Student Life

PDC President Candidate: Grusha Victor

Check out our interview with PDC Presidential Candidate, Grusha Victor.

By The Graduate Press Editorial Board

The spring 2023 Graduate Institute Student Association (GISA) Board election cycle is underway, with candidates running for the positions of President, VP of Master’s, Treasurer, Events Coordinator, and Professional Development Committee (PDC) President. The opportunity for students to nominate themselves for one of these roles extends until the end of the day on April 23rd. 

GISA serves as the voice and principal events organizer for the student body at the Graduate Institute. Members of the GISA board are responsible for hearing student concerns regarding academic and student life, accommodations, and various other issues at the Institute. From April 28th to 30th, IHEID students will have the opportunity to vote online for the candidates they wish to represent them on the GISA Board for the subsequent year. The Graduate Press has reached out to all of the candidates running for the GISA Board this spring and through a series of articles, we will be sharing their platforms. It is crucial that IHEID students engage with the candidates and participate in this year’s election in order to ensure the GISA Board can meet all of the needs of present and future IHEID students. 

We spoke with Grusha Victor, who is running for PDC President. Here is what she had to say. 

Why do you think you are the best candidate for the role of PDC President?

I believe I’m a good candidate for PDC President because I’ve been working with the committee for the past six months, and it’s always good to be an inside member, to know what’s been happening, and to stay up to date. That is important in order to bring a proper, calculated change and to analyse what went wrong, what went well, and to not reinvent the wheel, but to build up on the progress and to bring about the changes which are required. For example, I do realise from the past six months in the committee that our communication wasn’t that great. Probably the first thing that I would like to do as PDC President is work more on the communication side, which we’ve already started doing. There are a lot of things  happening and I plan to make it even better. We already have a group where we share internships opportunities. We have been organising workshops for skill and career development, we have coffee chats and meetings for career guidance from alumni and we have been collaborating with student initiatives. Through an analysis of almost a year’s work, I can confidently say that we do plan to amp up the engagements.

I think that’s one way that I feel I’m a good candidate because I understand what went well and what didn’t this past semester. Also, I have a bit of past experience working in the development sector in India, in corporate sector, so having a bit of a professional background always helps. You can understand what is happening in the course and the curriculum at the Institute and the job market that’s there in Geneva, what skills and competencies are required for the professional development at this level, and then how you can curate events and workshops based on those skills and competencies. I feel I can bridge that gap because seeing both the sides of student life and also having worked on the corporate side help me see that clearly.

How will your experiences as a student at the Institute shape your approach to the role of PDC President?

There’s a relation between the students who are here right now and the people who have left the Institute. In my current role actually at PDC as the Alumni Liaison, I try to bridge that gap. There’s a lot of scope for students to learn from the alumni, especially those who are working in the same field, especially working in Geneva. So when you bring those two communities together, it really helps current students analyze where their paths can go and what options they have. So, along with the events and everything that we do, this is an important thing. And at the start of the semester, with The Graduate Press, we started the Alumni Journeys series. That’s something I feel is very important. It doesn’t matter if I’m the PDC President or not. I’ll still want to continue working on that because it’s a very important aspect. Our courses are equipping us with the necessary knowledge for the job market, but there are also a lot of skills that are required in terms of tackling the job market.

For people in the the development sector, it might be difficult to get an internship in a communications department of an IO or any organization as such. We are collaborating with the Peace Building Initiative on communication workshop series and these will help. We are offering a certificate by the end of it. I guess understanding the needs of the community and trying to build upon are very important.

What other experience do you have that you believe qualifies you for the role of PDC President?

I have around four years of work experience, so that helps me to contribute from the other side of the table too. In my previous role, the one that I just had before joining the Institute, I was the head of operations at a startup. I was continuously wearing multiple hats. I was handling the administration, the operations, the marketing. It’s a big hat to wear. I think that has equipped me to multitask, to lead a team, to analyze where the gaps were and to fill those in. I think those experiences will come in handy when I am leading a team in the Institute, too. And working in the development sector, one of the oldest NGOs in India, I also realized some traits which are very important, apart from the professional traits, empathy, trying to work considering the needs of other people, too, trying to work as a group, understanding why people are behaving the way they are behaving instead of just reacting. So I think all those traits will help me in this post.

If elected, what would be your primary goal as PDC President?

I think to build more skill-based and competency-based events and workshops to bring the alumni and student communities closer. I really want to design this mentorship program where the alumni can mentor current students. If I’m able to pull that off with the right amount of time and resources that I have, I think that’s going to be my pet project as PDC President. 

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