Business School Lausanne (BSL) offers students the opportunity to create self-organized clubs on a topic they are interested in and they would like to raise the awareness of their peers about. Some of the clubs that have been created include the Sustainability Club or the Investment Club. By participating in one of these practical-work focused clubs, students have the chance to put their acquired knowledge into practice, developing the skills needed to succeed in today’s feverishly competitive business market.
To learn more details about this initiative and its importance to both faculty and students, we spoke with Dr. Mouna Chaari, Deputy Academic Director at BSL and initiator of the Clubs ideation. We also had conversations with BSL student Khulan Amarsaikhan, co-founder of the Sustainability Club, and fellow student Joao Dassoler, Co-Founder and Manager of the Investment Club.
The Vision Behind the BSL Clubs
The academic and employability journey is at the very core of BSL, as students must learn business foundations to achieve their professional goals. Yet Dr. Mouna Chaari, Deputy Academic Director for BSL’s BBA and MIB programs, felt students needed opportunities to take their educational experience at BSL a step further with hands-on engagement beyond the classroom. With this idea in mind and Mouna’s personal bidding, BSL’s Clubs was born—with two clubs launched so far to cover the highly relevant business topics of sustainability and investment.
So what benefits can those enrolled in a business degree in Switzerland gain from engaging in one of these clubs? Mouna explains, “I have been in the academic environment for many years, and I noticed how it creates value for the society when groups of students tackle a topic in order to make an impact.” She adds, “their youth, fresh eyes, and innovative mindset help them come up with bright ideas to change the world in a sustainable way.”
It was natural for Mouna to think to launch the program, looking to her role at BSL for supporting undergraduate and graduate students through their learning, and making their educational journey as rewarding as possible.
A Closer Look at the Sustainability Club
The two clubs that have been launched so far were initiated by BSL students interested in a particular topic, with a keen willingness to raise awareness about it. Khulan Amarsaikhan is one of those students, currently studying in BSL’s Millennial Program. Becoming co-founder of the Sustainability Club came quite naturally to her, as she was already passionate about the field, and looking for some way to take action as a student. Knowing that BSL supports student initiatives, she and her fellow student and co-founder gathered advice and feedback before launching the club. She notes, “We genuinely want to build a strong base for this club so that this initiative continues to inspire actions.”
So far, she’s helped to build a club that provides a supportive platform for the exchange and development of ideas in the field of sustainability through research, network, and practical experience. Examples of formal and informal activities range from projects to guest speakers, research, reaching external partners, fundraising, sharing information via social media, google classroom, an internal chat group, and email newsletters.
With the Clubs offering a safe space for students to develop ideas and strengthen the BSL community with a common interest, Khulan notes the club “warmly welcomes anyone and everyone” interested in sustainability. She adds, “If you would like to learn more, network, initiate projects and gain practical experiences this is a place for you. We sincerely look forward to expanding the club to inspire more people and to take actions within our own capacities.”
A Closer Look at the Investment Club
Joao Dassoler describes a similar experience in setting up the BSL Investment Club. Another BSL student of the BBA Millennial Program, Joao notes, “The BSL admin has been very helpful, providing us with all the support we needed to build this society.” Already having an enthusiasm for the field of investment, Joao jumped on the opportunity to co-found the club with fellow BBA student Gabriel Kochanny, when BSL announced its Clubs initiative.
The club is comprised of current fellow BSL students and BSL alumni who want to learn more about investing in financial markets. Joao explains, “The club creates opportunities for its members to learn and engage in discussions related to investments by organizing seminars, conversations with experts, and workshops such as trading competitions.” Designed for students based in our Swiss Business School, interested in markets, bonds, stocks, derivatives, or alternative investments, the club is also great for business students looking to build a network with others having the same interests.
One of the things Joao appreciates most about the club is the exchange of knowledge happening between the varied group, noting, “Among our members, there are people who are interested in investments but have never had any experience with it, and people who have been investing for years.”
COVID-19 Challenges and Looking to the Future
While everyone involved in the BSL Clubs describes having had an overwhelmingly positive experience so far, the development of its first two clubs hasn’t been without its challenges. Covid-19 in particular has made it difficult to organize the social events conducive to building a community and generating tangible outcomes. BSL students have nonetheless become quite innovative and creative in maintaining club activities.
As an example, since the Investment Club’s launch last November, members haven’t been able to gather in a room for monthly meetings. Joao notes the online meeting format has led to interesting opportunities, saying, “Last week, for example, we had a meeting featuring a speaker based in Hong Kong, and in the previous session, we had a guest joining from Brazil.”
Adaptations like these are helping to keep the future bright for the program, with faculty and students keenly backing the initiative. A next step, says Mouna, is to continue fostering interest at BSL. She says, “My goal is to be a facilitator for all our students in encouraging all the great initiatives and in offering all the support needed for them to achieve their ambitions.” Mouna describes this happening through continuous enrollment in the existing clubs, and by encouraging the formulation of new ones to be mentored by the experts in BSL’s faculty.
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