I spoke to a thousand people on Saturday; I have spoken to similar sized, and even larger, audiences before but not very often, so it was pretty scary. My three rules in those circumstances: know your audience, do your preparation, and refer back to anyone who has spoken before you, or things that have happened that very day, so that you can localise your comments and show your audience that you are intimately connected with them.
I was in the Hyatt hotel in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad, and the audience were all the students who had graduated with degrees in the last year, after studying with our learning partner the School of Business and Computer Science in Trinidad. We are not the only partner of SBCS, who also teach courses for four other UK universities, all of who were represented at the ceremony. All of us spoke, and then after each of us had finished, a top-performing student from our university made a vote of thanks. In my case the vote of thanks was given by Allison Lewis, who graduated with our MSc Marketing (distinction).
Trinidad is 4,390 miles from Edinburgh but I was at pains to tell the students that, like EBS students everywhere, they are not just a remote add-on to the home campus. 95%+ of our students are not in Edinburgh, and we celebrate our diversity and geographical coverage every day. Every one of our students and alumni, wherever they are in Edinburgh, Dubai or Malaysia, are welcome to visit our campuses and keep in touch with our community. An extra special treat will be when we open Panmure House next year, and I hope we will welcome many of you to come and see it. The former home of Adam Smith, it where he revised his famous book the Wealth of Nations, and where he died. He is buried in Canongate churchyard nearby.
Adam Smith did his own undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow, and then won a scholarship for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford. He didn’t like Oxford much, and wrote to his friends complaining about the teaching. I shared this story with the graduating class in Trinidad, because unlike Smith, they have had world-class teaching from Dr Robin Maraj, the CEO of SCBS, and his staff.
Their teaching is so good that we work with them to deliver MBA revision classes online, making the best teachers in Trinidad available for students over the world. We have 29 revision series running in late October/November covering all the core courses and 11 electives, running at various times October 22 to November 15. More details from Sandy Elliot.
One little aside – among our graduates in Trinidad was Daren Ganga, the former West Indies test cricketer and Trinidad captain. He now has his own business (hence the MBA!) and sponsors women’s’ cricket, to make sure that others have the support and opportunity that he had. Yet another high achieving EBS graduate, to join so many others who are making and will continue to make, a massive impact on the world. Here is a picture of us together at the post-graduation reception.
Finally, back in Scotland, I am delighted to share that we are a month in to the new, full-time on-campus MBA with entrepreneurship, and the students who have joined us have embarked on their studies with enthusiasm. The on-campus MBA now incorporates a series of company visits and visiting speakers, and several personal development workshops. We shall be recruiting a new cohort for September 2018, and at the same time rolling the programme out to Dubai. I plan to invite them to blog about their experiences form time to time, so everyone around the world can get to know them as well as everyone in Edinburgh does.