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How I Organized A TEDx Talk During My Global MBA In France

Find out how Simran Desai and Hannah Villame developed a student association at EDHEC Business School and hosted a successful TEDx Talk


Tue May 21 2024

While the MBA curriculum provides students with a robust skill set and broad knowledge of the business world, there is more to the advanced degree than what is taught in class.

Business schools offer students a community and environment where they can develop their passions and enhance what they’re learning through associations.

Associations offer students the chance to develop skills that are useful for their personal and professional development, such as self-confidence, a sense of community, and adaptability.

EDHEC Business School is one example of a business school that offers a wide range of student associations.

In 2024, one of the 102 EDHEC associations was TEDx Nice. This year the club embarked on creating a TEDx event in Nice: a challenge taken on by a group of just 10 students to organize an entire conference, including speakers, marketing and sponsors.

Find out how Simran Desai and Hannah Villame successfully organized this TEDx Talk during their Global MBA.

Launching the TEDx Nice organization 

Simran has always been an avid watcher of TED Talks on YouTube.

“I think [the talks] are a great way to learn something more about a subject from someone's personal experience, but who's also an expert in the field,” she says.

Simran, an Indian native, is a dual degree student on the MBA and Master’s in Strategy, Organization, and Consulting. This is a two-year program starting with the master’s component in EDHEC’s Lille campus in Northern France, followed by the Global MBA at the Nice campus in the South of France.

During Simran’s master’s degree year in Lille, she helped put on a TEDx Event and was captivated by the process.

“It was such a great experience that I knew I had to do it again. So, when I came to Nice for the MBA, I kickstarted it over here as well,” she says.

It had been a few years since a TEDx event was put on in Nice, so Simran took over as president of the association. 47% of EDHEC Business Associations have female presidents.

Conveniently, the previous president lived in Nice and helped her establish the group, giving her advice on timelines, process, and licenses.

“We managed to collaborate with [the previous president] a lot and learn from his experiences.”

From there, Simran went on to recruit her ideal team, which she says was the most important part.  

Planning a successful TEDx event in Nice, France

Once the team was assembled, the students immediately started planning. They only had five months until the event, which was particularly difficult as they needed a TEDx license.

“Until just over a month before the event, we didn’t know whether we were going to have a TEDx Talk,” Simran says.

Nevertheless, the team worked tirelessly to make the event perfect on every side.

There were four teams within the association: sponsors, events, marketing, and speakers. Hannah was co-head for marketing.

Hannah is originally from the Philippines and spent 13 years in the retail fashion industry before switching to FinTech, and realizing she needed to level up her skillset.

“I wanted to refresh my knowledge and see what's happening out in the world,” she says. “I was looking for an international experience and the EDHEC’s Global MBA seemed like the perfect program.”

Hannah explains the various elements of running the marketing in the lead up and during the TEDx event.

“We were doing all the posts and write ups of the content for TEDx. The pre- and post-event hype.

“Then during the event, we were collaborating with the school’s social media so they could post live, and with LinkedIn influencers so they could drum up more noise about the event.”

They then looked for local companies to be sponsors of the TEDx event.

“We eventually partnered up with Pernod Ricard, the family run, global liquor company that owns vineyards in Bordeaux, but who is also based in Nice. They helped us with supplying drinks for the event.”

As with sponsors, when deciding on the speakers, Hannah and Simran wanted to represent the community. They eventually recruited eight speakers who were a mix of professors, local entrepreneurs, alumni, and current students.

One speaker they were particularly proud of was an entrepreneur who was featured in Forbes for creating smart glasses for paraplegics.

“We were doing a job shadow in Paris, and we pitched the idea of a TEDx Talk to her and she came onboard,” Hannah says, “it was all of these little instances that made the event happen.”

Finally, the events team oversaw the seamless running of the day.

“Our events team worked hard to make sure the event was coordinated, we had the permits we needed, and everything ran smoothly on the day,” Hannah says.  

Putting the TEDx Talk in Nice

Simran’s main goal for the day was for a receptive, inspired audience.

“I wanted to make sure was that the people in the audience were there to receive the knowledge,” she explains.

Hannah and Simran were rewarded with a captivated audience and were particularly excited when they saw attendees taking notes during a talk.

“It was so great to see that the audience was as engaged as the speakers were, and that they came out of it feeling inspired,” Simran says.

“It was just such a giddy feeling for us that they were so engaged in what the speaker was saying,” Hannah adds.

The event and being a part of such a dynamic, committed team made the association a highlight of Hannah and Simran’s time at EDHEC.  

“It was one of the highlights of my MBA. Working with this team of people, and how it showed through the success in mounting such an impressive event,” Hannah says.

Simran advises anyone going into an MBA to get involved with extracurricular activities as it might be the most important thing you do, as it has been for her.

“Of course, the classes are there for you to learn, but so is everything else. And you can learn so much from your peers as well from the classes,” Simran concludes.