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Lasting connections between students, alumni, and speakers
As with any conference, a key benefit is the networking opportunity. At the GLS, friendships were formed among attendees regardless of age, location, or experience. Connections transcended the ordinary as students bonded with their peers during a variety of group exercises and projects. They also took advantage of finding new personal mentors and professional guides in BGS alumni, guest speakers, and exhibitors. Every day of the Summit, students could be found chatting with these seasoned business leaders, who were exceptionally generous with their time and resources.
Keynote speaker, Peter Ruppe, SVP of footwear at Under Armour, was a crowd favorite for his empathic approach to team leadership. Drs. Alyssa Preston, Tim Clipson, Jim Weeks, and Pam Cash all wowed students with their warm, down-to-earth attitudes. These experts coached students in understanding themselves as leaders and using proven tactics to improve their interpersonal communication skills. William Smith, founder of #HashtagLunchBag, related to students with dynamism and humor on the topics of personal branding and social awareness. Military veteran and VP of Sound Physicians, Joshua Szarek, emphasized the many benefits of maintaining a “Positive Mental Approach” in the workplace and beyond. Alfonzo Alexander, president of NASBA Center for the Public Trust, clearly illustrated the case for individual responsibility and the need for a robust culture of ethical business practices. And Dr. Alex Sevilla of the University of Florida talked about effective communication with a practical understanding of emotional intelligence in leadership. Indeed, every speaker at the Summit received high praise and sincere engagement from their audience.
Practical information and resources for the future
Along with talks meant to inspire, students attended sessions full of concrete support for their next steps in school and business. Dr. Tom Robinson, president and CEO at AACSB International, explained the future of business education and the lifelong value of attending an AACSB-accredited school. Young BGS alumni who have quickly advanced their careers talked about what to expect after graduation and how to navigate professional life challenges. Recruiters from top firms KPMG, Enterprise, and GEICO guided the very popular Q&A panel on how to land a great job. And the Summit career and college fair hosted 26 representatives from top employers and business schools around the country.
The GLS concluded with a case study competition sponsored by KPMG. The competition tasked students with putting their strengths, new knowledge, and team building skills to the test. Divided into four different scenario categories, groups of eight to 12 students collaborated on solutions to hypothetical business challenges. While creating an innovative business proposition was one part of the task, the students were told to focus on “process over product.” Panels of judges (composed of event speakers and BGS staff and board members) evaluated each team’s ability to solve problems, communicate effectively, and leverage individual and collective strengths. The winning teams from each scenario group then presented to the entire Summit their proposals—as well as the journeys that brought them to a solution. The result was a culmination of the many lessons gleaned from the previous three days.
Going forward after the Summit
Response to the inaugural GLS has been resoundingly positive. With the help of a specially-designed program app, students submitted real-time feedback throughout the four days, resulting in an overall 4.2 rating (out of five) for the event. The success of the event and demand for another Global Leadership Summit is evident. We’re excited to make it even bigger and better for our “Best in Business” members again next year.