Final-year Business and International Relations student Valentina Clara Rojas was selected for the OECD Summer Internship last year.
Interning at the The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is a dream come true for many students. The OECD is an intergovernmental economic organization that was founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It now includes 35 member countries, with its headquarters based in Paris, France.
Valentina had previously worked as an intern at the Spanish Embassy in Paris and at a 4-star hotel in Madrid. Fluent in three languages, she studied as an exchange student at Warwick University in the UK. Back on the IE University campus, she is highly involved with on-campus initiatives including the “HeForShe” movement, and is class delegate for her year.
How did you find out about this opportunity, and why were you interested in applying?
Last summer (2017) I had the incredible opportunity of working as an intern at the OECD. I spent three months in the International Service for Remunerations and Pensions department as a team member of the Fund Administration Unit. My first contact with the OECD was during my internship at the Spanish Embassy of Paris two years ago, and I was extremely lucky to find this internship through the Embassy. The OECD seemed like an incredible organization, whose main objective was to propose policies to make the world a better place for everyone. Since then I knew I wanted to do an internship with the OECD and learn more about the organization.
What about the internship stood out most for you?
One of the things I liked most was the work atmosphere. The OECD welcomes employees from all member countries, so it’s very likely that each person on your team will have a different nationality! People are very committed to their work; you can feel the passion they put into every project, and working in such an environment is extremely motivating and enriching.
Another thing I really liked about my time at the OECD was the kindness with which they treat trainees. From the very first day, the entire team helps you so that you can adapt quickly and feel comfortable. In return, you have to complete the tasks assigned to you. For this reason, in order to work at the OECD, it’s essential you have a strong level of commitment and work hard.
Coming from an international University like IE University helps a lot. I did not understand the extent to which IE University prepares you to work with people who think differently than you—until I went to the OECD. Patience, open-mindedness, commitment, creativity, and many other skills, like technical skills, are very important when you work on a multicultural team. IE University provides you with a lot of tools to develop all of this.
Of course, this internship would not have been possible without the help and the support of the IE University Talent and Careers team. Especially in big organizations such as the OECD, the paperwork (MOA’s, contracts, agreements…) can be difficult and arduous. Having the support of a team like the IE University Talent and Careers team really helps to smooth the process!
What would you say to other students interested in applying?
In my case, I entered the OECD through the Spanish Delegation, so the application process was slightly different. However, based on my experience there, I would recommend that you show your commitment and talk about your international background (even today it is still something very unique!), as well as your technical and interpersonal skills. Don’t be scared of challenges or difficult situations; you’ll face a lot of them. Just use your creativity and your knowledge to find the right solutions. Bear in mind the OECD motto: “Better policies for better lives,” and think about what you would do to make the world a better place.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I think my experience at the OECD taught me that being able to work effectively in teams is much more important than we might think. In an organization such as the OECD, individual work is not useful if it is not complemented by teamwork.
Also, never forget to build a strong network of people during your internships. It’s thanks to the people I met during my time at the Spanish Embassy that I was able to become an intern at the OECD!