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If you want to make sure you get a ticket to this year’s Aarhus Symposium then you’d better get your computer out and write a short essay. Last year the 650 tickets were snapped up in a matter of minutes.

2014.08.29 | Marie Groth Andersen

Archive Photo: Lise Balsby

That’s the Aarhus Symposium slogan. A student-driven event that gives AU students with an interest in leadership the opportunity to meet ten of Denmark's top executives. The event is taking place for the fourth year in a row and, just like last year,students can get a ticket to the symposium by writing a short essay on the Aarhus Symposium Challenge.

Jakob Mørck Lohmann, who is studying political science at AU and is one of the organisers of this year's symposium, tells us that putting your thinking cap on and letting your fingers do their thing can certainly be worth it, as the tickets were snapped up in no time.

"The 650 tickets were gone in literally two minutes last year and 800 people were left on the waiting list. We thought it was a shame that the ones with the fastest Internet connection ended up with the tickets. So this year there is also the chance to get a ticket by writing an essay. So that we can make sure that the most committed students get in."

One day, two pages

Jakob wrote an essay himself last year to make sure he got one of the tickets. That was before he became one of the organisers.

"It was certainly a manageable task. There are three presentations you can choose from. I think I set aside a day and wrote two pages. This year the three presenters are Danish Chief of Defence Peter Bartram, Arla’s CEO Peder Thuborgh and Group CEO of Danske Bank, Thomas F. Borgen," he says.

Wrote himself to a meeting with Nils Smedegaard

The best essay-writers have the opportunity of meeting one of the chief executives face to face, while the best essay will be announced from the stage at the Aarhus Symposium. Last year Jakob wrote an essay that got him in a meeting with Niels Smedegaard, who is the managing director of A. P. Moller-Maersk (Denmark’s largest company, ed.).

"It was just amazing to be able to sit opposite one of the absolute top figures in Danish business, a man who heads one of the world's largest companies. He went over our essays and I felt that we received some unique insights on him and his motivation as a top executive," says Jakob Mørck Lohmann.

The experience of last year's symposium motivated him to become one of the organisers of this year's symposium, and he takes pride in helping to broaden the scope of the symposium to a wider group of students – both to more of the study programmes at BSS and also to students from other areas.

"It’s for ambitious students who are interested in leadership and the elite decision-makers in Denmark, so it’s obvious that the event will attract many students from BSS. But you certainly don’t have to come from BSS. This year our focus is broader and the speakers we’ve invited don’t all come from the private sector." 

Aarhus Symposium 2014

Aarhus Symposium takes place on 7 November in Aarhus. Before then the organisers dish out a couple of events as a prelude to this year's symposium:

  • 4 September
    Aarhus Symposium Challenge Launch: The introduction of the three topics on which you can write an essay and thereby ensure your place at the symposium.
  • 25 September
    Aarhus Symposium Challenge Deadline
  • 1 October
    Sign-up day: Didn’t get that essay written - today is the day where you can get your hands on one of the remaining tickets.
  • 3 November
    Battle of the Economists: Three economists debate a socially relevant topic

Aarhus Symposium

Translated by Peter Lambourne.

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