Arranging meetings with industry professionals

Monday, August 7, 2023
by Amaan (AFM Student), Kalash (AFM Student), Pravina (AFM Student), Shaista (AFM Student)

With the Indonesia trip around the corner, the corporate relations team has been busy finalizing which companies we will be meeting with while we’re away! After weeks of hard work and perseverance, our team has successfully filled out our meeting schedule.

The main purpose of our trip is to explore Indonesia’s business landscape in a global context. We will seek to analyze what factors contribute to success and what challenges there are to conducting business in emerging markets. Naturally, as SAF students, we focused on the accounting and finance industry of Indonesia for our visit.

To set up meetings with firms in the industry, our main strategy was to reach out to people via email or LinkedIn. However, it can be difficult to get responses, making the probability of success a numbers game. To increase our chances of setting up a meeting, we expanded our scope to message more than 20 representatives per company, as well as reaching out to companies in a diverse set of industries including companies in the retail, manufacturing, technology, mining, and financial services/investment industries. We chose these industries as we believe them to be drivers of a growing economy and due to our past experiences working within these industries. As a result of our efforts, we were able to set up 10 meetings with companies such as Goldman Sachs, Vale, Kantar, and Sun Life.

To set up these meetings, we developed a strategy that utilized the following steps:

  1. Narrow your search

In today’s world, LinkedIn acts as the corporate version of social media and almost every working professional is available to contact. For our trip, we had to narrow down companies that we wanted to visit so we would know which professionals to target. To accomplish this, we first figured out which companies we wanted to visit, the roles/positions within the company we were interested in learning about, and then finally, we reached out to them!

  1. Personalize your message

The next step was to reach out to the selected professionals. To achieve any amount of success, we had to do our research. We focused on searching for areas we had in common with these professionals, such as similar educational backgrounds, experience working for the same companies, or shared fields of interest. By researching the professionals we wanted to meet with, we were able to craft a specialized message to send to them, which proved to be highly successful and helped us secure many meetings.

  1. Leverage existing connections

When targeting these professionals, we also focused on individuals who we had mutual connections with. This allowed us to connect through existing relationships, which was valuable as there was already a level of pre-established trust and familiarity. Thankfully, we were able to enlist the help of professor Steve Balaban and Victoria Hinde (alumni development officer) to contact highly-reputed alumni and professionals who are currently working involved with the companies we want to visit.

By creating a strategy and employing the steps above, our results were better than ever! We have filled up our schedule with companies to meet with, and are looking forward to meeting many dignitaries and professionals during our time in Indonesia. All that’s left now is to invite these people to dinner where we can enjoy food, drink, and great conversation! 

A collage of portraits of Amaan, Kalash, Pravina and Shaista