Our student-led conferences are back!
This year’s events begin with the China Business Forum on 18 October, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about the award for best student-led event.
I am Jon, the Senior Student Activities Manager at the School, and my team helps support the multitude of professional student-led clubs and events that are such a prominent part of student life here at London Business School. Last year was the second year that I ran club awards for the autumn and spring terms. At the end of each academic year I also look back at the best student-led event of the year.
While there are always incredible cultural trips and a constant stream of high quality career treks, I tend to be most interested in our student-led conferences. These present some of the best student-led activities in terms of enhancing students’ professional development and raising the profile of our brand. They are also a great way for the conference team to practise leadership skills and learn more about their sector.
Last year we had our first ‘perfect’ conference according to feedback from attendees*; we also saw our first examples of our conferences making it into international press (e.g. the Asset Management Conference ). Several other conferences also raised their profile and it was great to see an improvement overall (on an already high standard). The best events tended to be those that concentrated on what an attendee gains from the event rather than making the event ‘bigger’:
|Number of conferences surveying their attendees||17||13|
|Average score||4.4 / 5||4.2 / 5|
|% positively recommending||93%||86%|
|Approximate number of attendees||2000||1800|
More details on the conference surveys below*
My shortlist of the best conferences of 2013-14
This is from a combination of survey results, feedback from attendees and colleagues and from working with the teams:
Africa Business Summit (Summer 2014)
“Beyond the hype: The not-for-tourists guide to investing in Africa”
This was arguably our most professional event and was on an impressive scale: 45 speakers, sold out with 350 attendees (the majority external guests), over 20 sponsors and partners, moderated by a CNN business correspondent (Zain Asher), the most social media engagement of any of our events and they also launched an entrepreneurship competition.
This conference, more than any other I’ve seen, highlighted the hard-work, determination and ability of its organisers and the club’s presidents – it was a year in the planning and excelled across all areas.
If you aren’t currently thinking about doing business in Africa this conference (and the club itself) will change your mind.
eurOUT (Autumn 2013)
“the premier conference for LGBT MBA students and alumni from European schools”
The team had an incredible focus on their attendees and built a programme with a carefully judged mix of talks, panels, networking and social events to ensure attendees gained maximum value from the event.
They secured sponsorship and speakers from some of the companies that our students most want to hear from and work for (e.g. McKinsey & Co, BCG, IBM, Microsoft, Google, Accenture, Unilever, American Express, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, General Mills). They also successfully involved faculty to share our thought leadership and alumni to keep our whole community engaged.
I thought their overall survey score of 100% recommendations and 4.9/5 would be the highest any conference would ever achieve…
Family Business Summit (Summer 2014)
“Conversations on Family Business”
Our first ‘perfect’ conference according to feedback from attendees: All survey respondents ‘strongly agreed’ that they would recommend this event to current/future colleagues.
I also shortlisted this event last year for the same reasons – they keep it small, maximise interactions between guests and speakers and run workshops to go into depth and ensure attendees get the most out of the event.
The Women in Business Summit (Spring 2014)
“Sprints & Marathons: The Sustainable Career”
A super slick and inspirational event which wowed attendees and those involved in helping support the event – I still am receiving positive feedback from colleagues who attended and worked with the conference team.
The club and School launched a survey at the event that was picked up across press and media
Engaging speakers, packed venue and an enthusiastic audience – watch highlights here
A tough choice but I decided to give the award to the eurOUT conference.
All of the shortlisted events (and many of the others not shortlisted) were exceptional. In my opinion the eurOUT conference edged ahead of the others by striving and succeeding in making a meaningful impact on their attendees’ professional development. Congratulations to the club and to the organisers. And good luck for this year’s event!
*The conference survey-
The main question I ask is whether the attendee would ‘recommend the event to current/future colleagues’: 1=Strongly disagree; 5=Strongly agree.
I ask all conferences to gain responses from at least 10% of their attendees to be included. Note that we don’t include TEDxLondonBusinessSchool in this as they run an independent survey through TEDx – although arguably they are one of our most successful conferences. I will feature them separately later this year.
The full breakdown of scores:
|Africa Business Summit||4.5||89|
|Asia Business Forum||4.3||94|
|India Business Forum||4.5||93|
|Out in Business||4.9||100|
|Women in Business||4.6||93|
Thank you for reading!
Senior Student Activities Manager
Degree Programmes Office