Global Leadership Summit: 2015 Recap

First-of-its-kind event and the largest-ever BGS gathering

Over the course of four intensive days, more than 350 business students and professionals gathered to share their strengths and expertise for the Beta Gamma Sigma Global Leadership Summit in Orlando, Florida. 304 top business students from 14 countries represented 155 schools at the Summit, making for a truly global and collaborative experience. On hand were more than 60 speakers, sponsors, and BGS board and staff members to guide students throughout the conference.

Strengths-based program focused on building leadership skills and powerful teams

Before the Summit, students were asked to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder® assessment to identify their top five strengths. These unique strengths profiles guided the rest of their time at the event, and will continue to serve them in their ongoing educational and professional journeys.

Jayne Jenkins, founder and CEO of the Churchill Leadership Group, kicked off the GLS with an in-depth session on understanding the various 34 availablestrengths and how they relate to one another. With this knowledge, students were sent out with a mission: Relate your strengths to the lessons you’ll learn during the rest of the Summit; leverage your best assets in group work challenges; and take time to reflect on the value of your talents.

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Lasting connections between students, alumni, and speakers

As with any conference, a key benefit is the networking opportunity. At the GLS, friendships were formed among attendees regardless of age, location, or experience. Connections transcended the ordinary as students bonded with their peers during a variety of group exercises and projects. They also took advantage of finding new personal mentors and professional guides in BGS alumni, guest speakers, and exhibitors. Every day of the Summit, students could be found chatting with these seasoned business leaders, who were exceptionally generous with their time and resources.

Keynote speaker, Peter Ruppe, SVP of footwear at Under Armour, was a crowd favorite for his empathic approach to team leadership. Drs. Alyssa Preston, Tim Clipson, Jim Weeks, and Pam Cash all wowed students with their warm, down-to-earth attitudes. These experts coached students in understanding themselves as leaders and using proven tactics to improve their interpersonal communication skills. William Smith, founder of #HashtagLunchBag, related to students with dynamism and humor on the topics of personal branding and social awareness. Military veteran and VP of Sound Physicians, Joshua Szarek, emphasized the many benefits of maintaining a “Positive Mental Approach” in the workplace and beyond. Alfonzo Alexander, president of NASBA Center for the Public Trust, clearly illustrated the case for individual responsibility and the need for a robust culture of ethical business practices.  And Dr. Alex Sevilla of the University of Florida talked about effective communication with a practical understanding of emotional intelligence in leadership. Indeed, every speaker at the Summit received high praise and sincere engagement from their audience.

Practical information and resources for the future

Along with talks meant to inspire, students attended sessions full of concrete support for their next steps in school and business. Dr. Tom Robinson, president and CEO at AACSB International, explained the future of business education and the lifelong value of attending an AACSB-accredited school. Young BGS alumni who have quickly advanced their careers talked about what to expect after graduation and how to navigate professional life challenges. Recruiters from top firms KPMG, Enterprise, and GEICO guided the very popular Q&A panel on how to land a great job. And the Summit career and college fair hosted 26 representatives from top employers and business schools around the country.

The GLS concluded with a case study competition sponsored by KPMG. The competition tasked students with putting their strengths, new knowledge, and team building skills to the test. Divided into four different scenario categories, groups of eight to 12 students collaborated on solutions to hypothetical business challenges. While creating an innovative business proposition was one part of the task, the students were told to focus on “process over product.” Panels of judges (composed of event speakers and BGS staff and board members) evaluated each team’s ability to solve problems, communicate effectively, and leverage individual and collective strengths. The winning teams from each scenario group then presented to the entire Summit their proposals—as well as the journeys that brought them to a solution. The result was a culmination of the many lessons gleaned from the previous three days.

Going forward after the Summit

Response to the inaugural GLS has been resoundingly positive. With the help of a specially-designed program app, students submitted real-time feedback throughout the four days, resulting in an overall 4.2 rating (out of five) for the event. The success of the event and demand for another Global Leadership Summit is evident. We’re excited to make it even bigger and better for our “Best in Business” members again next year. 

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