Talk about the future landing on our doorsteps. Last week, Stewart Butterfield, the CEO of Slack, came on Twitter to say he used to believe the inevitable switch from email inboxes to work channels would happen in 5-7 years. That’s until Covid-19 spread like wildfire around the globe forcing organisations to gear up for remote working overnight. Slack became everyone’s favourite working tool as many fast-forwarded their digital plans.
We can relate to that. In just two weeks, EFMD and Highered rolled up their sleeves to build and deliver a career fair in China – in a virtual environment.
It’s a testament to the power of EFMD’s network that we can unite and stand together at a time when Schools and students look to re-create their experience in new ways. Individually, Schools might struggle with resources to switch all of their activities to an online environment in just a matter of days. But together we can do so much more – including building a career fair to the benefit of all.
And this is just the first of the EFMD Virtual Career Fair Series by Highered. So far, we have 30 other fairs in the pipeline from spring to autumn, so students and alumni can continue to connect and pursue their career and recruitment goals. The fairs cover six major sectors – tech, banking & finance, consulting, biotech/pharmaceutical, FMCG, energy – with gatherings scheduled for all regions of the globe.
We kicked off the China event on March 24th with more than 150 schools, over 50 companies and nearly 1700 individual participants.
What we learnt is that a virtual gathering isn’t just another temporary solution for when a pandemic strikes and travel becomes impossible.
The greatest learning is how productive and purposeful a virtual career actually is.
At nearly 2,000 participants, job hunters’ attendance was exponentially higher than normal. And there are new features being added all the time – in the next few editions companies will be able pre-select job hunters in advance, with data that speaks to inclusion and diversity strategies as well as the sets of skills companies are looking for.
Company experience seems significantly improved too in a virtual environment: take large supermarket chain Carrefour. They met up with far more students than they’d normally do. Their webinar alone was attended by more than 120 participants from 60 schools in 12 countries, a chance for the company to share their culture, values, core graduate programmes and recruitment processes.
Xi Chen, Global Learning & Development Manager at Carrefour, said of the experience: “We had such high attendance to our seminar, thanks to Highered and EFMD’s ability to reach out to a strong network of schools around the world.”
A spokesperson for Bentley University said: “Thank you for all that you are doing in these very unprecedented times when our international students are in need of additional support, guidance and care. I look forward to hearing about future programming!”.
The series continues with weekly events throughout the spring and summer.