Gain a Global Advantage 2016
By Matt Lakin, Economics student and Global Relations Officer at the Business School.
This year’s Gain a Global Advantage event was the biggest and best yet, with over 600 of you signed up for the variety of sessions on offer. With high profile speakers from organisations spanning across the globe, across multiple industries, there was something for everyone. But, in case you were unlucky enough to miss out on this year’s extravaganza, I’ll try my best to squeeze all the excitement of the day into one brief blog post.
The day kicked off with a hugely intriguing insight into the life of Mr Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship Events at HSBC. After he was (fantastically) introduced, Giles went on to wow us with the ins and outs of his inspiring career path, from being a wayward Newcastle student that could barely make his way to the right Newcastle (apparently Newcastle-upon-Lyme isn’t nearly as good), to a hugely influential spokesperson in the world of sport and sponsorship. His laid-back and funny nature meant we were treated to an inspirational story told in the most interesting yet modest way, which started the day with a burst of global insight, and only kept getting better.
After Giles’ talk the mob of students was split in four, with a range of different workshops at the ready to inspire. The most popular of the workshops, Sam Waterfall’s “Boost your Global Profile”, was a hit success (after a brief tech hitch). Devouring us with his LinkedIn tips and tricks, Sam succeeded in emphasising the importance of giving your profile a global outlook, and how students can do that without a long list of travelling experience.
Running alongside Sam’s session was a more unique talk held by Stephane Catherine, VP of Customer Management for EMEA at Ubisoft. Stephane shared with us the behind the scenes secrets of how some of Ubisoft’s games are created and marketed worldwide, in particular the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
Whilst these two sessions were in full flow, the ground floor was in full organised chaos mode, with a range of different fairs and activities going on. The #GetGlobal fair offered students the chance to talk to different companies, careers service and interns from last year’s summer internships, and how they can gain global employability from these opportunities. As well as this, I was running the World Café, a networking session where students get the chance to chat to high profile speakers from the day about career aspirations and tips for budding business people like themselves – with some innocent business card swapping. All in all a great start to the day, with the Business School buzzing with students from across the university.
After Sam and Stephane had finished devouring our students with global inspiration, it was on to the next ones, with three exciting sessions taking place at once. There was the dynamic duo of Mark Batty (Head of International Development at Boden) and Sohail Shaikh (Director of International Retail), with their “Brits Abroad: Taking UK Retailers International” session, exploring the challenge of taking UK Retailers, and making them global. Down the hall, Steve Hulme (Chief Financial Officer at PayPal) talked about innovation in financial services, as well as an insight into the globally renowned firm that is PayPal. Thirdly, the Quilliam Brothers swapped tea-making for talking with their session, “The Quilliam Brothers Story”. Talk about spoilt for choice!
The next part of the day saw us turn up the heat with the Global Hotseat session, where participating students were put on the spot try and impress our panel of judges in front of a lecture theatre brimming with students. All with extensive HR backgrounds, our panellists didn’t hold back, and pushed our competitors to their very edge. After some wholehearted and impressive performances from our candidates, James Wright, Economics 3rd year came out on top and claimed the prestigious Global Hotseat trophy (rumour has it it’s next on Leonardo DiCaprio’s list).
The final session of the day was our Sports panel: “A Question of Sport: A Global Industry”. In this session, James Stringer and I quizzed our sports industry experts about what it’s like to work behind the scenes in some of the world’s most established global sports firms. A fantastic insight into the world of business in sport and a pleasure to see a panel clearly so enthusiastic about their work.
For most students on the day, that was a wrap! With over 600 sign ups the day was a huge success, with a multitude of great feedback from both students, staff and speakers involved.
For the more privileged amongst the crowd, it was party time (kind of), with the Celebration Evening kicking off on the 8th floor. Bring out the bubbly. John Wilson, Director of the Business School, presented the ridiculously huge cheques to our GEO case competition winners and runners-up, before thanking those most heavily involved with the organisation of the day (ahem).
And so it’s all over for another year, and what a pleasure to be a part of. Congratulations to all those involved for putting on such a successful event, which I’m sure many students will cherish.
Until next year, remember to #getglobal.