With five speaker events a year, Speaker Series is one of the most dynamic events of Aureus. Throughout these events, Speaker Series aims to address current business and society related topics.
Over the two years of its existence, Speaker Series has developed a broad spectrum of possibilities with regard to the structure of its events. Ranging from a one-speaker structure to a panel discussion and from debates to inspirational talks by students. All events we organize are flexible in their structure and are carefully constructed in cooperation with our speakers.
What is Speaker Series
Speaker Series is a committee that organises a range of speaker events throughout the academic year. By acquiring top speakers that are both nationally and internationally focused, we are able to provide broadly interesting, often English, events for all students.
The committee, and therefore its events, fall under the wing of Aureus, the study association of the School of Business and Economics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Though, they are not limited to economic and business themes, or the association its audience. While the events often have a somewhat business taste, Speaker Series’ main focus is providing interesting speaker events to all students, whether it is politically, socially or business related. This provides the committee not only with the chance to host great people from different industries, but also to provide the students with the opportunity to get in touch with speakers and topics they are interested in, and bring their knowledge to a new level. Furthermore, a student’s interest is often not limited to what he or she is studying. A business student often has many more interests than just business-related topics. This applies not only to business students of course, but to all students. A science student may be interested in business or the certain political topic that we are focusing on. Therefore, we do not limit our audience to students of the School of Business and Economics, but open it to all students at the Vrije Universiteit, or in particular cases, even all students in Amsterdam.
The committee members are all students that are doing this on a voluntary basis, seeking some extra challenges next to their general academic schedule, and hereby obtaining a set of organisation skills. They all divide the functions of controller, marketing, acquisition, secretary and of course chairman, amongst them. Although in reality, every member gets an all-round experience of all the aspects of the organisation of an event. The committee organises these events down to the finest detail. Every year, a new committee will be selected to continue the challenge and the fun of organising new Speaker Series. Because a new committee is selected every year, the content of the Speaker Series is also subject to change. The events are influenced by the students’ own interests and that is what makes every year unique. They all take a chance of writing their own history.
In order to provide the students with the chance to ask personal questions to the speaker invited, a Q&A and a network drink is almost always included after the event. This is the time for students to take the opportunity to learn more about the topics by engaging in a discussion with fellow students and the speakers themselves. This is also a perfect opportunity for students to expand their network, while enjoying a drink. It appears that this networking drink is just as important and just as much enjoyed as the actual event, as most interesting questions are in fact answered in here. The open and non-demanding atmosphere that the students create, is definitely key to this. On top of this, it is also the perfect time for the committee members themselves, to evaluate, and more importantly, enjoy the event that they have built together.
As students are very flexible, they provide the programme with its fair share of flexibility. Whether the concept of an event is thought of by the committee first, or a top speaker has shared his or her interest in taking the stage and the concept is thought of after, everything is possible! Another aspect that is taken into account when thinking of a new event, is the social and societal programme for the academic year; are the Olympic Games playing a role for example. What is nationally or internationally scheduled, can be of great interest to students. This is also how the idea of an election debate was born, for instance. By organising an event on a politically upcoming and relevant date, we not only turned our Speaker Series event in a major success, but also helped our students make an informed decision on their vote.
Yet, our events are not only limited to on-stage speakers. The committee also organises visits at different embassies. These visits can revolve around a theme, have guest speakers, or just be about the visit itself. For unique events such as these, the target group for the event depends on the content of the visit. Moreover, the number of students that we are able to invite on the visit with us, is often limited. Therefore, the committee can either choose to promote it as a private event for a master programme, open it to all junior students, or open it up as a public general event. The committee values the relationships with the embassies very highly, as they make it possible to provide the students with an incredibly unique event, and have a great time cooperating with people in such a unique field.