News & Analysis

AIESEC encouraging tech startups to welcome international interns into their company

- March 11, 2014 3 MIN READ

In this new economy, business success is contingent upon the effective use of intangible assets such as knowledge and skills – but sometimes these assets cannot be accessed locally or have large overhead costs. As such, the world’s largest youth-led non-for-profit organisation, AIESEC is encouraging tech startups in their high-growth phase to welcome an international intern to work for them for a maximum of one year.

Startups are required to pay $2,000 worth of administration fees to AIESEC – which covers the intern’s visa, mobile phone requirements, and more. The intern will also need to be paid at least minimum wage ($35,000) upon arrival.

Why an international intern?

A key component of the knowledge-based economy is a greater reliance on intellectual capabilities than on physical inputs or natural resources; and the growth of this new economy is often seen a strategic response to countries like China and India investing heavily in knowledge.

Over the past two decades, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in international trade and investment flows, with many startups offshoring computer, consumer, financial, data-processing and business services. But the problem with outsourcing is that freelancers aren’t submerged into the company culture and therefore have little incentive to be proactive.

Nineteen-year old Cindy Huang, AIESEC’s Director of Business Development, says, “the key to ensuring Australia’s sustainability and viability in the global market is through the tech startup community.”

“I know that recruiting talent is quite challenging for a tech startup – due to limited resources. We want to fill in that talent capacity gap; and an international intern can come in with their skill-sets, passion and drive to contribute to the success of a startup.”

Perhaps the best part of recruiting an international intern is its ‘outsider looking in’ aspect. The interns are able to bring a diverse set of experiences and knowledge on how industries in different countries work – and therefore contribute to innovation in ways that local talent may have not previously considered.

“Bringing an international intern changes our personal mindset – because despite the fact that we’re a multicultural nation, we all essentially came through the same channel. Interns can bring a fresh perspective and help everyone around them embrace a new way of thinking,” says Huang.

She adds that the interns are graduates from some of the top universities around the world and have at least two years of experience in the industry they work in.

“It’s less about pay and more about experience for these graduates. They know they have limited time here in Australia and they really want to make the most of it,” says Huang.

“They want to leave a legacy in that company, and they’re willing to contribute beyond their job description. It’s just a bonus for startups that they are willing to work for a lot less than graduates in Australia.”

The end-goal for AIESEC is to facilitate youth leadership, and ensure that they have responsible entrepreneurial leaders for the future.

“We believe this can developed best and most powerfully through exchange; by going outside your comfort zone,” says Huang.

The recruitment process

AIESEC ensures minimal work is done on behalf of startups.

At any given time, there are approximately 5,000 candidates from over 120 countries around the world. Depending on the needs of the startup, AIESEC will screen these candidates and shortlist five that are most suitable.

If the startup isn’t happy with those five candidates, AIESEC will repeat the process for a maximum of three times.

The startup will need to have an office and provide a good learning environment – as the interns are expecting to experience an entirely new business environment.

“We truly believe we’re an end-to-end solution. We will be there to make sure startups and interns get the experience we promised from the beginning right until the very end. Ideally for us, it never ends. For us, it’s a relationship we want to maintain long-term,” says Huang.

For more information, visit www.aiesecaustralia.org.