May 2020

Business School students attend virtual conference packed with digital experts

Read time: approx 2 mins

Hundreds of students logged onto a virtual conference to receive pearls of wisdom from the brightest business minds and digital experts as part of the University’s commitment to enhancing online teaching during lockdown.

Andy Street CBE, West Midlands’ Mayor and former MD of John Lewis, was among the speakers at UP:LOAD Digital Futures 2020, giving students on degrees within the University’s Business School the chance to pick the brains of industry practitioners, policymakers and academics from the safety of their homes.

The free, day-long conference, organised by Business School lecturers Gillian McCurdy, Narinder Singh and Paul Atkins, focused on digital trends and strategies within the cultural, events, tourism and hospitality sector. It also looked at the latest developments in online business and media technology, with students enrolling via the University’s online platform, Canvas.

Following Andy’s keynote speech, students got to hear from the likes of Nick Hall, founder and CEO of the Digital Tourism Think Tank, Ruth Green, digital public relations consultant, and Dr Wasim Ahmed, lecturer in digital business at Newcastle University. 

Adding to the mix were Laura Miele and Ryan Bayliss, co-founders of Save As Agency, Marianne Pollock, director of marketing innovation at Hormel Foods International, and Emma Kirby, event manager at Wilderness Festival.

There was also a pre-recorded presentation from Yiannis Maos, founder of Birmingham Tech Week, as well as insight from lecturers and fascinating research project presentations from the University’s master’s students.

Paul Atkins said: “We are striving to ensure our students continue to receive the best education during the Covid-19 crisis, and this was such an excellent opportunity to listen to and engage with those at the cutting edge of digital innovation.

“Many of our speakers were able to give our students a fresh perspective on what the graduate economy might look like post-lockdown. I know a lot of our students appreciated this perspective.

“Around 100 students logged into each live session and many more watched on playback, too. We have had some excellent feedback from many of these students.” 

Dean of the Business School Dilshad Sheikh added: “This was an absolutely fantastic event, what a great way to bring the academic year to a close.

“We wanted to ensure that our students continued to engage with industry professionals despite the current challenging circumstances, giving them the confidence that the industry sectors that we serve have robust Covid-19 recovery plans.

“The engagement level of all of our students throughout the day was outstanding and I am very proud of all students and staff involved.”

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