know someone from another culture. In addition to an education, early members of AIESEC realized that professional experiences would be necessary in order to continue to bolster improved international relations.

Today, AIESEC has become the only student organization recognized by the United Nations. It attempts to incorporate experience and immersion in another culture with professional experience and education in order to create more open-minded, global citizens.