By Olga Kandinskaia

As Director of the CIIM MSc Business Management programme, I run every year an elective course called Corporate Live Case Project as part of our ‘Learning by Doing’ teaching philosophy. Even before the Covid-19 global pandemic, the rise in experiential learning has been a significant trend at the leading business schools worldwide. Prominent educators such as Dr Johan Roos, the Chief Strategy Officer at Hult International Business School, previously President of Copenhagen Business School and Dean of the Stockholm School of Economics, spoke passionately about the need of transformation in today’s business education: “We need to merge business experience and academia far more than now. Too much emphasis is now placed on theory vs. practice, ensuring that graduates are unprepared to deal with the complex problems of the world that companies actually inhabit. They lack meaningful, relevant business education that teaches them cross-disciplinary thinking, broad familiarity with humanistic and scientific trends, and, most importantly, Aristotle’s “phronesis” – the practical wisdom that teaches them to make decisions based on deep notions of what is good for the global community of which businesses are part.”

This year, the CIIM Live Case Project was organised in cooperation with Top Kinisis, the leading travel organisation in Cyprus that is also offering conference management services. The topic for the Live Case Project 2022 was “Future of Conference Services” where competing teams of students had the following objectives:

  1. Identify the global and local post-covid trends and constraints within the sector of conference services
  2. Evaluate the competitive position of Top Kinisis in Cyprus within the sector of conference services in the new post-covid environment
  3. Undertake market research to establish post-covid changes in consumer behaviour related to the sector of conference services
  4. Provide strategy recommendations for Top Kinisis to grow their conference services business in the next three years

The Live Case Project 2022 took place over January-February in the fully virtual mode – and in fact the teams chose to focus on the future of hybrid and virtual events. The global virtual events market was valued at $114.12 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound growth of 23.7% from 2020 to 2028, more than double the expected growth rate of the events industry overall. The global pandemic has caused a dramatic acceleration of technology adoption and digitalization. Global surveys of event professionals in 2021 showed that:

  • 97% believed that we will see more hybrid events in the future
  • 93% planned to invest in virtual and hybrid events moving forward
  • 92% believed that event software makes it easier to achieve business outcomes
  • 90% believed that technology can have a major positive impact on the success of their events
  • 68% were looking for hybrid event technology or software solution that supports both in-person and virtual events
  • 65% of respondents believed that tools to engage virtual attendees will play a key role in their future event strategies

The final presentations were delivered to the company executives on February 18, 2022. Elena Tanou, VP of Top Kinisis, commented: “We were very happy to continue our collaboration with CIIM from last year. This year, once again, we were highly impressed by all team presentations. They were of high professional level and were delivered with passion. Each team did a substantial market research, and all teams managed to raise very interesting issues for us.”

Congratulations to the members of the three presenting teams:

Team 1: Azar John (MSc BIDA), Christophidou Chrystalla (MSc HRM&OB), Leong Kah Chau (MSc BM)
Team 2: Ellina Eleni (MSc FS), Gettos Vaggelis (MSc HRM&OB), Kasapi Mariella (MBA), Paphiti Christiana (MBA), Yerolemou Elena (MBA)
Team 3: Hassan Ibrahim (MSc FS), Mbah Ifeoma (MBA), Panayiotou Gregoris (MSc BM), Tassy Elena (MSc HRM&OB)

The company has selected team 2 as the winner of the 2022 Live Case Project. We are happy to give our congratulations to the students of the winning team!

“Given the uncertain, rapidly changing and challenging environment nowadays, learning by doing is more valuable than ever. Industry and academia – by joining forces – could facilitate mutual learning via real life projects, creating value for all stakeholders involved. Working with our tutor Dr Olga Kandinskaia was like having a map and a compass, equipped with clear directions to get back on track, despite deviations, yet with adequate flexibility and autonomy to explore and learn along the way, individually and collectively,” commented Christiana Paphiti from the winning team 2. “What has made this course special was that we learned how to work in a team to better understand the real needs of the company. It felt more like having a project at work rather than at the School and I am glad for choosing this course as one of my Elective courses,” continued her teammate Mariella Kasapi, while Eleni Ellina added: “It is with great enthusiasm that I have participated in the Live Project Case of Top Kinisis. It is a demanding but very satisfying journey that I would strongly suggest to every student to join in!”

“Through this elective course, I was encouraged to apply the academic knowledge and at the same time I learned how a live case presentation to a CEO is very different from a case we present as students in one of our courses intended for learning outcomes. Also, I was excited to be given an opportunity to interview Dr George Theocharides, Chairman of CySEC, as part of my field research in this project,” noted Ibrahim Hassan from team 3.

“Dr Olga offered us weekly mentoring sessions – guiding us from the very beginning of this project until the very end. She helped us develop important skills such as presentation skills, research skills, collaboration, and others. These skills not only helped us with this project, but are vital skills that can be used elsewhere, including further education and the workplace. I want to thank also Artemios Mallas, CIIM MSc Business Management graduate, invited by Dr Olga for a mentoring session in this project. Back in 2016, Artemios was the leader of the team that won in the Live Case Project organised by CIIM in collaboration with Medochemie. Artemios helped us focus on tangible ideas rather than scattered suggestions which might be impossible to implement by the company,” said John Azar, member of team 1.
CIIM would like to use the opportunity of this article to express sincere appreciation of the Top Kinisis’ collaboration to support the business education process.

Dr Olga Kandinskaia is Associate Professor of Finance and Director of MBM – MSc in Business Management at CIIM
She is a recipient of Cyprus Education Leaders Awards 2020 for her innovative “Learning by Doing” method in the CIIM MBM programme.
Email: [email protected].

Hybrid Events Post Covid