Matthaeus Fischer - Head of Symposium Oliver Harris - Head of Finance & Legal
(Co-founder) - RHUL (Co-founder) - RHUL#
Marie-Elisabeth von Bomhard - Head of Hildevert d'Harcourt - Director Design
Public Relations (Co-founder) - RHUL (Co-founder) - RHUL
Sascha Ruegg - Director IT & Webmaster Director of Public Relations - UCL University of Konstanz
What is the LES all about?
The guiding principle of the LES is to
bring together students and industry leaders to meet each other and engage in
constructive exchanges on important current issues. The LES 2013 was a
conference on the « road to recovery from the economic crisis » in a
global context, whereas the LES 2014 aimed to examine the strengths and
weaknesses of the EU and how best to address the challenges it is currently
Where did the idea behind the LES come
The idea started off with on-campus
events and we decided to increase our scope as we noticed that there is a lack
of international student/economics conferences in London. With the success
of LES 2013 we decided to hold an annual event and that is how LES 2014 came
about. Our upcoming event, LES 2015 is currently in the works.
How did the team behind the LES come
The LES co-founders met at Royal
Holloway and invited other Hollowegians to join as the initiative gained
momentum. The LES subsequently evolved to include inquisitive and engaged
students from universities across Europe and has kept a strong core of
University of London students within its ranks. For our 2014 event, we had a total
of 38 team members.
What were the major hurdles that you
faced and how did you overcome them?
Finding funding for our events has
always been a tricky and very necessary part of our work. It was difficult to
convince certain establishments as to the value of our idea - we were
determined to prove to them it would work. As such, we put together and
presented detailed proposals designed to eradicate any doubt in the minds of
potential financial backers. As dozens of applications for the event came in, as
well as the fact that we could capitalize on our track record of success, it
became easier for us to find funds for LES 2014 than it had initially been for
LES 2013. A critical hurdle was naturally securing high profile speakers,
however as a team we overcame this problem by sourcing our personal contacts,
networking at city events and liaising at given opportunities. Again, our
proven credentials were a great help too with this task.
How did you fund such an event?
The event was funded through corporate
sponsors, the European Commission, a circle of benefactors, academic
sponsorship from the School of management and last but not least, the RHUL
What has been your biggest
accomplishment in organizing the 2014 event?
Securing high profile speakers such as
Martin Gilbert (CEO and Founder of Aberdeen Asset Management), Jan Muehlfeit
(Chairman Europe Microsoft Corporation), Christa Markwalder (Vice-President of
the Swiss Council, Young Global Leader WEF and Head of Government &
Industry Affairs, Zurich Insurance Group, Switzerland), Lord Bilimoria (Founder
and Chairman of Cobra Beer) and Dr. Richard Corbett (Former MEP and Current
Advisor, European Council Cabinet) and many more. Other big accomplishments
included securing corporate sponsorship, media coverage and high attendance. It
was fantastic that all those who attended the symposium who we subsequently
talked with told us it had been a really big success.
What advice could you give to fellow
students who may be looking for follow suit?
Firstly, never give up despite the
hurdles you will face. Attend city events and use this to network. Also always
mobilize personal contacts and finally always remind yourself of the benefits
of holding a successful event.
What does the future hold for LES?
We are in the process of organizing next
year’s event (LES 2015) for which we have a really exciting list of speakers
and an incredible venue. As ever, more information can be found on our website