Speaker & Topic Selection

  • Research speakers and topics for the conference sessions. The committee typically brainstorms ideas together, and then individual committee members follow up on the speakers/topics the committee agrees on. Note that speakers and topics need to be approved by the Executive Director and Board Liaison to the conference to ensure the organizational needs are met and to avoid duplication with other events.
  • Session formats are as follows:
    • Keynote speakers - an invited speaker on the main stage/room speaking to all conference participants; an expert in their field who is not eligible for membership (including school, employer or affiliate membership). Speakers may be paid, but that is not the only qualifying criteria. Topics are strategic in nature and relevant to both employers and schools.
    • Panels - multiple speakers per session, with a moderator who is sometimes the committee member who organizes the session.
    • Fireside chat - a moderator interviews one or more experts in a structured Q&A format, opening up for questions from the participants as desired.
    • Concurrent breakout sessions - these can be single speakers or panels that take place at the same time as other conference sessions. It's recommended that concurrent sessions be limited to 2 - 3 max for this conference, given the typical attendance numbers.
    • Facilitated round tables - opportunities for participants to discuss a topic of interest without a formal presentation or firm structure. A faciliator is selected who has strong knowledge about the subject area, and participants are encouraged to come with questions and topics to discuss.
    • Other formats can be considered based on committee feedback.
    • Note that affiliate members (vendors) must co-present with a school or employer member in order to present. They are also not able ot present a session to the full assembly. They can only present a concurrent breakout session. This is to ensure that all vendors are treated fairly and to avoid conflict with their competitors. Visit the Conference Policies for more information about vendor participation.
  • In a virtual environment, audience engagement is a key priority for all sessions. Speakers should be selected using the following criteria:
    • Experience presenting in a virtual environment with a high level of interactivity (particularly for keynote and others who are presenting to the full assembly)
    • High comfort level with technology and virtual engagement activities.
    • Flexible and able to pivot the topic if a change is needed based on the current uncertain landscape.
    • Pricing is affordable for a limited budget (note: only keynote speakers are paid - see the Conference Policies for details).
  • Topics should be selected using the following criteria:
    • Relevant to meeting the needs of MBA CSEA's diverse membership, with a focus on the APAC region
    • Keeping in mind all functional areas within the membership:
      • employers
      • career center leaders
      • coaches
      • employer relations
      • specialty masters
      • working profesional MBA's
      • new and seasoned professionals
    • Special focus on the current landscape, while being broad enough to be applicable when the conference takes place
  • Other factors to consider when putting together the program:
    • Ideally, no more than one session would involve a particular vendor or speaker.
    • Sessions should not focus on a particular product or service. Examples can be mentioned when talking about tools or resources in general. Demos of products should be be done during any session. This puts MBA CSEA in a difficult position with the product's competitors.
    • Visit the Conference Policies for more information about vendor policies.
  • If needed, proposals for concurrent breakout sessions can be soliciated via a Call for Proposals to the membership. The Executive Director will send the information and inform the committee about submissions received. The committee will select speakers and topics based on the information above and inform all submitters about decisions. Templates are used for these communications.

Speaker Management

Once the speakers are confirmed, a committee member works with the speaker(s) to plan the session.
  • Discuss the organization’s background and audience:
    • MBA/Masters career services professionals that work with business students to help them prepare for their job search and with employers to help them recruit on their campus. Attendees will represent all areas within the career services office, including directors/leaders, career coaches and employer relations professionals. School types range from small to large, public and private, and span multiple geographies.
    • Recruiters, talent acquisition professionals, university relations professionals and others at companies that hire MBA/Masters students for full-time and internship opportunities. This could also include hiring managers, or anyone involved in the graduate business student hiring process. Company types range from small to large, non-profit and for profit, and spam multiple geographies.
    • Our organization brings together these professionals for networking, learning and conversations that drive the future of the industry. Attendees are generally collaborative, friendly and eager to learn and discuss topics of interest.
    • For the APAC event the focus is on that region, but attendees from other geographies usually attend (especially the U.S.).
  • Discuss the topic with the speakers, and ensure it's timeily and relevant to the audience. If the speaker is secured well in advance of the conference, flexibility may be important so that the topic can be adjusted as the industry changes.
  • Coordinate the contract and payment process with the speaker (if needed) and send to the Executive Director for review and approval. See the Conference Contacts document for items needed in a contract. Note that arrangements must be confirmed with the speakers in writing (email is okay) in order to avoid confusion or miscommunication.
  • Discuss tips for successful virtual engagement.
  • Obtain the following information for promotions:
    • Speaker bio and picture (for keynote speakers only)
    • Speaker job title(s) and organization(s)
    • Session title
    • Session description (2 - 3 sentences that describes what they will talk about
  • If working with a panel, schedule a phone call with the panelists in advance to discuss the specifics and questions that will be asked. If the committee member is not the session moderator, the moderator can do this as long as the committee members confirms that it takes place. A best practice is to develop draft questions and share them with the panelists. Shortly thereafter, schedule a group call for the panelists to get to know each other, build rapport, and discuss what will be shared. Final questions can then be disseminated after the call. Ideally, the call will take place at least two weeks in advance of the conference. Other items to discuss with the panelists:
    • Ask if they prefer to introduce themselves or have the moderator introduce them. If the moderator will be introducing them, request their bio/introduction. We recommend incorporating a fun element into the introductions, rather than simply reading a bio.
    • Discuss how many questions will be asked, and who will answer each question.
    • Develop some seed questions for committee members to ask if there is a lull during the question time period.
    • Discuss session engagement tips.
  • Work with the Executive Director to ensure the speaker(s) are registered for the conference. The ED can provide information about the registration process, depending on the type of speaker they are and the paramaters.

Session Roles

  • Faciliator (or moderator for panel sessions)
    The committee member who manages the speaker is typically also the session faciliator. He/she introduces the session/speaker, manages Q&A and closes out the session. If slides are used, the faciliator can share them for the speaker if neede, depending on preference.
  • Room Host
    A separate volunteer or staff member will serve as Room Host. He/she logs in to the Zoom meeting as the host, admits attendees in to the session when it's time to begin, answers technical questions, mutes participants as needed, opens breakout rooms (if used) and launches polls (if used).
  • The speakers, room host and facilitator/moderator will log in to the session 15 minutes early to get set up. The Executive Director or Administrative Assistant will provide the login links. They will also host training on how to use the system in advance.