Global Conference: Programs

The Programs Subcommittee has the important responsibility of assisting with the selection of the educational programming for the conference, and therefore should be diverse and representative of all areas of MBA CSEA membership, including: small and large schools, ranked and unranked schools, international schools, part-time programs, specialty masters programs, employer members, directors, seasoned professionals, and any other target segments as defined by the organization. 

Speaker category definitions are included in the Conference Policies.

There are numerous logistical details involved with management of the sessions, and therefore it is recommended that each committee member take on the responsibility of one or two sessions and handle the responsibility for those sessions from start to finish.

Keynote & Plenary Speakers

  • Work with the selected keynote speaker to discuss relevant topics and ensure the audience is considered in the presentation development. The committee will brainstorm topics and speakers and send to the Executive Director and Board Liaison for approval before making outreach.Topics for all plenary sessions must appeal to all subsets of MBA CSEA membership (employers, career coaches, employer relations, new and seasoned profesionals, specialty masters, etc.)
  • Obtain the speaker’s bio and picture (keynotes only) and write the session description for marketing purposes Enter the information into the conference schedule in Smartsheet for use on the web site and in the printed program. Be sure all information is edited and final before submitting.
  • Select the topic and speakers for the plenary session. Local speakers and/or members who will be attending the conference anyway are preferred. See the Conference Policies for more details about speaker rules. 
  • If working with a panel, schedule a phone call with panelists in advance to discuss the specifics and questions that will be asked.
  • Obtain the speaker’s A/V needs and travel schedule, and enter the information into the schedule in Smartsheet. 
  • Make sure the speaker registers for the conference. Keynote speakers and others who receive a complimentary pass will be registered administratively by the Executive Director. See the Conference Policies for specific information about speaker registration policies.
  • Work with speaker on-site to make sure they arrive on time and that needs are met.
  • Speaker outreach best practices:
    • Templates are provided in OneDrive to assist with outreach.
    • Make sure it's clear what type of obligation we are asking the speaker for (are they the primary presenter, a panelist, etc.).
    • Discuss the registration arrangements with the Executive Director in advance to ensure there is agreement about whether the speaker will be paid or if they will be expected to register.
    • Generally, only one ask is made of a potential speaker at a time, with a deadline for the requested response. This helps maintain a positive reputation for the organization and avoids an uncomfortable situation if more than one speaker confirms for the same spot.

Breakout Sessions

Note: The functional sessions that divide attendees up by job function are managed by the MBA CSEA Resource Groups and not part of the Programs Committee's responsibilities.

Step 1: Solicit Program Proposals

  • MBA CSEA utilizes online software program to collect and review submissions for program proposals. The Executive Director will send the communication to the membership.
  • Two deadlines are used for program submissions, with proposals submitted by the first deadline receiving priority in the selection process.
  • The Board Liaison and Executive Director will provide the committee with a list of the ideal number of sessions for each target audience, based on the board's goals and the available meeting space. 
  • After the first deadline for proposal submissions has passed, the committee may invite speakers to present topics in areas that have been identified as areas of focus by the board, but do not have enough session submissions according to the board's target list (i.e. employers). In some cases, complimentary conference registrations can be offered for speakers the committee would like to invite. Obtain approval from the Executive Director before reaching out to speakers, per the Conference Policies. The ED and Board Liaison will coordinate outreach to invited speakers, and committee members will be encouraged to help coordinate specific sessions.

Step 2: Review Breakout Session Proposals

  • Session reviewers are selected to make sure there is diversity in the selection process. Committee members will be part of the team, as well as others identified based on gaps within the committee.
  • The Executive Director provides each reviewer with a login to the Call for Programs software, and instructions for how to review each session.
  • Session reviewers are asked to rate each session within the software using the following criteria:
    • Proposal quality - how well is the proposal organized? Is it complete? Are there grammatical errors or other concerns? This provides an idea of how organized the session will be. 
    • Newness/Diversity of topic -  the committee should make sure there is a wide range of topics presented, including those that are new, innovative, thought-provoking, and have never been presented at a conference before.
    • Relevancy/fit within the organization’s mission and strategic goals, as communicated to the committee by the Board Liaison and Executive Director. 
    • Level of interaction with conference participants. Attendees like to share information and interact, rather than listening to a lecture.
    • Appeal of topic - how practical and actionable is the topic? Will it appeal to our membership?
    • Presenter qualifications - what credentials does the presenter have that makes them an expert on this topic?
In addition to that, reviewers should pay attention to the following criteria (comments can be added to the write-in portion of the review software). These items are not part of the decision-making process regarding proposal acceptance, but they provide guidance regarding additional information the committee may seek from speakers. 
  • Title:  Is the title clear and easy to understand?  Is the title catchy and compelling? 
  • Summary Does the summary clearly communicate what a participant will learn in the session and why they should attend?  Is it easy to scan, and does it make one want to attend this session?
  • Intended Audience Do the selected target audiences match the content that will be covered?  Are there additional target audiences that this content might be relevant to?
  • Presenter(s):  For sessions where schools are the sole presenter, would it make sense to add an employer to co-present to broaden the target audience?  For sessions with a vendor as a presenter, are they paired with a school and/or employer?
  • Frequency: Generally, we try not to have more than one breakout session from each vendor, and no more than two from the same employer or school.

Step 3: Select Breakout Sessions

  • Once the reviews are complete, the Executive Director will download a report that includes all reviewer comments and send it to the committee co-chair. A tracking document will also be created in Smartsheet to keep track of the status of each session.
  • A smaller group within the Programs Committee that is working on breakout session makes recommendations for session selections based on the results of the reviews. The ED will add notes to the report regarding "must have" edits or additional information that may be needed before accepting a proposal. Special attention should also be paid to the reviews completed by employers for the sessions that include employers as a target audience (i.e., if employers indicate that the session does not apply to them, employers will be removed as a target audience unless significant changes are made to the session content). The Executive Director approves all accept/edit/reject decisions. If a committee member submits a proposal to present, he/she ideally would not be a part of this group. If it's necessary for them to participate, they will not be a part of the conversation when their session is reviewed. 
  • For sessions that involve vendors, a separate group of board members will review based on the Conference Policies.