The Student-led Conference is an initiative that aims to help students develop their leadership skills through real-world experience.
Each year, Imperial College Business School students have the opportunity to bid for funding to help them organise and host an event that captures current trends and developments in business. This year, the conference was entitled ‘Code to Care, and Everything in Between’. The team behind the conference was awarded the highly sought after £4,000 Student-led Conference grant to help bring their concept to life.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, this one-day, in-person conference aimed to engage, educate and inspire students interested in all aspects of health tech; from early stage development all the way through to delivery of patient-centred care.
As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and lockdown became a reality, the Code to Care Committee, made up of students from our MBA and MSc programmes, were determined to not to lose sight of their vision. Leveraging the power of technology, the event evolved into a week-long virtual conference and hackathon (29 June – 3 July 2020), consisting of keynotes, workshops, mentoring sessions, networking and an ideation hackathon.
In less than six weeks, the team successfully secured expert speakers, facilitators, judges, mentors and prizes from leading global organisations; including Capgemini UK, IBM Watson, Babylon, Novartis and Johnson&Johnson. The range of sessions facilitated during the event promoted cross-collaboration, bringing together individuals from different academic backgrounds, universities and countries, to tackle real-world health issues. Across the week, Code to Care recorded over 500 attendees and 175 hackathon participants from 28 international universities.
In recognition of their excellence in student leadership, the Code to Care organisers Tania Shetty and Beatrice Choremis were awarded the Dean’s Community Award 2020 for Inspiring Brilliant Minds.
Reflections from the organisers
Tania Shetty - Code to Care Chair, MSc International Health Management 2019-20
Organising an event during a global pandemic certainly provided some unique challenges, but I wouldn't have changed it for the world! As well as giving me the opportunity to enhance my leadership skills, I was thrown into unfamiliar situations where I was forced to think and act fast.
As someone who prefers having a solid plan, this tested my ability to be flexible and adapt, which in turn taught me a valuable lesson - change can be disruptive, but it can also provide unique opportunities. It's important to identify and seize these moments when they appear.
What started as a one-day, in-person conference, ended up as a week-long, virtual, cross-border event, and I'm extremely proud of what our team has achieved in less than six weeks! Working virtually while coordinating three different time-zones was far from easy, so I am incredibly grateful that I had a motivated and dedicated team, plus an amazing Vice-Chair to support me.
The whole experience has undoubtedly made me better equipped for the new realities of the working world.
I wholeheartedly recommend incoming students to seek out leadership opportunities like this one. I’ve grown both personally and professionally from this experience and it has taught me the importance of resilience and perseverance in achieving your goals.
Beatrice Choremis - Code to Care Vice-Chair, MSc International Health Management 2019-20
As Vice President of the Healthcare Careers Club this year, I was no stranger to event planning, teamwork, or corporate relations. However, the already challenging one-day conference quickly became more complex during the pandemic.
Our intense six-week timeline to plan both the conference and hackathon basically from scratch was actually motivating. I was forced to think outside of the box on ways to engage students and professionals, hone my project management and leadership skills, and be agile in problem solving the inevitable “uh-oh” moments. The hard work really paid off and we engaged way more students, professionals and alumni than we had ever imagined.
As proud as I am of the attendance numbers and the positive feedback we received, I am even more proud of my professional development in planning this event. Working through challenges in peer leadership, stakeholder engagement and operational logistics makes me feel more competent and ready to tackle difficult projects in my future career. I would highly recommend applying for the Student-led Conference grant to any Imperial College Business School Student.
‘The Code to Care hackathon was a tremendous experience, both exciting and eye-opening! Only after this hackathon did I realise the potential for communication between medicine and technology in providing life-changing and sustainable solutions. It’s an experience that has made me rethink my career prospects, and has made me even more optimistic about the wonderful opportunities that Imperial will have to offer!' - Emre Yavuz, MSc Translational Neuroscience 2020 offer holder
‘The Code to Care virtual conference at Imperial College Business School was a great introduction to the world of digital health in non-communicable disease management. Thanks to Tania Shetty and her team for getting the content and schedule spot on.’ - Amrit Lamba, Clinical & Managing Partner, Colindale Medical Centre
The Student-led Conference is just one of the many leadership opportunities available to students of Imperial College business school, regardless of their programme of study. Students of all our MBA and MSc programmes have access to a range of clubs, councils and initiatives to enhance their experience at the School and provide a foundation for future leaders to learn and develop their skills.