Soft Skills Predicts the Effectiveness of a Perceived Internship Big Time

An academic internship is a fundamental part of any management education program. It is an opportunity to connect the work-related experience into graduate education by participating in scheduled and supervised work. The temporary assignment of a project at the worksite is a window to the real world of work. And it is an important opportunity to sharpen the soft skills required for goal attainment and organizational success.

No one can underestimate the role of soft skills in the success of an intern. While hiring management graduates, organizations look for the three most desirable skills: communication skills, interpersonal skills, and initiative skills. Thus, soft skills are as important as domain knowledge and conceptual understanding.

Soft skills are a combination of interpersonal and personality traits that enhance an individual’s interactions with people, job performance, and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, soft skills are interpersonal and broadly applicable.

Soft skills – attitudes and behaviours displayed in interactions among individuals that affect the outcomes of various interpersonal encounters – Muir. 

3 Major soft skills to Shine at work

1. Communication Skills

Why you need it: Both written and verbal communication skills are of utmost importance in the workplace because they set the tone for how people perceive you. They also improve your chances of building relationships with co-workers. Communication skills boost your performance because they help you to extract clear expectations from your manager.

Why employers look for it: Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their peers. If you can clearly express the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a project, you’ll be a hot ticket.

How to gain it: One way to hone your communication and presentation skills is to join Toastmasters, a national organization that offers public speaking workshops.

2. Interpersonal skills

Why you need it: Most of what we do in life requires interaction with other people.  In order to be successful in your internship, it’s critical to be good at getting along with others.  While we consider that the interpersonal skills come naturally, the truth is that you can learn them.

Why employers look for it: When hiring, interpersonal skills are generally one of the top criteria used by employers when trying to assess candidates. This is because, for the majority of jobs, you need to have a good working relationship.

How to gain it: Ways to sharpen your interpersonal skills are cultivating a positive outlook, controlling your emotions, acknowledging others’ expertise, showing a real interest in your colleagues, practicing active listening, being assertive, practicing empathy, and maintaining your relationships.

3. Initiative skills

Why you need it: Using your initiative makes you a desirable candidate for opportunities as you are showing you can think for yourself, as well as proving that you will continue to develop and grow in your role. The Initiative will allow you to get ahead of the competition. And it will ensure you’re up to date with what’s going on in your career sector.

Why employers look for it: Initiative has become increasingly important in today’s workplace. Employers in every area of business want to hire people who look for instant solutions. In short, it can set you up for future success in the workforce.

How to gain it: Initiative requires lateral thinking, confidence, and know-how. It’s not about stubborn determination. The Initiative comes naturally if you have an interest in something and you trust your knowledge of that subject. Try to take the initiative in your career life by looking for new chances.

For almost 70 years, since it was founded after World War II, AIESEC has been giving students the chance of developing their skills and shaping their personalities in order to become the leaders the world needs. This has been possible by keeping a permanent connection with AIESEC members worldwide, creating a network of communication and mutual help that goes beyond the cultural borders. AIESEC offers students and recent graduates the opportunity to learn and develop soft skills abroad through its internship programs in startups and companies.

Sign up today at aiesec.lk to live a  cross-cultural experience and learn by doing in an international environment.


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Effective Communication – The Building Block of Organizational Goals

Have you ever wondered why almost all job listings in any field require effective communication skills? Effective communication is crucial, as without it organizations will not be able to succeed and may even cease to function. In other words, communication acts as organizational blood.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership” – James Humes

National Showcasing Team of AIESEC in Sri Lanka presented the 6th episode of podcast series, “LeadershipIsAlsoAbout” on “The Importance of Effective communication to achieve Organizational Goals” with Mr. Pasindhu Mendis, the Member Committee Vice President for People Management, AIESEC Sri Lanka 18.19 as the guest speaker and Mr. Disnaka Ranasinghe, the Member Committee Vice President-Elect for Talent Management and Organizational Development, AIESEC Sri Lanka 20.21 as the moderator.


Mr Disnaka Ranasinghe, the Member Committee Vice President-Elect for Talent Management and Organizational Development, AIESEC Sri Lanka 20.21

What is leadership?

 If you Google the word leadership you can get about 479,000,000 results. Each definition is as unique as an individual leader. It’s a difficult concept to define, perhaps because it means so many things to different people. AIESEC is an international organization, it’s all about leadership development. Being an AIESECer for the past five years, Mr. Pasindhu Mendis chose the ones that fit best for him.

When the trust account is high,

A leader is someone who takes initiative and trusts the people he works with for them to work efficiently and independently. If you trust your team, you’ll back them up on their journey and take pride in their successes. A leader needs to know about his team members. Why should you take the time to get to know your followers on a more personal level? While you help them to achieve their personal development, they will take on the organizational goals as well.

Spread positivity

A leader should maintain a positive attitude towards everything and anything you face during your leadership journey. For example, AIESEC as a non-profit organization, it faces a lot of peaks and valleys. So you should be optimistic and energetic equally in every situation so that your followers take that positive energy from you. A leader should always try to praise his followers without making judgments about them. It gives people the drive and motivation to continue doing the calibre of work you want to see.

Guest Speaker

Mr Pasindhu Mendis, the Member Committee Vice President for People Management, AIESEC Sri Lanka 18.19

A leader is one who shows the way

Leadership definition captures the essentials of being able and prepared to inspire others. There may be a person who inspired you as a child, the kind of person you want to become when you grow up. Some leaders are inspired by real people they have met. They may be members of their own families or teachers or professors with whom they were able to study. It may be someone who hired you or supervised you or the first person who told you they saw your potential. Mr. Pasindhu Mendis gave a different, but insightful answer. “ Every person I met until today inspired me to become a good leader”

What is effective communication?

Communication is one of the major concerns when considering the long-term success of an organization and there are characteristics that you align with effective communication. If you are communicating with somebody, there are few facts to keep in your mind because people that you are talking with perceive what you are talking differently.

Confidence, Clarity & Empathy

Approaching somebody with confidence is an important life skill. Being assertive in conversation with others helps stand up for yourself and your values. Secondly, he talked about the effort to clarify. The clearer your message, the easier it gets for the receiver to decode it according to your original intent. And great leaders have empathy for others. They drop all of the complexity in leadership and talk with his followers going down to their level so that he understand everything what is said and what isn’t said. The next thing he discussed was the importance of being an active listener, especially in one to one communication. 

” We never listen when we are eager to speak” – Francois de la Rochefoucauld 

An active listener always helps in giving advice, solutions to the people whom he is talking with. If you want to build an effective brand, you’ll need to show a confident personality in your opinions and points. Your Body language is one of the most critical aspects of your brand. People subconsciously use your body language as a roadmap to discover your intention and credibility.

Further, Mr Pasindhu Mendis shared the biggest challenge he had to overcome while establishing an effective communication process so that every member of the organization feel connected to a common goal. Not everyone can behave the same in listening, understanding, and perceiving . As a solution for this, he found that only by having individual conversations with people, a leader can understand them. So Investing your time in people is not a waste.

Communication is your ticket to success

Effective communication is a building block of a successful organization. Mr. Pasindhu Mendis defined the connection exists between effective communication & successful achieving of organizational goals. Effective communication in an organization can have a positive effect on the performance of people by increasing people’s morale, retention rate, and the overall productivity of the working environment. Further, he pointed out the importance of having a properly defined goal and specific measurements to realize a specific goal taking an example related to his personal life.

Effective communication strategies

There are effective communication strategies that can be used to establish a better communication network in an organization while establishing the productivity of the members. There should be a personal development plan for a leader. Having a personal development plan enables him to grow professionally and develop the organization. Know your audience. Customizing how and what you communicate based on your audience is an important part of effective communication. It is your job to understand who needs to know what. Employ multiple channels to transfer messages. A highly effective channel to transfer messages is one-to-one conversations. At the same time, 2-way conversation helps to solve problems better.

Where there’s a collection of criticism

Mr Pasindhu Mendis, as a former Member Committee Vice President for people management of one of the largest youth-run organization of the island, discussed a situation he managed where there were conflicting ideas of criticism. If everyone in your team was exactly like you, things would be a whole lot easier. But something to someone is something else to someone else. So there might always be a collection of criticism when handling a set of people. The key is to consider the criticism rationally not emotionally. Show you are willing to listen, and hopefully, he will do the same. Finally, add your thoughts, and decide if you agree with the criticism. If you need to apologize, do so.

Effective communication serves as a foundation for planning

There must be a proper plan to realize your goal and cross off each one as you work through them. All the essential information must be communicated to the managers who in-turn must communicate the plans to implement them. There are many ways of meeting these goals and communication plays an integral part in doing so. In business and Industry, communication helps to align workers to work with one another and to achieve the objective of the organization, which means objectives, can be in the target, attained and improved. Without organizational communication, nothing can be done.

“Raise this beautiful gift – Voice. Don’t waste it. When you share your story with someone else, they become a part of your journey”

Mr Pasindhu Mendis, one of the great leadership personalities terminated his story revealing his AIESEC journey. 


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Undergraduates in Sri Lanka-Working a Part-Time Job

Why do you need more money while studying? I don’t think that I’ll have to explain the reason behind it because isn’t that obvious? More money means living a great life. Doing a job can get you some income to survive or get some extra pocket money without depending on your parents. I remember walking for more than 2 km some days just to save a couple of rupees. I don’t ever take a Tuk-Tuk back then because I feel that it is a waste of money. Times are even harder for other Sri Lankan undergraduates too now because the living expenses are higher than before.

Research has shown that those undergraduates who work while studying tend to understand and grasp their studies much better than those who are not on job. They understand the nature of business and get practical learning about how things are done. For example, if a student is studying telecommunications and works at a call center he will understand each and everything much better. In Sri Lankan Universities part-time jobs are not promoted. However here are some huge benefits of taking a part-time job.

Here’s why you should consider taking on part-time work.

Taking up a part-time job is much better than being unemployed. It’s similar to the saying “Something is better than nothing”. What better reason is there to get a part-time job than earning some extra cash? You feel better when you have cash flow. You no longer have to worry about being able to afford the essentials or relying on your parents or student funding to get by. As a result, you gain independence. You will be less reliant on those around you, and you will learn how to fend for yourself. Furthermore, for a few students, part-time jobs are very helpful, be it for paying the tuition fee, academic fees, or as an extra allowance. And you learn to handle your financials carefully. You tend to become more cautious about how you spend your hard-earned cash.

The main differences between full-time work and part-time work lie in the number of hours spent at work, and the amount of responsibility placed on the employee. So flexibility is another big advantage of part-time jobs. You still have time to attend university and spend a lot of time with friends. Those working less than half a day have the choice to work mornings, afternoons or evenings in establishments with longer hours.

You develop interpersonal skills. As well as confidence, student employment provides you with an opportunity to learn how to interact with different personalities – an essential skill in all types of jobs. Part-time jobs have the potential to lead to great things. If you know how to choose your job well, you’ll be able to improve your skills and expertise in the field that you want. Moreover, a lot of new opportunities will pop up. The following are some part-time jobs in Sri Lanka that students can work while studying in university.

13 money-making ideas for Sri Lankan undergraduates.


Undergraduates | Working on Part-Time Jobs as Web designers, Editors, computer programmers , graphic designers or content writers

1. Freelancing

You probably have some skills eg. Web designing, editing, copywriting, computer programming, graphic design, or writing skills. Then you can find some freelance gigs or you can use your skills and talents to build a business of your own, as a freelancer. Fiverr and Upwork are massive marketplaces for all types of freelance work.

2. Website designing and developing

Creating websites has never been easier. There are so many platforms like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace that you can use easily to create a website without any technical knowledge. But you should be knowledgeable enough to find potential clients.

3. Starting a blog

If you have a passion that you want to share with the world, a blog can be a great outlet for your work. Once you start writing some great content, you will eventually find ways to monetize your blog.

4. Design work

If you are knowledgeable enough in Photoshop and other print design software you can work on designing various advertising materials.

5. T-shirt Printing

We all need customized t-shirts when we’re in university. You can start a small t-shirt company. You don’t have to have an “actual” company. All you need is to find some t-shirts manufacturers and get their prices.

6. Digital Marketing

If you’re good with your social media, email marketing and maybe a little bit of SEO(Search Engine Optimization) you can become a digital marketer too. Then you can find some local shops and entrepreneurs and provide your services to them.

7. Resume writing services

Most students are supposed to work when they are in their 3rd and final years. So obviously they need CVs to send for companies. You can start a CV writing service for students who are in need. Put out some flyers around the university to find your first client.

8. Photography

Photography as a Part-Time Job

Though you may be part-time, your persona needs to be that of a full-time photographer.

If you are good with your camera then you can start your own photography business. Then becoming a photographer is not that difficult. There are so many online magazines that are covering various things around the country. You can even cover events in your university as a beginning.

9. Tutoring

This is a no-brainer and very common among undergraduates. Start teaching what you’re learning or anything else (like playing the guitar and even chess) to students who are in need. Many popular tuition teachers start their careers while studying at university. Undergraduates do A/L, O/L or even classes for school children.

10. Data Entry Operator

These jobs have easy working hours, sometimes you can do these at your home using your computer.

11. Research Assistant

Gain experience in your field of interest by working as a Research Assistant for one of your lecturers or professors in your department/campus.

12. Restaurant jobs – Waiter staff

You can work in large Hotels and places like MacDonald’s Pizza Hut, KFC. You can earn money and have free meals also. Well, that’s about it. There are so many other ways of making money while studying.

Staring a You Tube Channel as a part-time job

Make sure you have an attractive channel, with cool channel art to set the scene and theme for your viewers.

13. Starting a Youtube Channel

With the continued rise of the video blogging culture, it’s completely understandable for any young adult to make money starting a YouTube channel. It’s a fun and interactive hobby with the potential to turn you into a popular online personality. Today it has become the most engaging avenue to earn a pretty impressive income. Aside from that, it helps you meet new people, gets free stuff from companies as well.

These are some of the more popular ones that I think should work for most of the undergraduates. However, students working while studying should not divert from their studies and keep a balance between their studies as well as their job. Once you find the right balance, you’ll reap the benefits of working as a student for years to come.

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Integrity Remains One of the Top Leadership Attributes

The National Showcasing Team of AIESEC in Sri Lanka presented the 5th episode of podcast series “LeadershipIsAlsoAbout” – “Demonstrating Integrity as a Core Leadership Value”

The Guest Speakers Mr. Kaneel Dias, the Local Committee President in AIESEC in University of Colombo 20.21 and Mr. Pium Pamuditha, the Local Committee President in AIESEC in University of Moratuwa 20.21 reflected their AIESEC journey through their real-life examples. Mr. Arfan Nazar Member Committee Vice President-Elect For Incoming Global Talent – AIESEC Sri Lanka 20.21. moderated the session. In this article, you will learn more about what they discussed on a deeper level.

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible…. ” – Dwight D. Eisenhower


What is leadership?


A simple definition given by Mr. Kaneel Dias was that leadership is the art of leading a diverse team to act towards achieving a common goal. People are different. Not only the choices they make or opinions they bear, but people may also differ in many other ways. Therefore a leader should not hope his team to behave the same. The key is to take the time to understand your team members. With that foundation in place, you’ll have a much easier time leading your different team members in a way that resonates best with them and their individual preferences.



Mr. Pium Pamuditha defined leadership differently; setting a direction initial and then guiding a set of people towards that direction in the best possible way. If we take a group of people that have a common goal they have different methods to achieve it. But there’s a certain method that produces the best outcome of every member of that group. It’s the best possible way to achieve that particular goal according to Mr. Pium.

Leadership definition captures the essentials of being able and prepared to inspire others. The speakers further discussed how they were inspired to be a leader. During the AIESEC journey, Mr. Kaneel had been inspired by many different leaders. With the inspiration of them today he has become the Local Committee President of AIESEC in University of Colombo 20.21. Mr. Pium mentioned about a specific character who inspired him to be the best version of his leadership; Mr. Mahela Jayawardane, the legendary former caption of Sri Lankan National Cricket Team. Being the first player in the history of Sri Lankan cricket to score over 10,000 Test runs and the former captain he inspired other cricketers in his team to achieve the success of Sri Lankan Cricket Team.

From a leadership perspective integrity is…

Most leaders and companies profess to “value integrity”. But they may not all understand or agree on the definition of this popular term. Consider ethics and models of an organization. Putting ethics and models on the back burner can spell trouble for any organization. Because ethics is far more than someone doing the right thing. But integrity is also about staying ethical in situations that seem to be unethical and dishonest. This can be applied when it comes to delivering exchange standards to Exchange Participants in AIESEC. Sometimes it might be very easy to be dishonest so that you can get the best outcome to your Local Committee. But integrity is finding different ways to remain honest and at the same time remain ethical while accomplishing what you want to accomplish with your organization.

Importance of understanding integrity as a core leadership value

Is it crucial that you understand the importance of behaving with integrity at all times when you are a leader? Simply put, integrity is crucial because it means doing the right thing, no matter what. When you are a leader, you serve as an example to everyone else in your organization. Consciously or unconsciously, they look to you for guidance on how to behave. In organizations where integrity is a respected virtue, on the other hand, leaders can trust that their subordinates will always choose to do the right thing. This frees up a great deal of energy that can be harnessed for more productive ends when everyone in the team is working towards a common goal.

Mr. Kaneel shared a recent example of a situation related to his AIESEC journey where he tested his integrity. “Back in January, this year Our LCVP resigned from his position & I had to select a replacement for that. I interviewed several different people. The biggest concern I noticed was whether they can manage this role of becoming LCVP along with their academics.” In this situation, he described the real condition of the role of Local Committee Vice President; a difficult and time-consuming role. He maintained his integrity as well as the Local Committee’s integrity.

Mr. Pium shared an experience where integrity was challenged in his academic life. “ We have assessments in our university and sometimes it’s really hard to reach the deadlines. But there’s an option that I can get the assignments done through my friends by coping with their answers” But Mr. Pium was very honest with himself. He tried to manage all these things by himself. 

Respecting integrity helps the relationships between leaders and their followers to grow stronger while increasing the performances of the followers to excellence

When a leader is working with a diverse team it’s important to understand every individuals’ strengths and weaknesses and treat them accordingly. Aside from that, a leader should be honest with their team members. Some truths might create negative impacts in the short term, in the long term the team members will tend to trust the leader more. Openness is also linked with integrity. Every single person in the team should know about every single thing about the team members. These best practices build a strong bond among each other of the team.

Maintaining integrity helps a person to grow his internal values

“Demonstrating integrity is indeed a core leadership value”

The single most important quality that you can ever develop is the quality of integrity. When a person is working towards a certain goal and if he is completely truthful about the work, he will give his maximum effort towards the goal. Living in truth with other people means that one can develop strong connections among other colleagues. On a similar note, it’s important to respect your team members’ opinions. Every single one of them has different opinions. Knowing what those are and respecting them will help you manage in a way that suits your direct reports best.

Integrity is the most important trait of leadership in our society because regardless of what other beneficial characteristics exist, people will not follow someone unless they have established trust with them. So real-life examples shared by Mr. Kaneel Dias, the Local Committee President of AIESEC in University of Colombo 20.21 and Mr. Pium Pamuditha, the Local Committee President of AIESEC in University of Moratuwa 20.21 demonstrated the importance of integrity in any list of leadership traits.

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Being Inauthentic – Leveraging Your Body Language during Business to Business (B2B) Approaching

” You can tell a lot by someone’s body language ” Harvey Wolter.

The language, what is a wordless matter because they are 100 times more powerful than your words. This means that as your colleagues listen to your gestures, voice intonations, posture and eye contact are speaking louder. You don’t always need to speak to say something. The expression “ A picture is worth a thousand words” more or less sums it up. Even though you have all the right things going for you – great education, awesome performance reviews, you name it. But it still is not getting the promotions and upward mobility opportunities you deserve, Know what is holding you back. It’s your Body Language.
Body Language - Business marketing - AIESEC

Business Marketing | Handshakes, Eye Contact, Posture, and Smiles

People subconsciously use your body language as a roadmap to discover your intention and credibility. And they form automatic conclusions about you in the business world. Body language like the way you hold yourself in a meeting either harm or enhance the message you’re sending. Body language in business sets the foundation for people to communicate with others on a deeper level.  Your facial expressions and body movements, the things that you don’t say can often convey some largest volumes of information. The way you present yourself will change how your consumers feel about you. So the importance of body language in business communications can’t be overestimated.

Three types of body language trick to master in the business world, at Business to Business (B2B) Approaching.

3 types of body language - B2B marketing

Assertive, Rapport – building & Calming body language

Your body language is one of the most critical aspects of your brand. If you’re always walking around with your arms crossed and a scowl on your face, then your appearance will affect how willing other people to work with you, or even buy products from you. If you’re just starting, or you are a new manager, or even if you’ve been the boss for a certain time, here are three types you may need to use frequently in your business communication.

1. Assertive body language

Often, in the business world, if you want to build an effective brand, you’ll need to show a confident and forceful personality in your opinions and points. There are a few body language tricks that are signs of strength. Firm stand, well balanced on both legs, open body (arms close to the body), eye contact (but not staring someone down), slow rate of blinking, respecting personal space, open palms of hands, shoulders relaxed but not slumped, no tension in the face.

2. Rapport – building body language

Sometimes, an assertive posture isn’t the best option in the business world. You don’t always need to show your dominance in space; you can also use your body language to convince others that you’re a friendly, and welcoming person. Mirroring: Body posture, Distance from you, Gestures, Energy level, Rate of breathing To show that you understand their point of view, enter their world by mirroring their speech and other mannerisms using the above clues to guide you. Point your feet: If you want to use your body language for business to put a consumer at ease, point your feet and angle your body toward that person you are speaking with.

3. Calming body language

When things don’t go according to plan, calming body language is a great way to maintain the situation in your favor. People need to use body language tricks to calm other people down and make sure that they don’t seem to be threatening to others. Keep your arms open: This is a naturally defensive position. If you want to stay calm and open-minded, be sure to leave your arms loose at your side. If you appear to be defensive, then the person you’re communicating with is more likely to become defensive too. Relax your body a little: If your lips are tight, and your body is tense, the people around you will automatically begin to feel nervous too.

Do pick up on inauthenticity

Inauthenticity-B2B Marketing -AIESEC

Be inauthentic during B2B handling | Move from indifferent to a friend | “Play nice”

Based on your behavior, the other person chooses unconsciously from 4 different categories. A friend, a predator, a potential sexual partner, or indifferent. In the business world, at Business to Business (B2B) approach, you have to be inauthentic to make verbal – nonverbal alignment perfect.  

How do we move from indifferent to a friend?

  • Smile
  •  Eyebrow up (“I recognize you”)
  •  Open body language ( Honest and trustful )
Mark Bowden, an expert in body language and human behavior speaks about the dangers in trying to use it as a litmus test for personal behavior and he believes authenticity isn’t something everyone should strive for, necessarily. There have been more times than one can count when being less genuine has saved everything from their pride to the role at work. Being inauthentic in your body language to please others and make them feel commendable about you matters at Business to Business (B2B) approach. It’s really important how you sometimes have to “play nice” and do things you’d rather not because it’s important to people you care about, your stakeholders. Sometimes you have to slap on a mask just to get ourselves through a tough time or a situation we face at our business which is beyond our control. The judicious use of masks is what makes it possible for you to endure certain people and eliminate circumstances without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake. Body language, non-verbal communication comes naturally. You have so little control over your body language because it happens for the most part unconsciously. Being inauthentic in the business world is getting your inside matched to your outside at your work. As an example, you often have to get out your “I can do this” mask when inside you’re terrified of taking the next step, otherwise it contradicts your verbal communication because contradictory communication breeds distrust and leads your stakeholders to question your credibility. So, when you celebrate being who you’re not, remember that a little inauthenticity now and then isn’t a bad thing any time of year in business communication.      
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