Diana Henderson (EMBA 2016) jointly organised a networking event with students from CJBS and three other UK business schools.
Last month, Executive MBA students from Cambridge, Oxford, London Business School and London School of Economics gathered for a joint networking event in London. I was motivated to organise this event because of the importance I place on creating inclusive, welcoming spaces that foster learning, tolerance and idea generation. These, incidentally, are values I derive from my Cambridge EMBA Class of 2016.
The Cambridge EMBA Class of 2016 is a group of exceptional people with a wealth of knowledge across a range of industries. As a group of 81 students, we have not only supported each other as we study, but have developed personal and professional relationships as well, sharing our wisdom and experiences as our studies progress. In addition to the high standard of teaching we receive, it is the people that has made my EMBA experience exceptionally rewarding. After all, one can never lose out by “widening the net” of people you know!
When we approached the Class Representatives of other business schools about this joint event, I was pleasantly surprised by their enthusiasm and commitment to being involved. It is clear that we – as EMBA students – recognise the value and importance of bridging the gap between our classes, creating a space for dialogue and fostering future relationships as we do within our own cohorts.
As the entrepreneurs, business leaders and change champions of today and tomorrow, we recognised the value in meeting each other, with some students flying to London to attend especially. The contacts we made across our institutions will, I hope, lead to future individual success and positive social impacts, helping to engender innovative and creative business ideas. Although there may have been apprehension in meeting new people, there was a natural connection between our students and there are already plans to meet again.
Special thanks are extended to PwC for generously hosting our event, with insightful welcome remarks from Jon Andrews, Executive Board Member for Technology and Investment, facilitated by Cambridge EMBA participant Ollie Philips. PwC is supporting a programme for underprivileged students through work placements, and is actively attracting more women to the Technology sector. Diversity in all its forms is very important to PwC as technology advances into areas such as Artificial Intelligence, in particular. I hope the EMBAs can embed within themselves the value of a considerate & holistic approach to business development, and that business outreach can have positive impact on the wider community.
Also in attendance was Mr. Jonathon Spanos, Head of Commercial and Innovation at Virgin StartUp, who spoke about the opportunities for entrepreneurs in the UK and the funding mechanisms open them through his organisation. Virgin StartUp is the entrepreneurial hub of the Virgin Group, providing business advice, funding and mentoring to start-ups across the UK.
I can confidently say that this was a huge success for all business schools involved, and that new friendships and business connections were made. Having so many like-minded students in one place only reaffirms my view that the value of an Executive MBA programme is unprecedented.
I look forward to the next event!