For this weeks blog post, I decided to interview Jakov Božović. Keep reading to find out what he had to say.
State your name, age, country of origin and current occupation.
My name is Jakov Bozovic, I’m 26 years old from Serbia and I’m currently working at UNIDO as an Intern at the Rural Entrepreneurship, Job Creation and Human Security Division.
What skills have you picked up throughout the years that are very valuable to you now?
For the last years I was part of AIESEC for about 4,5 years. My AIESEC career started as a Sales Team Member, which I didn’t expect in the beginning because you have to be very open, direct and know a lot of sales skills in order to sell a product to a company but after a while and after having the support from my team in AIESEC I managed to forge some good partnerships. This was the starting point where I saw some potential that I wasn’t aware of before. I never saw myself as a sales person before, but at that point I started thinking that this was really interesting and something I could pursue later on.
After that I began leading a team, and I was told that I will be selling in the summer period, which for companies is a time where not much selling is happening. This didn’t make me happy at first because I just thought “why is it my destiny to be a sales team leader in the worst time of sales”. But then I realised that it’s a challenge for me to prove that it can still be possible to do sales in the summer period. I really tried empowering my team to be the best that we can be, but actually after our sales term it turned out that our team managed to deliver the best results that any team had ever achieved. Even two years later, teams were struggling to reach this point. For me this was a very valuable experience because I realised that even if the times are tough, if you have enough devotion and motivation, anything is possible.
After this I was part of the organising committee of the conference which was back then called the Global Leaders Summit. At this conference, all the Presidents of the AIESEC countries are meeting to vote for the next international president and discuss the direction the organisation is going. I was in charge of logistics, so it was a completely different experience. It really helped me because it was a huge conference, not only for AIESEC but actually for my country as well. We had 113 entities of AIESEC coming from all over the world coming to Serbia, which was very important for youth in Serbia as well. I remember we had an event which we call Global Village, where every country represents their tradition and values and you can witness and learn about other cultures. At this event we had about 20.000 attendees, so you can imagine how stressful it was. We had a lot of ups and downs, really struggling to deliver the promise that you gave when you accepted your position. At this point I have to mention my sales skills again, because being in charge of logistics doesn’t only mean that, but it also means raising materials from companies, so I also managed to use my previous experience and also managed to combine it with my new knowledge. The organising committee didn’t sleep at all for the 9 days of the conference but it was all worth it on the last day when we stood on the stage and suddenly 113 countries stood up and gave us a standing ovation. I was so proud of my team and Serbia as a country was presented very well. At that point I thought I would finish my AIESEC career but after doing all of that I felt like I really needed to contribute more to the members of my Local Committee so I decided to apply as Local Committee Vice President of Sales. Even though I was already experienced in this area, it was still a huge challenge because apart from doing the actual sales, there was a new aspect, which was acquiring strategical partnerships. For me this year was still one of the best, not only because my team was incredible but because I also learned a lot about my limits. I became much more confident about myself and realised that I have some experience in the sales area.
After this I realised that I want to apply to become the next Local Committee President, and my Local Committee had around 120 members, so it was no easy task. I would say that this was one of the toughest years of my life, in terms of challenges. But it was also one of the best years, because AIESEC gives you the opportunity to work hard and gain skills but at the same time you also manage to have a good time. The people you work with are not only your colleagues but also your friends for life. After this term, I am still in contact with the people from my team and we still manage to meet regularly. We had a goal as a team to make 100 realisations possible during our term, and we reached that goal after 9 months, which was almost a first in the history of our committee. however, this cannot be done over night. It’s a long progress, and I remember some of my fellow team members working the whole night many times. At the end of the day, it’s not about the work but it’s about enjoying this experience to the fullest.
After this I was also part of the Global Team which dealt with the Balkan region. After that I applied to be part of the national team, as the national Vice President of Marketing. After all of these experiences in AIESEC, I realised that this is also the beauty of AIESEC, because it gives you the opportunity to try something that you have never done before. It was a crazy rollercoaster for me, but at the end of the day I was really satisfied with my results because as a national team member doing marketing for all of Serbia was a very tough job to balance and it really pushes you to your limits.
Currently I am working at UNIDO, trying to keep the partnership between AIESEC and UNIDO alive. I really know a lot about AIESEC but at the same time I am learning a lot about UNIDO. My team is very focused on entrepreneurship and creating job opportunities for young people, specially for women as well.
What’s your favourite colour?
I would say it’s blue [I wonder if this has anything to do with him being in AIESEC for all of these years]
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
At the end of my AIESEC career I had this issue. I was thinking where, after AIESEC, which strives for peace and fulfilment of humankind potential, can I find an organisation that drives to change the world, that really attempts to change something in society? This was the biggest motivation for me during all my tough times during my AIESEC experience. This was always the motivation to push myself to more than 100%. After the national team you have a lot of opportunities that you can use, and I was really connected to this goal for 4,5 years so I wanted to find an organisation that was striving for the same. Then an opportunity in UNIDO appeared, and I thought that this can be something that I can be involved in. The purpose of making the world a better place was the same. Now currently when I’m here, it’s proving to me that day to day, month to month, I made the right decision. And now, of course, the most famous question that you will get in every interview “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. I’m not sure that I can answer it very directly. If you had asked me five years ago if I could be where I am today, I would’ve thought that you are crazy. I would rather answer in a different way. I see myself working in an organisation that strives to make a difference and also for myself to always be giving my best, because this is one of my personal value. I would say that this is a direction that I would like to strive for.
Any advice for the young people out there, struggling with what they want to do in the future?
In the last five years, in AIESEC and UNIDO I gained friends from all over the world. Back in my time, AIESEC was present in 120 countries and I can say that I became friends with people from all of these countries. I met a lot of amazing people, but what differentiates between the good ones and the best ones is first of all, to stick to your values. Second, is to always work on yourself and to always have this learning process. And third of all, and maybe most importantly, is to never quit. We all have a moment where things are really challenging but the most important is to always try to look for a solution and never give up on yourself. As they always say, the good things are out of your comfort zone.
We hope that Jakovs experiences gave you some insights of all the things that are possible. If you want to gain more insights, visit our event here