Conference Policies

Updated August 2019
These policies serve as an organizational tool for all MBA CSEA Conference committees, to maintain consistency and uniformity from year-to-year and across all conferences. They are developed with input from previous conference leadership and have been adopted by the Board of Directors.  This document supersedes any prior revision to July, 2019. Note: Any exceptions to the Conference Policies are approved by the Board Liaison and Executive Director.


Keynote Speaker: An invited speaker on the main stage 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. Keynote speakers provide content to the assembly (not just an introduction). Vendors cannot be keynote speakers. 

Plenary Session Speaker: Non-paid speakers that speak to the entire assembly with no other conference activities taking place at the same time. Topics are relevant to both employers and schools. Speakers can be standalone or panels. Plenary speakers are typically sourced locally in order to avoid travel expenses. Plenary speakers are often panelists. Vendors cannot be plenary speakers.

Breakout Session Speaker: Non-paid speakers that speak during a breakout session  with multiple sessions taking place at the same time. Breakout session speakers are typically selected from the call for programs, which are submitted by people who are planning to attend the conference anyway. Additional outreach can be made for these speakers as defined in the conference policies (see below). Topics are relevant to subsets of the assembly. Breakout sessions address the needs of both employers and schools and the full range of experience levels.

Vendor: A company that has a product or service to sell to MBA CSEA members, or whose primary business is the career services/recruiting marketplace. Vendors do not qualify for employer or school membership and have different participation and registration parameters for the conference (see policies below). Third party recruiters/headhunters are considered vendors. A company's intent while attending the conference does not factor in to whether they are considered a vendor or not (i.e. if they state that they do not plan to sell products or services at the event, they are still considered a vendor because of the promotional opportunity they will receive from attendance). 

Conference Decision-Making

Decisions made by the board with input from the conference committee:
  • Changes to the Conference Policies
  • Conference location and dates
  • Conference budget (including registration fees)
  • Policies regarding joint ventures (i.e. sponsor discounts for multiple MBA CSEA conferences in the same year)
  • Policies regarding affiliates and organizational partners (i.e. reciprocal agreements).
  • Conference refund policy. These will be determined prior to conference registration opening and communicated to constituents along with registration fees. Exceptions to the policy can be considered by a committee consisting of the Board Liaison to each conference, Executive Director and Conference Co-chairs. 
  • Sponsorship and Exhibitor menu

Decisions made by conference chairs:
  • Conference committee chair and volunteer selections (with input and prior approval from the Board Liaison and approval of Executive Director)
  • Conference expenses (within approved budget, with over-budget items or changes to the budget approved by the Executive Director)
Decisions made by the conference committee (including the conference chair(s) and Executive Director), with input from the board:
  • Conference presenters and speakers. Note: The board has right of refusal for keynote speakers that do not fit within the organization’s mission or strategic direction. Keynote speakers will be reviewed by the Board of Directors, in addition to the previous year’s conference chairs for each particular conference. This is done to ensure the keynotes are well-vetted and representative of the entire membership, including subsets of the membership that may not be represented on the conference committee (i.e. employers). The group will be asked for a quick turnaround for the review so that it does not impede the committee’s progress.
  • Conference theme
  • Entertainment and activities not directly related to professional content and off-site activities
  • Other items as specified in the Standard Operating Procedures. Note, there are points of review and/or approval needed from the Executive Director, as outlined in the SOP’s.

Conference Policies

  1. Contracts and Finances
    1. All conference contracts must be reviewed and authorized by the Executive Director. The Executive Director or Board Liaison will sign all contracts. When possible, a minimum of two weeks will be allowed for contract review. Reference the Conference Contracts document for additional required items.
    2. Signed contracts or MOU’s (memorandum of understandings) are required in writing (email is not accepted) for the following situations:
      - Paid speakers
      - In-kind sponsorships or partnerships valued at $5,000 and above for which any services or materials are  
        produced for the conference
      - External vendors or venues providing services related to transportation, entertainment, education or any
        activities that are organized by the conference committee for conference attendees that are over $500.
      Email confirmation is acceptable for unpaid speakers who are addressing the entire assembly (keynote or plenary speakers).
    3. All conference expenditures must be approved by the conference chair(s). The chair(s) will communicate each approved expense to the Executive Director, who will then arrange for payment. When possible, a minimum of two weeks will be allowed for payment processing, particularly for large dollar amounts.
    4. Any significant changes to the conference budget must be approved by the Executive Director.  
    5. The conference chair(s) will provide the Board Liaison and Executive Director with regular conference expense updates.
    6. When allowed, vendor invoices will be paid in full upon receipt of products or services. A deposit may be made and/or a credit card given in advance, but the full payment will not be made until the products or services have been received.
    7. Vendor contracts will be signed by both parties.
    8. All conference attendees, sponsors and exhibitors are required to pay for their attendance/sponsorship prior to the conference. Individuals with outstanding balances not received upon arrival at the conference will be required to provide proof that payment has been initiated or pay on site with a credit card.
  1. Registration
    1. One-day registrations are offered at all conferences for one of the days that has full programming (the gala event is not included unless payment is made separately). The rate is available for all participant types (school, employer, vendor/affiliate). The cost will be 50 – 60% of the overall conference registration rate for each member type, as determined by the board each year.
    2. MBA CSEA conferences are designed to meet the needs of career services representatives and employers. Students may not attend the conference unless they are invited to speak as part of a breakout session, panel, etc. They are able to attend for the session in which they are speaking only.
    3. Vendors, affiliate members and other companies who are soliciting for paid services from members are required to pay exhibitor fees or register as an affiliate participant in order to attend the conference.
    4. Non-member conference registration is intended for schools and employers who, based on MBA CSEA membership criteria, are not eligible for membership, or for those who are eligible for and considering membership. Affiliate members and other vendors must register as an exhibitor or affiliate participant to attend the conference.
    5. The Asian and European conference committees may strategically allocate up to five complimentary full conference passes to employer attendees. The companies receiving the passes must be brand new to MBA CSEA (not having been a member or attended an Asian or European conference before). Parameters will be set and approved in advance by the conference leadership (Executive Director, Board Liaison, Conference Co-Chairs), and may include factors such as: employers who indicate they would like to attend, but cost is a factor; employers whose presence will likely attract other companies to the event; employers who agree to promote the conference among their employer networks. Approval must be provided by the Conference Liaison and Executive Director before each complimentary pass can be offered.  
  1. Programming

    Speaker Policies from MBA CSEA on Vimeo.

    Conference Policies Cheat Sheet: Speaker Policies

    Speaker categories are as follows:
  1. Keynote Speakers
    • Keynote speakers are able to attend the full conference complimentary if desired. Travel (including one night’s hotel room and transportation) can be reimbursed if needed per the speaker’s contractual agreement and price negotiation. Additional accommodations may be provided on a case-by-case basis, as approved by the Executive Director and Board Liaison.
    • Keynote speakers will submit their PowerPoint presentation, or other conference materials for review, three weeks in advance. This will help ensure keynote speakers are not vendors and do not deliver sales pitches during their presentation, as well as ensure that the content is not offensive.
    • Keynote speakers may bring a spouse or colleague to hear their presentation at no cost.
    • A list of recommended keynote speakers is reviewed by the board as well as the previous year's conference chairs before any asks or made. 
  2. Breakout Session Speakers
    • A speaker who presents a proposal to speak during a breakout session, either during the formal Call for Proposals process or via individual communication, is required to register and pay for their conference attendance, as well as their travel expenses. The assumption is that if a speaker approaches MBA CSEA, he/she is planning to attend the conference anyway, and will benefit from attending. 
    • With the advance approval of the Executive Director and Board Liaison to the Conference,, the Conference Committee can invite a limited number of school or employer member or non-member speakers (not including vendors/service providers) to present a breakout session on a topic where a gap in programming is established based on the strategic goals of the organization (i.e. an employer, faculty member, immigration attorney, etc.).Special attention will be paid to value-add and fit within overall programming content. These individuals do not typically receive funding for travel (local speakers should be approached first), but can participate in the conference at no cost during the day in which they are presenting (gala not included). If they want to stay for the full conference, they are required to pay the full registration fee. Exceptions may be made to pay for travel in rare cases where a gap in programming cannot be filled by those who are attending the conference. All exceptions must be approved by the Executive Director and Board Liaison. Whenever possible, paid attendees and MBA CSEA member organizations will be approached for speaking opportunities first. 
    • All breakout programs for the Global Conference will have at least one registered school or employer member (at the time of the conference) included in the speaker roster.  The programs committee will ensure that the presentation has educational merit. For the Asian and European Conferences, all programs must have an employer or school on the speaker roster. Efforts will be made to include members whenever possible. Exceptions may be made to this policy for non-member speakers with whom the organization has a strategic partnership (i.e. GMAC or AACSB), and/or those who do not qualify for membership (i.e. an immigration attorney or admissions representative).
    • Breakout programs which include a vendor as presenter will take place during a designated timeslot during the conference, which will be labeled as “Affiliate Partner or Vendor Presentations”. Programs must include a school or employer member of MBA CSEA, who may introduce the vendor and/or talk about their organization’s use of the product or service. Programs must include an educational, value-add component, but may also include a product demonstration. Vendors must present a proposal to speak, which must be approved by the committee. This will allow attendee expectations to be maintained, while providing opportunities for vendors to share knowledge and expertise. All vendors must be registered as a sponsor, exhibitor or affiliate participant in order to present. Conference leadership will determine a maximum number of vendor-presented sessions, and each session is subject to approval, based on the proposal presented.
    • The conference committee will provide a summary of session feedback from attendees to breakout session presenters within a reasonable timeframe after the conference.
    • The conference committee will provide a programming track for all attendees including employer, new and seasoned career services professionals and international attendees.
    • The Global Conference will include programming session slots in breakout scheduling for the following annual programs:  1) GMAC Corporate Recruiter Survey Results (presented in conjunction with the Research Committee); 2) Standards for Reporting MBA Employment Statistics Training (presented by Standards Committee); 3) Innovation Award session (hold space for selected awardee). Note: The Innovation Award session is not guaranteed to take place each year and is determined by the Awards Committee award winner. The European and Asian Conferences will include a programming session slot for the Standards for Reporting MBA Employment Statistics training.
    • The program proposal submission process will clearly communicate the criteria of being selected to present, membership status and acknowledgement that all participants MUST be paying attendees, exhibitors or affiliate participants.
  1. Sponsors & Exhibitors

    Vendor Policies from MBA CSEA on Vimeo.

    Conference Policies Cheat Sheet: Vendor Policies

    See section 2d. for the definition of vendors and 2.e for registration parameters for vendors.‚Äč

    1. There are no exhibit hall-only passes. Exhibitors must register for the full conference.
    2. Exhibitor packages may not be shared among two companies. Each person attending as a representative of a sponsor or exhibitor organization will solely represent that organization at the event. If a long-term employee of an organization also represents another vendor (as a side job, for instance), they may still attend as part of the original company’s package as long as they agree in writing to only represent the organization whose package they are registered with. Example: Company A purchases an Exhibitor Package and registers Person X and Person Y as part of that package. Person Y also happens to represent Company B on the side. Person Y has to agree in writing to only represent Company A while at the conference, as well as in all conference-related communications. Failure to comply with this policy will result in the company being required to pay an affiliate registration fee in order to attend the event.
    3. The conference committee will determine and publish a registration deadline for sponsors and exhibitors. After the deadline, new sponsors or exhibitors will be accepted on a case by case basis, after consultation with the Executive Director. Conference leadership will establish a final cutoff date for sponsor and exhibitor registration, after which no exceptions will be made. This assists with managing sponsor and exhibitor expectations on-site and maintaining consistency in the benefits offered for each package.
    4. First right of refusal for each individual sponsorship opportunity will be offered to sponsors from the previous year’s conference.
    5. Typically, the ability to provide a giveaway in conference registration bags is afforded only to those companies who have paid for the opportunity (as noted in the Sponsor & Exhibitor Prospectus). Exceptions may be made to this (when approved by the Executive Director) in cases where the item is a value-add and the company is not attending the conference. An example might be a restaurant coupon.

  2. Misc./General
    1. Conference attendee lists will be available to all registrants, via the conference website (with the exception of those who elect not to have their name listed, as per our Privacy Policy). The lists will not include attendee contact information. See MBA CSEA’s privacy policy for more information.
    2. The Conference Committee and the Board will discourage any organization or group from hosting an event or meeting during the conference that is not inclusive of all conference attendees, (either on-site or off).  The hotel will forward all requests for meeting space to the Executive Director. Approved activities should be planned during a time that is not in conflict with any conference activity.  Costs and all arrangements associated with the activity will be the sole responsibility of the organization requesting space. Organizations hosting a pre or post conference event will make separate arrangements with the hotel; advertise the workshop separate from the conference and in no way leverage or profit from the conference. 
    3. Conference Committee members will be selected from the active membership.  Individuals interested in working on the conference are required to be active paid members in the year of the conference and will pay full conference registration (if they are able to attend the conference).
    4. Gifts: For the Global and European Conferences, a small token of appreciation will be provided to the following conference speakers:
      - Invited keynote speakers who are not paid to speak
      - Plenary session speakers who are addressing the entire conference and are not paid to speak
      Gifts will not be provided for paid keynotes or breakout session speakers.
      Due to cultural expectations, small gifts will be provided for all speakers at the Asian Conference. The gifts will not exceed $15 each.  
    5. Local schools and employers will be discouraged from providing welcome gifts to all attendees in order to ensure uniformity and consistency with all represented organizations.
    6. Media Policy: The MBA CSEA considers conferences and media activities to be separate. As such, the conferences are not considered media events. The presence of media might inhibit sharing among conference participants. Individual requests from media should be directed to the Executive Director so that alternatives can be proposed.

Speaker Registration Outline

MBA CSEA strives to maintain high quality, relevant, member-focused programming at all conferences, working within resource and budget parameters and constraints. Being selected as a conference speaker provides individuals and companies with a promotional opportunity that enhances their brand among conference attendees, as well as an implied endorsement of their organization and the topic for which they are speaking. Past experience has demonstrated a need for consistency and oversight in order to maintain a strong programming offering. As a member-driven organization, MBA CSEA maintains policies for speaker attendance and registration in order to maintain consistency, quality and a preference for membership.
Conference programming is sourced in two ways:
  1. A submission from a presenter via a formal call for programs and/or individual outreach to the organization directly to encourage them to submit a proposal. In these cases, the assumption is that the speaker is planning to attend the conference anyway and would most likely benefit from attending. Therefore, no complimentary registration arrangements or travel reimbursements can be made.
  2. The Conference Committee invites speakers to participate. In these cases, some flexibility is provided in order to ensure the committee is able to obtain the quality of programming that is needed to meet organizational goals. Key decision-making factors include:
    1. Does the speaker qualify for membership (school, employer or affiliate)? See the web site or contact the Executive Director for specific member criteria/definitions.
      1. If the yes, the assumption is that the individual would benefit from attending and presenting at the conference and therefore should pay to attend. Exceptions can be made for employers in Europe and Asia, as long as conference policies are followed (see above) and the Executive Director approves the invitation (before the invitation is initiated).
      2. If not, exceptions can be made on an individual basis depending on the value-add that is provided. Examples include keynote and other paid/professional speakers, or individuals who work outside of career services/recruiting such as deans, faculty or company managers.
    2. Is the speaker a vendor (see definition above and on the organization’s web site)? All vendors must pay to attend the conference at the affiliate, exhibitor or sponsor rate (even if they are speaking). Vendors do not qualify as keynote or plenary speakers. Due to the high risk of product pitches and requests from conference attendees, this policy is firm and no exceptions can be made.