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The IOD and the Young Directors Forum

Six LSBU Students apply their knowledge gained at university to make a real world impact within The Institute of Directors Young Directors Forum

Six London South Bank University (LSBU) Students took on the heinous feat of engaging in a six month project alongside their studies. The result of the project was a clear development of the students’ skills, knowledge and attitudes towards the business world application of their teachings at university.

So what is the YDF?

The Young Directors Forum (YDF) is a platform for young directors and future leaders with the shared vision of creating events that fit their interests and needs whilst providing experiences and networking opportunities whilst engaging their minds with the core business topics of today and tomorrow.

Tomasz Letniowski has been the Chair of the YDF for 18 months and has seen it grow and become ever more important to SMEs and start-ups in developing their skills to run successful enterprises. Due to the rapid growth, he has involved six LSBU students to assist the committee with organising events, social media and promotional activities. His experience so far is: “the six students now have an understanding of the YDF, which is almost at the same level as that of the regular committee members. What has been created by the students in the past six months are experiences business leaders would value in every graduate.”

How did the Project with LSBU start?

London South Bank University have been running the IoD Student Membership project for 5 years, giving the opportunity for over 500 students across all levels of LSBU Business School to take advantage of the outstanding benefits to hold membership with the IoD. Trang Tang, a final year Business/Marketing student at LSBU, who had previously spent a year as an IoD Student Member, recalls the lead up to her getting on the YDF Student Project:

“During my second year at LSBU, my class had received a short talk about the IoD, the Student Membership Scheme and the wonderful opportunities for a student like myself to be involved. On the back of that talk, I decided to submit my application in the hope of being awarded one of the student memberships and I delighted to have become an IoD Student Member and join this YDF Student Project within the same week all thanks to the opportunity LSBU provide as part of the scheme.”

The six students that joined the YDF Student Project all attended the IoD Student Membership launch at LSBU where guest speakers from the IoD, YDF and previous student success stories from the scheme congratulated them on their success. One of the guest speakers, Tomasz, spoke about the opportunity to join the YDF in an assistant capacity to aid the main YDF Committee. It was at this event where the students applied for the role sending their CVs and cover letters in to be considered.

Why did they join the YDF?

Andrew Griffiths, a part time Certificate in Management Studies student, said: “I’m always looking for interesting opportunities to learn new skills and network with like-minded, ambitious people. I had enjoyed the IoD events I had attended and was keen to be involved in the organisation and promotion of events and help support the YDF to reach its next stage.”

LSBU and the IoD have has a special relationship since its inaugural year of the student membership scheme, which is synonymous with the YDF Project as Andrew explains: “Without Christina Anderl and Gordon Duncan highlighting the opportunity at LSBU, I would not have been aware of the IoD Student Membership Scheme in the first place, let alone the exciting opportunities, such as the YDF, that came with it!”

What were the students' roles within the YDF?

The group of six students main role was to aid the main committee in their core activities. The students were split into two teams of three, the first being the ‘Events’ team and the second being the ‘Digital’ team with responsibilities of helping run and promote events through online and offline channels. Safaa Seghir, a first year Accounting and Finance student, said:

“Taking part in in-person promotion of YDF events at popular shared office spaces and young enterprise work spaces was an exciting and slightly nerve-wrecking feat. Creating promotional leaflets to circulate and pre-network in such a dynamic atmosphere with Young Directors was a really inspiring experience for a first year student like myself.”

Each of the six participating students had a plethora of experiences and development through the project, none more so than Sara Sale, a second year BA Business Studies student, who proclaimed: “I can take every experience forward with me. Just the fact that this project came with a 6 month commitment from us, alongside our studies, before the tasks we performed in creating the YDF Facebook Page, creating Twitter promotional posts and developing and using the knowledge we gained at university in a real life situation was fantastic experience, it is something I have always wanted to do and it’s all thanks to the opportunity LSBU provides.”

Currently the committee is organising a celebration for the YDF’s 10th anniversary to be held at the Houses of Parliament in November. Helping with the preparations, Farhad Hussain, a final year Accounting and Finance student, remembers his first YDF events: “I have attended many YDF events and I must say it was a great pleasure. The setting was very informal and relaxed which created a very welcoming environment to network with likeminded people. The organisation was highly professional and the guest speaker had great tips and experiences to share with the audience. Now being involved in organising a flagship event such as the 10th anniversary with the YDF is a real honour.”

What impact has it had on you?

Fabian Scholda, a Msc International Business student, said: “I was able to develop my networking skills and managed to improve my project management skills as well as strategic thinking during this project. Working on something that was related to my studies at the same time opened my eyes to different aspects of models and theories we were reviewing and discussing in the classroom. This project gave me a real life application of the knowledge I was attaining at LSBU and an avenue to practice it. For this, I would like to say a very big thank you to LSBU, The IoD and The YDF for giving me and my fellow students this great opportunity.”