Selma Idic - You Will Never Know if You Don’t Try, and There Is No Excuse for You to Be Anything Less Than Great (President of AIESEC, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

A motivated young professional interested and experienced in marketing and leadership. Member of AIESEC for close to 4 years, currently the President of AIESEC in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

1. Please tell us about your background and journey.

I can’t say with certainty that I’ve had a journey where I immediately knew what I wanted to do, everything I have done and continue to do is an exploration of things that spark an interest in me at a certain point.

I received a BA in English Language and Literature but throughout my experience in AIESEC I developed an interest in marketing and sales so I slowly transitioned into it and am currently getting an MA in Marketing Management. I was even lucky enough to get a job in digital marketing recently.

Aside from that, I have been in AIESEC for 3.5 years and am currently the President of AIESEC in B&H.

2. When did you decide that you want to join AIESEC?

It was late in 2016. I didn’t decide I want to join AIESEC right away, but I did decide to join an NGO. I applied for the European Youth Parliament initially, but sadly I was not accepted. However, I knew that some of my friends were AIESEC members so I started asking around about the organization and in 2017 I decided to apply and I was later accepted. 

At first, it was the strangest thing ever, I had a feeling like I invaded someone’s personal bubble where everyone felt comfortable and everybody knew what was going on and how to behave, except for me. AIESEC has its own culture and it is so strange when you look at it from an outside view therefore it took me some time to adjust to it when I first joined. 

But I was lucky to experience all the benefits and the wonderful things AIESEC has to offer very early. The fact that I had responsibilities that contributed to the success of the entire organization, as well as the opportunity to meet new people from all over the world was so exciting. I realized that AIESEC really is a place where I can grow and develop myself the way I always wanted to, and there was no reason for me to question my decision afterwards.

3. What challenges did you face from your member term to you handling the current position as the MCP?

Throughout my entire experience in AIESEC we have faced many challenges and difficulties. The first leadership position I had was cut short because we were forced to change our entity’s structure completely due to previous mistakes, and unfortunately, there was no place for the things that were my responsibility. Right after we cleaned up that mess and started getting on our feet, we were struck by the global pandemic which pretty much prevented us from doing what we had planned.

But that does not mean that I did not enjoy doing what I had to do. I was lucky enough to become the Local Committee President in Sarajevo but it was unlike anything I had ever done before. I knew how to lead teams of people and execute day-to-day tasks, but I have never had the opportunity to lead an entire LC with 40+ people in it. It was exciting and stressful at the same time. 

I always saw myself as the person that was responsible for my members’ experience in AIESEC. Sure, I wanted them to have fun and enjoy it, but I also wanted them to work and show dedication to the organization. It was a challenge to balance those two things and to make sure they had enough energy and commitment towards progressing even further. 

Nevertheless, I think it was a success since many of them actually applied for leadership positions after a few months in the organization. I think the challenges we faced not only helped me understand how to cope with uncertainty and difficulties, but I also made some great friends along the way and I would not trade my experiences for anything else.

4. What advice do you have for every single AIESECer that is in his member term and wants to apply for leadership roles?

I say go for it! A lot of people I have met in AIESEC have such incredible ideas and so much potential, and a lot of them actually joined AIESEC to develop themselves. I think a lot of people start second guessing themselves when the time to apply actually arrives, which is completely normal. But the great thing about AIESEC is that you always have some kind of support, whether it is from your team, or the people above who instruct you, so there is really no reason to be intimidated by the position. Aside from that, you will never know if you don’t try, and there is no excuse for you to be anything less than great!

5. How do you balance your regular work/tasks in line with AIESEC's work?

I have been in AIESEC for such a long time that now I try to organize everything around my tasks in the organization. This sounds a bit unusual when taking into account that I have a full time job and am also finishing university. 

It can be difficult at times, and there were situations where all of it seemed so overwhelming. I always tried to plan everything in advance, but if the past year has taught us anything it is that sometimes plans are useless if you do not know how to manage unpredictable situations. 

I try to organize my priorities as things come along of course, sometimes one thing is more important than the other and I try to adjust to it as much as I can.

6. With almost so many years of AIESEC aiming to complete UN's Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, with the current economic crisis and people fearing to do exchanges due to Covid, exchanges being the core part of AIESEC, do you think AIESEC is still relevant in today's time?

Of course! I think it is just a matter of perspective. AIESEC’s main purpose is to develop leadership. At the moment, we cannot do it the way we are used to, but we had plenty of time to really think about what AIESEC can do in a situation like this. The people in the organization are not the ones who will just sit around and wait for this to pass, we do not like being passive. 

AIESEC develops leaders that can show resilience in the face of challenges, and who can remain positive and move forward through uncertainty, among other things. This is also not the first difficulty AIESEC has faced during its many years of existence. We actually believe that people will be eager to travel once the situation stabilizes and we are still planning to continue doing exchanges once it becomes safe, but I guess first we had to learn how to navigate and remain optimistic during one of the greatest challenges of our lives. It is, after all, what separates AIESECers from the rest.

7. Lastly, as the MCP, How do you think will AIESEC be in the year 2030?

I believe that it will be bigger and better than it was. I like to think that we will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and truly make a difference and make this world a better place. I am hopeful that we will be able to engage even more young people and help them develop themselves and their communities. As long as there are ambitious young people who care about this world, AIESEC will continue to grow, inspire, and change lives.

- Interviewed by - Nishad Kinhikar 

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