Last Updated on March 3, 2020 by AIFS Abroad
Applications are currently open for the 18-19 Alumni Ambassador program! We asked former Ambassadors who are now in their careers to highlight some of the biggest takeaways from their time in the program. Below are their top five skills developed and experiences gained.
1. Polished Elevator Pitch
From the moment you are invited to interview with the Alumni Team, we help you to develop your elevator pitch, which can be used in networking activities and for the prompt to “Tell us a little bit about yourself…” that is common practice in job interviews.
“One of the best skills that has helped me with my current job (my first job out of college) is my ability to do an elevator pitch. Not only were they impressed in my interview but when I went to a conference on my second day, I was able to listen and pick up what I needed to know in order to give an elevator pitch about the company. The company is an IT consulting firm and can get pretty techy and complicated, my boss was very impressed. (Especially because I’m with the marketing team not the consulting team!)” – Emily, Alumni Ambassador 2016-17
2. Time Management
As an Ambassador, you are committing to 80 hours of outreach over the course of the school year. Being able to put together a plan of action and see it to completion is excellent practice for the professional working world.
“I don’t think I realized it until afterwards, but learning to manage my “active working time” is different than simply planning the time I potentially would spend doing an activity. With the ambassador program, logging the hours for activities on and off campus prepped me for how to manage and plan passive and active working hours.” – Kara, Alumni Ambassador 2015-16
“It has already been two years since I participated in the AIFS Ambassador program, and I still sense the learning and experience I gained throughout as I have begun my full-time career. As a member of the program, you are given a remarkable opportunity to advance your personal and professional development. You are provided the foundation to excel, and it is up to you to make the program a worthwhile experience. This program was the first experience I had where there was no clocking in, with a manager looking over my shoulder. As an ambassador, you choose when and how to put in the time to show your school the amazing benefits of an international education. While I now work in finance, and couldn’t be further separated from the international education field, I have found that this experience is extremely similar to the work I do now. I am given the opportunity to succeed, and it is my choice to utilize that opportunity to develop myself and excel in my field, or it is my option to waste it and not better myself. I can whole-heartedly say that I have the Ambassador program to thank for preparing me to grasp and succeed at any and all opportunities, regardless of current or future career paths.” – Nathan, Alumni Ambassador 2015-16
3. Communication Skills
Opportunities abound for Ambassadors to share their experience in-person and online. Each Ambassador is asked to create a video, blog post and write reviews about their experience. In addition to helping at the study abroad fair, participants often have opportunities to present to organizations and in classes to their peers as well as have 1:1 conversations with interested students.
“I developed a sense of confidence when speaking in front of people. Before the program, I used to dread speaking in front of a crowd. Now, I am comfortable with public speaking and am not afraid of making mistakes in front of people. I am definitely more driven to try things even if they don’t work out.” – Jourdan, Alumni Ambassador 2016-17
4. Interview Prep
Each month, Ambassadors attend a professional development call that focuses on different aspects of the job search process, including how to craft cover letters, ways to ace the interview and how to negotiate your first year in the job.
“I’ve found much more confidence in interviewing due to the little parts of preparation. Learning how to talk about my qualifications professionally and personally gave me a better insight of how to apply it to the position that I’ve applied for. Most interviewees are already curious about my time abroad and then very curious about what I actively did to market, sell and develop the study abroad experience at my school. Those three fundamental parts of business, applied through the ambassador program, gave me more opportunities to talk about my activities when I didn’t have work experience to the exact job description. It kind of gave a different angle to questions that the hiring managers would ask.” – Kara, Alumni Ambassador 2015-16
5. Stronger Resume and LinkedIn
In addition to receiving a $500 travel voucher for their efforts, Ambassadors meet 1:1 with the Alumni Team to review their resume and LinkedIn site, in order to gain confidence in applying to professional positions. The Alumni Team provides resources throughout the year to increase success in applying through applicant tracking systems, which are popular with Fortune 500 companies and are being used by HR departments to screen and select applicants.
“I learned my resume [before completing the program] would not get me hired. I really appreciated the professional development skills gained from this program. I’m always working on my resume, but now it looks better than ever.” – Christina, Alumni Ambassador 2016-17
“This program has made me a much more confident person and has inspired me to go outside of my comfort zone. I didn’t really know how I could market my experience besides saying, “It was amazing!” and this program really helped me unpack it to relate it to future goals.” – Jourdan, Alumni Ambassador 2016-17
Applications for the 2018-19 academic year are open until May 15. If you’re interested in promoting study abroad on campus and learning how to market your international experience professionally, click here to learn more and apply to be an Ambassador.