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Catching up with Norbert Wangnick, International Alum in Austin, TX

Tuesday, June 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kris Stafie
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Norbert Wangnick, an AIESEC alum and BOA member at University of Texas in Austin since 2009, is currently “retired”; however, he is also an investor at International Accelerator, a company that is part of Angelou Economics where he works with foreign based entrepreneurs that want to set up operations in the U.S.

Norbert was a member of AIESEC in Germany where he gained a wealth of experience. He then launched his own company based on a main AIESEC tenet of matching amazing potential candidates with top companies in Germany, Europe and then worldwide. He took the TN matching idea and professionalized the recruiting process to place the best graduates with the best employees. He had his company for 18 years, growing it from 2 to 120 employees, and later sold it to Kelly Services. He then moved to the US and made his home base in Austin. He is a busy parent of 3 boys, with one coming of age and about to explore AIESEC or a similar experience of going abroad, with the aim of expanding his character and enabling him to differentiate himself from other students in the U.S. We talked more about this topic that I will share in a little bit…

At International Accelerator, Norbert felt that an AIESEC trainee would be a great fit to the company business model especially as the cost of a trainee is minimal. They signed up last year with 3 trainees from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Italy. These trainees did a lot of work with a very lean team. They had one experienced manager working with the team of 3 who helped create business plans, did financial reporting, helped onboard incoming officers, developed strategies & pitches, set up organizational structures, built a social community, and setup information management and digital design. During their tenure they also had to deal with a change of manager which, as most alumni can attest, can be a healthy learning experience as well! The team proved to be a great fit and did an excellent job over their year-long traineeships and his he is still in touch with them. This year, International Accelerator has 3 new trainees from Brazil and they are ramping up to do the same functions as the previous team.

I asked Norbert how it was selling AIESEC to his company. He kind of laughed at me at could I ask such a question? It was easy. Selling AIESEC is the same as it was 30 years ago, he said, if you believe in the idea and if your company has international operations. As it is so cost effective, it is the only way to go to get quality graduates for short-term or long-term jobs. If this sounds good to you and your organization, find out more here and your local committee or AIESEC US can help you recruit the right candidate for your company.

As we concluded our conversation, we turned once again to Norbert’s 17-year-old son who will soon make some big decisions. He felt, and I of course agreed, that international experience is one of the most important ways to differentiate yourself to employers, grow as a person, build character and help you figure out how to make mistakes at an early age so that you are ready for the bigger things down the road. By just by exposing yourself to another culture even for a little while you are way ahead of most U.S. students. Sounds like AIESEC, right? He ended our conversation by sharing a blog, which I certainly had to take a look at. It rings very true as we look at our life and how we impress on young graduates and new alumni that time is precious and how we spend it matters. Don’t fall into the inertia of doing things just to do them---quality matters! The article in particle that highlights this is “The Tail End”. I would highly recommend it to all alumni out there with kids taking the first step out of the house on to their next adventure.

Thanks to Norbert for his continued support to AIESEC UT and for putting himself out there in his own company to give that AIESEC experience to others. The impact that the traineeships and mentoring he does at UT has no doubt made a difference in many lives.

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