2017 GMAC European Conference

29 November to 1 December | London, UK | #GMACEurope2017

Thank you for joining us for this conference. Please contact us at programseurope@gmac.com if you have any questions about the event.


Getting ‘Unstuck’: Harnessing Innovation in Your Day-to-Day

In a relatively short space of time, business and management schools have had to adapt to rapid transformations in the market. From technological innovations, to globalization and now a nudge toward nationalization, these forces were not only unpredictable but also unavoidable and there is little chance of it stopping there.  

As some business schools react quickly to such change, others are slower off the mark and often assume that a big budget and large teams are the answer to these issues. But what if this doesn’t have to be the case? What if it was possible for any team, of any size and level, to implement innovative ideas and become change agents for their institutions?

This year’s conference aims to provide you with the means to tackle disruptive challenges in new and innovative ways. From mapping the customer journey, to differentiating your programme in a competitive market. We bring you lessons from the start-up world that you can apply to your daily work and help you plan for the implications of a digital future.

Who Should Attend

The GMAC European Conference is designed for school professionals in admissions, marketing, recruitment, international affairs, and program management. This is a global forum exploring issues of increasing importance within a growing European graduate management education landscape. Whatever your role is, you will come away with new ideas that you can put to work immediately.

Conference Format

In addition to deep-dive plenary, topic-focused concurrent sessions and interactive workshops, you will also enjoy networking time with industry colleagues over the two-day conference.

Wednesday 29th November

1:00pm – 4:00pm: Pre-conference workshop
4:30pm-5:30pm: First-Time Attendee Orientation Meet-and-Greet
6:00pm -8:00pm Welcome Reception and Registration

Thursday 30th November

8:15am – 5:00pm Day 1 of Conference 
7:00pm – 9:30pm Drinks Reception and Conference Dinner
9:30pm – 10:30pm London Night Tour by Bus 

Friday 1st December

8:30am - 2:00pm Day 2 of Conference

List of Sessions

Opening Plenary: Embracing a “ShipIt” Approach to Survive (or Take Advantage of) Disruption

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“Disruption” is now part of our daily vernacular: we are either teaching it in our classrooms, helping our graduates land jobs in the Googles and Ubers of this world, or telling our candidates the importance of knowing how to harness it to be successful professionally. However, are we considering how disruption could affect our institution, our programs or the graduate management education industry (GME) as a whole? No single business model or sector are off-limits to raw change: why should GME be exempt? In this opening plenary, we will learn how to think of innovation as a strategic weapon. Simple ideas can be surprisingly difficult to implement. How do you prioritize? When do you find the time? Whose approval is needed? One place where start-ups excel is in defining testable ideas, creating prototypes, and then adopting/iterating/killing where appropriate. This is generally possible because they let data drive ideation and then empower their talent to take initiative when new information emerges. It’s unlikely that your school is set up like a start-up (and for good reason), but that does not mean there aren’t some tips, tools, and yes hacks, that you can borrow to help embrace change and “rethink everything”. The session will focus on techniques used in the start-up world that enable teams to “ship” value more frequently. It will also explore perceptions of GME from an early stage company perspective and highlight areas where GME graduates are best positioned to contribute

Applying Customer Experience Mapping to Improve Quality: the London Business School Case Study

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Experience mapping is an innovative research method that traces the journeys customers take as they receive a service from an organization; the goal is to improve customer satisfaction by reducing the journeys’ emotional low points and maintaining the highs. In this session, London Business School, with the help of Southwark Consulting, will illustrate how the school implemented an experience mapping project to explore both the admissions and MBA program experiences from the candidates' point of view. They will share details on the surprising insights gained, what LBS was able to do differently to address pain points and where they are in the process to “move the needle on quality” at the institution.

Ways to Differentiate Your Program in a Competitive Market

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We all offer very different postgraduate experiences, yet it seems that we’re all selling the same program. How do we differentiate? “Leadership”, “critical thinking” and “a global mindset” are buzz words that have lost all meaning. This highly interactive session will introduce you to the art of “smarketing” – a new framework that will help you identify the strengths and benefits of your program; communicate them more “effectively”, and find better alignment between your sales and marketing teams to drive home better recruitment result.

Enhance Your Global Potential with Cultural Intelligence

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What is the difference between individuals, teams and organisations that succeed in today’s diverse and internationalised business world, and those that don’t?  A growing body of research suggests an important difference is cultural intelligence (CQ). Rooted in rigorous academic research, CQ goes beyond existing notions of cultural awareness and sensitivity, enhancing key capabilities that support the achievement of objectives. Join this interactive workshop to discover how CQ can help you excel in culturally diverse environments. Whether traveling to diverse lands to recruit global talent for your school, designing and delivering business programs to educate tomorrow’s global managers or working within globally diverse teams, this workshop will provide tips and techniques to enhance your CQ capabilities (CQ Drive, CQ Knowledge, CQ Strategy, CQ Action), making you a more effective professional and global citizen.

How to Attract More Undergraduates

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Undergraduate students are the future of graduate management education, be it for pre-experience programs or, in the future, MBAs. However, do we really understand them? Know what makes them tick? Tone and message are key to communicate effectively. This session will break down the undergraduate student population – their motivations to continue education, values and important considerations when choosing one institution over another – arming you with new insights and tactics that will enable you to successfully engage with this target audience.   

Awarding with Purpose: Get Strategic with Scholarships

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Competition for students is fierce and budgets are tight, but you are responsible for getting the right students at the right price point. In this session, we will take the chaos out of scholarship awarding by exploring some suggested best practices. Using real-world examples, we will discuss using data to develop goals; how to align your scholarship strategy with your institution’s goals; and considerations for presenting scholarship strategy to stakeholders.

Innovating to Remain Relevant: Customer-Centric Campaigns and their Power to Convert

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With so much competition and so many programs to choose from, standing out and creating relevant marketing campaigns that “stick” is not an easy task. The key is to facilitate a strong connection, engaging candidates in new and innovative ways to increase interest, and, if done well, attracting individuals who may not have been considering graduate management education or applying to our institution. This session will feature two very different approaches to engagement that will inspire you to think creatively about how you can increase stickiness for candidates looking to apply to your school. After these are presented, you will have the opportunity to work in small groups to benchmark innovation best practices within GME: what are you and your peer institutions doing to innovate? What barriers do you usually encounter when trying new things? How can you break these barriers down to allow your team, your program, and your institution to innovate and become truly disruptive? Come prepared to share ideas and be part of the knowledge creation process.

Imperial Global Online MBA - A Case Study

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In January 2015 Imperial College Business School launched its first fully online degree programme, the Global Online MBA. This was the culmination of 3 years of planning, as Imperial wanted to create an online experience that has complete parity with its full-time on-campus Imperial MBA.  To achieve this, Imperial designed a new pedagogy for online learning based upon active engagement, medium appropriacy, feedback loops and community, built on a bespoke learning platform to ensure the whole experience matched the ambitious goals of the programme. Fast forward nearly 3 years on and as according to plan the first cohort has graduated, the programme has moved from one intake to two a year and is enjoying robust growth. What wasn’t in the plan was the new audiences and models this approach has created. The Business School now offers a blended Executive MBA, teaches 1,200 Imperial undergraduates each term fully online and every programme at the Business School now has an online component. The Business School will launch their second fully online programme, an Online Business Analytics course in September 2018. In this session, the team will discuss why and how they set up the programme, sharing the challenges and the often-surprising opportunities they have encountered.

Rethinking the GMAT Exam

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Students and programs are changing so what needs to change about how we evaluate them? In 2017, GMAC sought feedback from faculty and admissions on the knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics business school students should have. We’ve started exploring how we might turn this into the next generation GMAT but what would you do? During this highly interactive workshop, your mission will be to help us pull it all together and rethink the GMAT exam. You’ll be challenged to define what the next generation exam should assess and explore the trade-offs between various exam characteristics. Are you ready to be GMAC for the duration of this session?

Deconstructing Engagement: Preparing for the Implications of a Digital Future

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We live in a world in which our car is also a taxi, our spare bedroom also a hotel room, and our phone is a record store with access to unlimited artists and bands. We have shorter attention spans than a goldfish (yes, we really do!), and technologies make our lives so simple that we want and expect everything on demand and delivered with simplicity. But higher education isn't about simplicity and speed. The pursuit of knowledge takes time. Our experiences should challenge and inspire intellectual development, not oversimplify. So, what does the future of business schools look like in the digital world? How do these trends impact both on the student experience and the ways in which we seek to engage with our audiences before, during and after their time with our institutions? In this session, Tracy Playle, Founder and CEO of Pickle Jar Communications will blend her passion for all things digital (in moderation!), her approach to creating compelling audience experiences, and her experience of working with over 160 education institutions around the world to explore the challenges and opportunities that technology brings to the ways in which business schools market themselves and communicate with their audiences. We'll bring it all back to reality and your immediate planning needs by also considering the practical steps that we can and should be making now to ready ourselves for that future, and for the impact of those trends today.

Closing Plenary: Making Graduate Management Education Fit for the Future

The conference has focused on innovation as the antidote to potential disruption due to the many forces affecting the business of business schools: technological advancements, rising tuition costs, shifting employer needs, geopolitics and the proliferation of graduate management degrees by format, delivery, location and type. Each has the potential to cripple your institution, and equal potential to bring about value creation and growth. In this closing plenary, Professor Birkinshaw, Deputy Dean of London Business School will provide insight into why “good companies (and business schools!) go bad”, building the case for creative destruction as the basis for competitive advantage. He will present the “Fast/Forward Playbook” and “adhocracy” as means to reach the “agile age” where business schools are able to coordinate around opportunity, make decisions through experimentation and motivate their talent through achievement.  

Pre-Conference Workshop — Fully Booked

Data-Driven Enrollment Strategy: How to Use Projection Modeling to Inform Admission and Scholarship Strategy

As a GME professional, you face unique challenges when it comes to enrollment management. You likely don’t have a team of data analysts on your staff and, with a rolling admissions cycle, you may begin making admission and scholarship decisions before you even know what your full applicant pool will look like. Not to mention the pressure to meet various (and often conflicting) enrollment targets — trying to balance things like class size, scholarship budget, and admissions metrics such as diversity and quality. In this interactive workshop, we will use modeling to work through an enrollment scenario. We will analyze goals, challenges, and opportunities that modeling can uncover; develop an admission and scholarship strategy based on real data; explore strategy alternatives; and identify ways this information can be presented to key stakeholders. Bring your computer or iPad to this session for a hands-on experience using real data (you will need Microsoft Excel to access the data).

Learning objectives:

  • Analyze the inputs needed for projection modeling
  • Determine how to use modeling to explore various admission and scholarship strategies at your institution
  • Integrate modeling to make both high-level and day-to-day strategic enrollment decisions



GMAC would like to thank our sponsors for their support and contribution at this year’s European Conference.

Kira logo
Kira Talent




  • Pre-Conference Workshop: £150 + VAT — Fully booked.
  • Early bird registration fee: £600 + VAT — Fully booked.
  • Registration fee after 6th October: £700 + VAT — Fully booked. Please contact us at programseurope@gmac.com if you wish to be added to a waitlist.

The conference registration fee includes all scheduled meals and program materials.


Payment can be made via credit card, wire transfer or check. Payment must be received within 30 days from the date of your invoice or by Friday, 17 November 2017, whichever is sooner.

Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your conference registration, please email programseurope@gmac.com. Refunds will be granted if written cancellation notice is received by email to programseurope@gmac.com on or before Friday, 27 October 2017. Refunds will not be granted after this date. Please allow six to eight weeks for a refund.


Registration substitution will be granted if: (1) written notice is received by programseurope@gmac.com on or before Friday, 27 October 2017 and/or (2) replacement registration contact information is submitted on or before Friday, 27 October 2017.

Venue and Travel


This year we are very pleased to be hosting the conference in the exciting and vibrant city of London.

To be held at London Business School’s tranquil campus near the beautiful Regent’s Park, you will spend an enjoyable few days learning and sharing ideas with peers and colleagues during the conference and at our evening social events in and around this amazing city.

Conference Venue

London Business School
26 Sussex Place
NW1 4SA 

Map of the Venue Location

Hotel Accommodation

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Danubius Hotel Regents Park, only a 10-minute walk from the London Business School campus.

Danubius Hotel Regents Park
18 Lodge Road
St. John’s Wood

Get Involved

Submit Your Conference Session Idea

Position you and your school as thought leaders in the graduate management education community by sharing your innovations, ideas, and best practices with your fellow attendees. Professionals attend the concurrent sessions expecting clear ideas, lessons, and success stories that they can implement at their schools. The objective of each concurrent session is to present innovative approaches to new or existing challenges so that session attendees can get inspiration and ideas for ways to approach similar situations.

We encourage you to get involved with the conference by submitting your concurrent session proposal. We will accept proposals submitted until August 31, 2017.

Steps to Submit Your Proposal

  1. Review the evaluation criteria (below) and the conference speaker policies. 
  2. Gather the session information, review proposal deadlines, review your schedule and budget to confirm that you and all additional speakers are able to attend the conference between 29 November – 1 December 2017 in London, UK.
  3. Complete and submit the Concurrent Session Proposal Form by August 31, 2017.

What Happens After Your Proposal is Submitted?

  1. You will receive an email acknowledgement within two business days of submission.
  2. The Conference Proposal Committee will read submissions as received.
  3. After the submission deadline, the committee will convene to evaluate the submissions.
  4. You will be notified of the committee’s decision on or before August 18, 2017.

How is Your Proposal Evaluated?

Successful submissions will include the following criteria:

  1. Content is applicable to the GMAC vision and mission.
  2. Content includes new ideas or approaches to existing and upcoming challenges that are relevant to the graduate management education audience. 
  3. Proposal clearly identifies session objectives and lessons that audience members will learn.
  4. Proposal identifies how and why content is applicable to others in this community.


Contact Us

For further information about the conference, please contact: programseurope@gmac.com