Conference Policies: Vendors
MBA CSEA strives to maintain high quality, relevant, member-focused experiences at all conferences and other events, working within resource and budget parameters and constraints. The following policies help provide an equitable and meaningful experience for all participants, including sponsors, exhibitors and other vendors. Note: while these policies are housed within the Conference Policies, they apply equally to all MBA CSEA events (webinars, virtual round tables, regional forums, etc.)
Definition of a Vendor
A vendor is any company that has products or services to sell to our school or employer members, whose target audience is our membership and/or primary business is the career services or recruitment marketplace. If a company does not qualify for school or employer membership, it is likely a vendor. Service providers, consultants, headhunters and third party recruiters are considered vendors.
When thinking about what qualifies as a vendor, company type and primary business is more important than intent. If a vendor indicates that they don't intend to sell anything while at the conference, they are still considered a vendor.
Vendors may participate in conferences as a sponsor, exhibitor, or affiliate participant. Registration rates for each option vary by year and event. They may also present as part of a webinar or virtual round table as long as the criteria below are met.
Vendors may participate as a speaker at a conference, webinar, round table or other event if the following criteria are met:
- At conferences, vendors can present during breakout sessions only (not as a keynote or plenary session speaker). They can also present during a webinar/round table throughout the year, which are managed by the Virtual Programming Committee.
- They must co-present with a school or employer member, and that member must submit the proposal to speak through the Call for Proposals system for conferences (for webinars, the vendor can be identified through the committee process). This helps ensure the policies are followed and there is a value-add component to the session.
- The session must be entirely educational/value-add. There must not be any product pitches (explicit or implicit). The vendor may mention their company name as part of their bio and to establish their expertise, but the company should not be mentioned at other times during the session. This is based on feedback from members, as well as a desire to provide equal opportunity for all vendors.
- The session cannot focus on the vendor's product or service. Participants must be able to gain knowledge and takeaways from the session even if they aren't able to use the vendor's product or service. The vendor's participation in the session should be to provide value and share expertise, but not to talk about their product or service. The school or employer presenters should not focus the session on how they use the vendor's product or service (this is an implicit product pitch).
- Vendors must be an affiliate member for six months or attend an MBA CSEA conference before presenting a session. This allows them to get to know our members and enhance the value-add they are providing.
- Vendors who speak at a breakout session or webinar/round table will sign an agreement acknowleding that they have read and will follow the policies.
Additional Conference Policies
- There are no exhibit hall-only passes. Exhibitors/sponsors must register for the full conference.
- Exhibitor/sponsor packages may not be shared among multiple 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.
- 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 rare case by case basis upon approval from the Executive Director. After the final cutoff date for sponsor and exhibitor registration, 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.
- First right of refusal for each individual sponsorship opportunity will be offered to sponsors from the previous year’s conference.
- 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 (and CSEA members are not the company's target audience). An example might be a restaurant coupon. Exceptions may also be made if all of the following criteria are met:
- The giveaway must be professional development in nature and of direct value to our members on an individual basis (personally or professionally). In other words, it can’t be a book that’s only geared toward students. It would need to be valuable to our members as well.
- There must be no action required on the part of the recipient. For example, it can’t be a free one-year subscription to a product where the recipient must enter their contact information to take advantage of the offer.
- They must provide enough of the item for all attendees.
- MBA CSEA must approve the item in advance.
- Sponsors may not host public or private events for conference attendees during the conference activities or programming (including pre- and post-conference sessions). Doing so compromises conference attendance and minimizes the work of the conference committee.
- MBA CSEA reserves the right to deny future conference attendance to individuals who behave in an inappropriate or disrespectful way to staff and/or volunteers, as well as companies who violate the Vendor Policies.
The following three-minute video provides a high-level walk through of the Vendor Policies.