Amid thousands of organizations whose leaders made the decision to cancel on-site annual conferences in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) chose to transition its annual conference to a virtual platform despite having a three-week timeline. More than 400 attendees participated in the conference, which included presentations, exhibitor showcases, the Dean’s Roundtable, special sessions and the student case competition.
“We wanted to continue with our annual conference even though it was a challenge to move everything online in fewer than three weeks. We wanted to provide IACBE’s members and friends with a little sense of normalcy amid all of the chaos and change that have come with COVID-19,” explains Dr. Phyllis Okrepkie, CMA and IACBE’s president.
Transitioning from an on-site conference to a virtual two-day event in a matter of just three weeks required a 180-degree turn, and visionary leadership to press forward and not just cancel.
“When we made the decision to move to virtual, we did not have the platform to host the conference, so we researched, acquired and learned a new webinar platform,” Dr. Okrepkie says, “We notified the hotel on March 12 that we were cancelling and three weeks later we put on a two-day virtual conference. We also refunded conference registrations and offered the virtual conference free of charge as a service to our members and the business education community.”
The annual conference was held with:
- 436 total registrants with 268 attendees on Wednesday and 277 attendees on Thursday from the U.S., Guatemala, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, China, Vietnam, Philippines, Dubai, India, Suriname, Dominican Republic, Oman, France and Guam
- 17 presentations
- 3 sponsor/exhibitor showcases
- 26 attending the Dean’s Roundtable: “Universities Respond to COVID-19: And, Suddenly We Were All Virtual”
- 26 attending Wednesday morning’s special session: “Adapting to the Challenges of COVID-19 – Thoughts & Perspectives from Around the World”
- The student case competition was held with eight teams competing virtually in front of a panel of judges. The winners were Post University (graduate) and Oregon Institute of Technology (undergraduate)
An IACBE member reviewed, “This was an incredible undertaking, especially given the extremely short time period to convert this from an on-ground conference to a full virtual conference. It is a true testament to the IACBE’s belief in supporting excellence in business education put into action.”
Dr. Okrepkie reiterates, “As always, the goal of the IACBE is to work with our members so that we are MOVING. FORWARD. TOGETHER.”
The International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) was founded in 1997 in response to higher education administrators, business program leaders and faculty who wanted an accreditation process that was mission-driven and outcomes based. The IACBE has hundreds of member institutions with campuses worldwide, and has accredited more than 1,800 business, accounting and business-related programs worldwide.