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MSM students celebrate the New Year with PechaKucha presentations

MBA30 students inspire audience with PechaKucha presentations at New Year’s event

This year, Maastricht School of Management decided to do something different to celebrate the New Year. Instead of hosting a traditional event with external keynote speakers, the school literally put its own students in the spotlight by giving them the floor and challenging them to present themselves in a creative and inspiring way to staff, friends and local partners and stakeholders.

Teaming up with the organizers of PechaKucha Maastricht, MsM took up thePechaKucha concept as a unique communication tool to help its students share their personal experiences, dreams and ideas with the local community.

PechaKucha was devised by Klein Dytham Architecture in Tokyo in 2003 as a fast-paced presentation format to showcase new ideas. The concept is simple yet effective: each speaker shows 20 slides, each for 20 seconds. PechaKucha events are now happening in over 700 cities across the globe and have grown into valued platforms for inspiration and networking.

During a preparatory session in early December 2013, two team members of PechaKucha Maastricht, Jean-Paul Toonen and Sueli Brodin, visited MsM to introduce the PechaKucha concept to the MBA students. Jean-Paul found the magical words to motivate them: “See this as your launching platform to the world.” The students’ reaction to the 20x20 presentation format was overwhelmingly enthusiastic, especially after they were given a chance to test their own creative skills by improvising a presentation on random slides.
 



It was a full audience of students, staff, partners in MsM’s mentorship program, members of the local business community and interested stakeholders who on 17 January came together to celebrate the New Year with a special and much anticipated PechaKucha session.

MsM Dean Director Wim Naudé kicked off the afternoon with a warm word of welcome and an informative overview of MsM’s activities and ambitions for the New Year. Ellen Narinx, MsM Career Center Senior Officer and coordinator of the Mentorship Program, then shortly explained the PechaKucha concept to the audience before inviting three students to take the stage.
 

 
The students, Vijay Wakchaure from India, Subhi Najjar from Syria and Abdul Iddrisu from Ghana, spoke in turn and conquered the audience with their authentic and vivid personal stories.

Vijay gave a candid and colorful comparison between his life in India and his experience in the Netherlands, stressing on the new and unexpected, at times even challenging things he had learned during his first three months at MsM. “I decided to face the audience from the bottom of my heart,” he said after the event. “My wife encouraged me and sent me a dress through courier. She told me to be dressed properly because dress code is also important when doing a public presentation. This experience also gave me a good opportunity to meet new people beyond my network.”

Subhi talked about his childhood dreams and how being sensitive to the signs that came along his path had helped him to convert his dreams into reality.“Giving a presentation at such level has always been a dream and thanks to you this dream came true. Now, I feel much more confident that I can deliver an excellent presentation when I have chance,” he said. “I believe that as MBA30 we are very lucky because beside receiving world class knowledge of management, we have been provided with other tools that really count and make all the difference in the world of business today.”
 



Abdul talked about all the meaningful moments he had experienced so far and the inspiring people he had met since arriving in Maastricht, expressing a sincere trust that his year at MsM would have a profound impact in his life.“I personally feel that PechaKucha was an opportunity for us to realize our potential and open the gates for us to sell ourselves and to discover new opportunities.”

The students’ inspiring presentations were followed by a moment of joyful entertainment and spontaneous laughter when four members of the audience were invited to do a collaborative PechaKucha improvisation on set of random slides.

 
With everyone in good spirits, the New Year event concluded with informal drinks and snacks in the MsM lounge and an announcement by Ellen that was met with a big round of applause: “Let’s make this first PechaKucha experience the start of a new tradition at MsM!”
 
By Sueli Brodin