Update October 2018
For the past nine years I have been travelling twice a year to Southern Africa in my role as president of B360. On each trip, I usually visited two of our partner universities in Namibia, Zambia and South Africa. At the end of August this year, I once more headed South, a full program and a very tight schedule for my visits to Namibia and Zambia in my luggage.
A brief overview
The goal of my trip was to recruit seven students for B360 internships at Credit Suisse and Mediaschneider in Switzerland in the first semester of 2019. As you can see in the pictures shown below, staff members of the Namibia University of Science and Technology NUST and University of Zambia UNZA supported me with the selection of the best candidates. This is a complex process which involves the preliminary screening of applications, putting together a shortlist, interviewing the candidates on the shortlist (no less than 37 in total!) and conducting follow-up interviews (19 in total). Based on the interview results, recommendations are submitted to the partner companies in Switzerland and the final selection made.
Panel UNZA Economics
Panel NUST Management
It was a special pleasure that Mukuka Mulenga, the president of the Zambian B360 Intern Alumni could be on the panel for UNZA Economics students. Mukuka was an intern in 2014 at Credit Suisse. Since his return to Zambia and graduation, his career working for the Zambian Revenue Authorities has taken off.
Panel UNZA Media & Communication Studies
The successful seven - 'Spring Interns 2019'
Another important part of my visit consisted in meetings with the different departments at NUST and UNZA to plan our Southbound program for 2019. Matching schedules and topics and meeting special requests for the expert assignments from both sides, i.e. the B360 experts from the North coming South and the local lecturers in the South is quite a task. But meeting face to face regularly has proven very valuable.
Planning meeting with NUST Marketing and Logistics Department and B360 coordinator
B360 Intern Alumni
A very special and quite emotional topic on my agenda was a meeting with our former interns. This time, a dinner with the Zambia alumni was held in Lusaka. In addition, I was able to visit two of our alumni, Bupe Chitumbo and Mukuka Mulenga at work and spend a delightful evening with Mukuka and his family. It is very rewarding for our organization to see the careers of these young people developing in their home countries.
First Career Starter Workshop for unemployed NUST graduates
I was running this first one-week workshop as a pilot. Another first was having local industry representatives and an alumni member, Ndapwa Kwedhi, co-teach some of the modules and having a B360 expert and our B360 coordinator at NUST help run the interview training. Working with graduates and seeing them apply what they had learnt was wonderful. Including local industry representatives also worked beautifully and was very valuable for the graduates looking for a job. Growing the local industry network is one of our goals for the future.
On every trip I seem to have too little time and so my days and evenings are always very full. However, these trips are not only key to maintaining the quality of our work, they are also rewarding, inspiring and motivating.
Some of the highlights:
- The internship interviews and meeting many promising young Southern Africans.
- The professional collaboration and exchanges with local lecturers and industry representatives.
- Working with our NUST coordinator, Nico Smit, and B360 Intern Alumni members.
- Continuous learning about countries, cultures, new developments in Southern Africa, etc.
Also on this trip I again had the privilege of having so many special moments meeting new people, catching up with old friends and seeing how B360 is having an impact in a growing group of people’s lives. I could write a book on this trip alone (maybe I’ll do so one day!). For the time being, I try to capture faces, special moments, to document the work with the students, keeping up with the careers of our Intern Alumni members etc. with my film and photo camera!
And by the way: My next trip is scheduled for the end of February 2019 …. I’ll keep you posted.