Nordic Baltic Business Forum 2016 was a quite new experience for me. The news that I have been selected came together with positive excitement. However, the fact that I needed to represent a student perspective in the panel discussion seemed like kind of a big deal since the list of speakers contained some heavy names, to say the least. Still, the most memorable and beneficial experience was from the most intense networking in my life.
The topic of the panel discussion was entirely related to business environment – “How are businesses adopting? And where do we go from here?”. At the beginning, it made me wonder what I will be doing there since my business experience is very limited compared to other speakers and anyway I need to represent SSE Riga student perspective. However, our panel discussion moderator Daniels Pavļuts, former Minister of Economy of Latvia, came really helpful. Daniels reached me out concerning administrative issues of the event. I asked him for advice and whether he may at least broadly suggest what might be the value added from my presence in the panel. Daniels didn’t turn me down which came as a great reminder that asking is a skill one must master. Anyhow, the discussion turned just in the right direction for me since the central topic was the future of labor market. The most important takeaway for all of us – the power and possibilities in business are in our hands. We just need to be ready to utilize the opportunities that are ahead of us.
What struck me the most was the networking. It just happened so smoothly, naturally, almost effortless. People in that kind of events are extremely open-minded and eager to communicate. At first, it came as a surprise, but you get used to it during the first 10 minutes. At the end of the day, I winded up with a large stack of business cards. However, the networking there is more beneficial that one may think. I left the event with one person interested in investing in the next real estate project that we will develop and made friends with lawyer, Cambridge University graduate, who is ready to help with any business related issues. So don’t think that networking is just a useless process that should happen but has no value added. If you stay open for opportunities, they will just keep coming. Just be ready for many interesting conversations and don’t forget to bring a full case of business cards yourself.
To sum up, no matter what you are interested, I recommend attending such kind of events at any chance. It will give you many new ideas from industry leaders through presentations, it will dramatically increase your network, and it will be a memorable experience that will make you look up for more events upcoming. At the end, I want to take the chance to express my gratitude to Leif Mutén Society for giving me this fantastic opportunity.