Many of us cannot wait for the moment when we come together again and interact with those many friends and colleagues that we have met over the years at different EFMD activities. The warmth and joy of connecting with people is what many of our conference participants see as the number one reason why they come to EFMD events. We value the inspiring moments while networking and exchanging with you during our conferences as much as you do.

And this year will be no exception. The need to hear from colleagues from outside your home institution and reciprocate ideas with them may even be more important than ever in these unprecedented times, as business schools try to navigate the COVID-19 crisis and strive to re-invent themselves.

This 31 August-2 September, we aspire to bring you an immersive and inspiring 2020 Online EFMD Annual Conference without any travel risk. Providing our members with a forum for exchange while guaranteeing their health and safety is our utmost priority.

While most of us are now used to online meetings and webinars, we may not yet be totally comfortable with the format. Or, we may still harbour some reservations about their value as compared to activities held in person, and still be exploring the full potential for truly connecting with others on a virtual platform. So, our challenge was clear: design a valuable experience and, in particular, ensure that participants will still be able to come together, share and reconnect in a meaningful way in an online environment.

Keep an eye out for some of the elements that will enhance your conference experience:

  1. The majority of our sessions are in a built-in workshop format. This means participants will see each other on camera and sessions will integrate elements that facilitate interaction and engagement of participants through small working groups, whiteboard work, word clouds or polls.
  2. Although it is possible to engage participants for longer with well-designed sessions, we have decided to keep our conference sessions to a maximum of one hour to make sure no one suffers “Zoom fatigue.”
  3. We will offer matchmaking and improved one-to-one virtual networking. By completing a quick poll, you will be matched with participants that have similar interests to you. It will also be easy for you to reach out to participants – by clicking on a name in the participants’ list, you will be able to reach out to old friends or find new ones.
  4. Gamification elements will help you make the most out of the conference experience. Are you already aiming to be on that leader board?
  5. Finally, as always, we will deliver high-end topical content that is relevant to the EFMD community. The conference theme of “Embracing the future: a new mandate for business schools” could not be more on point. We are so excited about our keynote speakers Nandani Lynton, Chief Transformation Officer, Siemens Power Generation Services, and leadership thinker Dan Pontefract.

Online conferences offer more flexibility to explore topical content with a shorter lead time to the event, this provides new opportunities for our community members to be heard. Should you wish to discuss a particular topic with your peers, you can either post it on the conference platform or let us know, and we could still integrate it into one of our discussion roundtables.

We are confident the EFMD Annual Conference will leave you inspired and enable you to tap into new opportunities. Still, as with onsite conferences, the more you invest as a participant, the more you get out of it. Even in the online environment, we encourage you to familiarise yourself with the conference platform before the event starts and keep your agenda free throughout all of the conference days. During the conference, switch off your phone and work e-mail, and switch on your web-camera to be ready to share your own thoughts or experiences and, above all, to connect!

It will be our pleasure to meet you soon on screen!

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