International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) held the first online alumni event on March 14th, 2020. More than 40 alumni, staff and guests participated in the online gathering.
The event started with a welcome speech from Professor Jorg Bley, Dean of IBSS. Professor Bley expressed his warm welcome to the alumni and introduced the remarkable achievements of IBSS in recent years. IBSS became the youngest business school in the world to receive double accreditation from AACSB and EQUIS. He then went on to mention Taicang Campus which is under construction, which would strengthen the connection with XJTLU and industry. Professor Bley then noted the continuous increase of XJTLU’s brand and reputation would be beneficial to an alumni’s career development. Professor Bley also emphasized that IBSS always welcome alumni to return to their alma mater for further study to constantly enhance their skills.
Mr Douglas Shearer, Business Engagement Manager of IBSS, introduced the potential collaboration opportunities with IBSS, especially in-company projects and executive education (including customized and open enrollment programmes and the summer school). He introduced IBSS in-company consultancy projects that could offer strategy advice from operations, finance, and marketing perspectives for each company. The advice would be delivered by an IBSS Postgraduate student team and an academic advisor.
Ms Hailu (Helen) Hou, Senior Alumni Relations officer of IBSS, introduced alumni benefits, including a series of free alumni events, lifelong career support and access to the university’s online and on-campus facilities. XJTLU and IBSS will provide continuous support to alumni whenever they need. For example, IBSS alumni can attend the monthly Suzhou Executive Academy (SEA) seminars for free; enjoy a 50% discount for next open enrollment programmes and 20% discount on PG tuition fee. Furthermore, we welcome alumni to give back to support the development of the University and the School, such as introducing work placement or employment opportunities to current students, etc.
Dr Raymond Young, who is the programme director for MSc Project Management at IBSS, gave a presentation sharing how to improve project management skills. Dr Young emphasised research that showed project management success is not closely related to project success and the need to rethink project management education to emphasise project success. Currently, the emphasis was on project management certifications that taught people technical skills. However, people and strategy skills are also needed and equally important to achieve project success. Dr Young introduced a personal competency assessment tool he hoped would be integrated into IBSS courses and suggested that people should take short courses to address their weak areas. He added the MSc Project Management programme at IBSS consisted of core courses and additional learning activities, which could be customised to focus individuals on their areas of greatest competency needs.
In the Q&A session, Dr Young advised project managers to get their technical certifications as quickly as possible and at the lowest cost and then join a project management professional organization to network and stay up to date. Besides, he highlighted the responsibility of project managers is to do more than making projects come in on-time and on-budget; they needed to help the organisation realize the expected benefits of the project (project success).
In the last session, alumni joined in the online chat room to share their university experience and work experience. They exchanged their views on how to improve work efficiency, how to work effectively from home and how to improve communication skill from their personal experiences.
Throughout this alumni event, the connection between alumni themselves has also been established and strengthened, confirming their sense of belonging to the IBSS Community.
By Linlin Xie