My journey to becoming a Junior Professional Consultant at IOM Geneva
By Iman Berry
Disclaimer: The views are those of the author's alone and do not represent the views of UNA-Canada.
Image 1: JPC Iman Berry
I have been working with IOM Geneva for the past few months as a part of the International Youth Internship Programme (IYIP) with UNA-Canada. I first learned about the program when I found the internship programs interns doing Instagram takeovers. I was excited at the prospect of being able to work at a UN agency in a varying role.
Usually, when I want to make myself a strong candidate for a position, I will go on LinkedIn and find out what experience I need to put myself in a good position. I will often go to the page of the company that I want to work at and then search for the position that I would like to take on. For example, for this position, I would search for “Junior Professional Consultant” on the International Organization for Migrations (IOM) LinkedIn page. For this internship program specifically, I looked up the LinkedIn of the people doing Instagram takeovers to learn more about their education, their past roles, and interests, and what they did after their IYIP placement. Oftentimes, I will also send people who are in the role I would like to pursue a message asking for time to chat and ask questions I may have. I try to look for people who went to the same school as me, were in similar clubs or societies, or are also Canadian.
I realized that when doing my LinkedIn research, a lot of the JPCs I came across had a variety of experiences. However, many of these past JPCs had taken relevant classes and had roles in very specific functions such as (HR, data science, and research) or experience with a specific topic (Migration, Human Rights, the Environment). In my past internships, I worked in management consulting which is where companies will come to you with a problem, and you will help them solve it. Within this role, I learned various skills such as PowerPoint, strategic problem-solving, and summary writing. Therefore, I was incredibly excited to be placed at IOM Geneva as a Strategy Junior Professional Consultant. The Labor Mobility and Social Inclusion division which I work with is currently undergoing a major transformation in terms of its objectives, and planning for future projects. I have been brought on to help facilitate that transformation and help with solving the problems that usually occur when you undergo a massive transition.
Image 2: JPC Iman, completing research on the IOMs website.
So far, I have been able to work on a few projects, but my favorite has been helping draft the Strategic Vision of the LMI division. During this project, I have learned a lot, not just in terms of migration but what it is like to work with international colleagues. I have been challenged with my work, working in a different time zone, and a lot of my communication is over email and learning new terminology. My past roles prepared me for this role by helping me think big picture, often we can get bogged down in the details, but problem-solving for a large corporation helped me better contextualize the way that IOM was currently operating and what changes this strategy would bring. I also was able to become much more organized, which has helped me navigate this placement and keeping track of the work I have done.
At the beginning of my placement, I made it a point to find mentorship where I would be able to clarify all my concerns and help me learn as I go. Currently, I am working on a literature review for one of our projects and have been able to synthesize large amounts of information. I am excited to work on this because this is one of the areas of work I had identified at the beginning of my internship.
Right after I graduate, I plan to continue to pursue management consulting, however, I would like the focus of my projects to be within the Public Sector field. Through my placement, one of the most surreal things for me has been working on projects that have a real impact on the lives of the migrants that IOM serves. Every day when I sit at my laptop and begin work, I feel energized to get started with the day because I know that my work is helping someone. It sounds cliché, but this factor has motivated me to find this purpose in all my professional endeavors.
My experience as a JPC has been wonderful so far, I am excited to continue my JPC experience!