Network, Ideas, Skills: St Andrews IDEAS Conference 2012

Carnegie Club St Andrews organised the 2012 IDEAS Conference on Friday 5 October at Lower College Hall. It “brought together business leaders to discuss the challenges they face and how they are dealing with them” to the students at the conference. It also offered students a networking and skills training opportunity. According to the organisers, 120 people attended the conference.

Mona Tiesler, a 3rd year undergraduate who was one of the organisers, said the aim of the event was “to establish a conference to give students at St Andrews the same access to high profile speakers” as universities in bigger cities like London. She hoped that “it will create discussion and create new ideas.” Another organiser, Matthew Short, said the event would give the students “networks, ideas and skills” which would be invaluable to their future career.

The event was sponsored by Ernst & Young.

Networking. Photo: Raymond Wang

The day was split into four main parts. Three panels gave a discussion on diverse issues like the digital age, government effectiveness and the future development of Africa. This was followed by a networking lunch, and then an interview skills workshop run by Gywn Day and then finally a case study workshop organised by representatives from IBM.

According to the organisers, they started to email potential speakers half a year ago, and wanted the panels to offer a great diversity of issues and opinions. Short goes on to say that most speakers “were more than happy to come.”

During an interview in the networking lunch, Ms Tara O’ Connor, founder of Africa Risk Consulting and a speaker for the panel on Africa, wanted to let the students know that “there is an opportunity out there,” despite the current environment, and commented that “the organisation of the event was impressive.”

Zahary Latif, MD at TLG Capital and a speaker from the same panel, gave the following advice to students. “There will always be career drifts, and when faced with decisions, you must always take calculated risks.” He also stressed the importance of experience and networking by saying “you need to do, you need to learn… successful students use Linkedin, not Facebook.”

Apart from the networking, students also found the interview and case study workshop extremely useful. Pete Manakit, a 1st year undergraduate, sums up the event: “These sessions were an eye-opener. The most important thing is that it showed me what and how I can improve myself, and it’s best to know these things early.”

Interview skills workshop. Photo: Raymond Wang

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