2019 Calgary, Canada

The X-Culture Global Business Week that took place in Calgary in 2019 was probably the best event WeEvolveGlobal organized so far. Everything went very smoothly but it was also very demanding.

150 students from 43 countries and several professors attended the event. Additionally, we invited a team of about 20 student Ambassadors, typically graduates from the X-Culture Coaching program. They were in charge of most of the on-the-ground preparation and management. Half of them were local Ambassadors who were attending the Haskayne School of Business in Calgary, where the event was hosted, while the others were international students coming from all over the world to help organize the Global Business Week.

Unfortunately, we had a few admin challenges we didn’t experience in the past: We had to deal with several VISA rejections because many more students than usual didn’t get their VISAS to attend the event. We lost about 50 people due to VISA rejections. And the worst part was that we didn’t know that until a few days before the event started.  

However, with no external funding and support, relying almost exclusively on volunteer help, we managed to reach out to and bring together 200 people from 40 countries and to offer them a world-class week-long training program!

 All of this took a lot of work. Looking back though: It was totally worth it! Not only learnt the students new things and met new people, but they also improved their cultural intelligence and international collaboration skills: Prejudice went down, motivation to work with people from other cultures went up. This is an extremely important outcome!

The post-event satisfaction survey showed that the students and professors were very happy with the event as a whole, and each component of the program in particular.

We organized field trips to the Lake Louise Ski Resort, the Calgary Municipality Lad Corporation and to the YYC Airport Authority that were the three companies whose challenges the attendees had to work on.

We placed the students in teams about a month before the event. The students worked closely in their small teams before meeting in person in Calgary. Moreover, each team had been assigned to specific Ambassadors, who were ready to answer all the students’ questions and who scheduled several webinars to mentor their students and to help them with their challenges. So, the students arrived in Calgary reasonably prepared.

We organized a series of webinars not only with the host company top management, but also a series of training workshops on writing, presenting, teamwork, career development, social media and more.

We also scheduled seminars, meetings with top managers, community leaders, academics, elevator pitches, job interviews, field trips and networking events such as the Welcome Reception and the Gala Dinner.

Facebook and WhatsApp groups were our main means of communication and students used them also to know each other, make travel arrangements and plan pre- and post-conference excursions.

Of course, the X-Culture Research Hackathon (Xackathon) was also part of the program.

Based on the responses of about the 70% of the attendees, the overall level of satisfaction was 4.7 out of 5 for students while 4.9 for professors. The most popular events (nearly a perfect 5.0) were the trip to the mountains, the Welcome Reception with the Line-Dance session, the White-Hatters’ performance and the training session on LinkedIn. Overall, networking opportunities, sightseeing opportunities and safety got nearly perfect 5.0 scores.

 We also had a team of X-Culture Kids (15-16-year-olds). Several of them came with parents, so it was very nice to meet their entire families and hang out with them. The kids did a great job and, despite the fact that they didn’t win the competition, they actually did better than some university student teams. Kudos!

Once more, the Global Business Week was a big success for the WeEvolveGlobal team: After a whole week of cross-cultural experiences and intense exchange of ideas, our students became more aware of what being responsible citizens of the world means and of how international business can help make strong friendships with people who belong to different cultures and who live on the opposite side of the world.