Established in 1991, MICA is the only residential institute in the Asia-Pacific region, dedicated to creating leadership in Strategic Marketing and Communication. MICA is an autonomous, non-profit institution, offering a wide range of academic programmes, including four residential programmes: Post Graduate Diploma in Management–Communications (PGDM-C), Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM), Post Graduate Certificate Programme in Crafting Creative Communication (CCC) and Fellow Programme in Management–Communications (FPM-C).
Dhruv Choksi, Officer for Conferences & Events at MICA, Ahmedabad, spoke about the management school and the conference they hosted in 2022. He mentioned, “Since 1991, MICA has been the thought leader in the sector, and it has brought a lot of developments and creativity in its courses. Apart from the academics, a lot goes on at MICA in terms of student activities, including engagement.
MICA also offers an excellent work environment wherein employees can undertake self-development activities apart from their regular work. We encourage employees to take up courses where they can further develop their skills.”
Transition to Virtual
Dhruv shared, “I am a key member of the committee leading the annual conference named ICMC 2022 (International Communication Management Conference). Planning for ICMC takes place every year in May and June. This year we had planned a hybrid event with some sessions offline, but due to the third wave, we had to pivot to all virtual. That’s when we started our hunt for a virtual event platform.
Our top three options were Airmeet, Hopin, and Hubilo. We analyzed the features and commercials of these three platforms, and Airmeet was the best fit for our requirements and the value it offered.
Another advantage of Airmeet was that our conference co-chair was a frequent user of Airmeet and hence familiar with the platform, its features, and the user interface. We finalized Airmeet, and everyone was pretty happy. We were highly satisfied with the outcome.”
Challenges (and Solutions)
Challenge 1: To host quality virtual paper presentations and conference reaching out to a wider audience and receiving holistic feedback.
Dhruv said, “For ICMC 2022, we had a very niche theme of data analytics, and we got a great response. We received 119 paper submissions, out of which 75 papers were presented. Of those, 54 were full papers which is a big number of quality papers.”
Dhruv was exceptionally pleased with the success of their virtual conference on Airmeet. He mentioned, “There was a total of 693 attendees in the conference. For the past two years, the average number of users per session would be around 30-40, but this year it jumped to 153. That was a huge leap for us and a huge achievement. It also motivated the presenters who engaged a larger audience and received greater feedback. We received positive feedback from the presenters stating they were very happy.”
Airmeet’s features that made this possible were –
Backstage – Dhruv said, “The backstage feature was a pretty handy option as a lot of panelists needed trials and dry runs. They could acquaint themselves with the features and have a quick trial run so that there were no hiccups later.”
User interface – Dhruv appreciated the visuals of the platform. He said, “I love the aesthetic appeal of Airmeet. There are a lot of details already present on the platform. Just one click, and you’re in the session.”
Recording – The session recordings feature proved fruitful for MICA. Dhruv said, “We liked the option of playing the recording later. We noticed that there was a lot of engagement this year after conference hours, that is, after 7 PM. Many users were watching the recordings, and that helped us with the conference getting more engagement and an average screen time of 34 hours, which is huge.”
Session scheduling – Dhruv said, “We scheduled 20 minutes per session plus 5 mins of Q&A time, which was a good time for virtual paper presentations. We could cover everything in that time.”
Analytics – Dhruv said, “After the event got over, we received the analytics report of the conference with all facts and figures, and that was wonderful. We were very satisfied with the reporting as well.”
These features allowed MICA to meet its goal of having quality virtual paper presentations and feedback.
Challenge 2: Popularize MICA’s brand name and highlight international participation through its conference & virtual paper presentations
MICA was looking for a platform that offered ease of use and navigation for worldwide attendees and a good support system to sail them through the event.
Airmeet’s features that solved this challenge were
Ease of navigation – Dhruv Said, “The paper presentation audience was very satisfied with the way the event went. We had feedback from multiple people asking about the platform. Professor Robert Angel of the University of Southampton, the conference co-chair, emailed to say that Airmeet was a wonderful platform, and he would like to use it in their events too.
The audience was very happy with the simple functionality of the platform. They didn’t have to navigate back & forth to search for simple functions like screen sharing, etc.”
Support services – Dhruv was delighted with the support team and said, “The support services during the four days of the conference were great, so much so that I would like to bow to your team. We were constantly in touch with them, bothering them repeatedly. But every hiccup we faced was resolved within two to three minutes, and there was no major lag in the execution.”
MICA saw participation from 12 countries with close to 700 attendees for this conference and was easily able to achieve the goal of presenting a flawless event to boost the brand.
Challenge 3 : To increase attendee interaction and create ample networking opportunities while imparting knowledge
Airmeet helped MICA fulfill the goal of imparting knowledge and increasing networking at the conference, through the following features.
Dhruv mentioned, “Airmeet helped us achieve our goal of increased participation and networking. There were 693 attendees throughout the four days of the conference, which was a big number. Generally, there are not many opportunities to engage in a conference, so attendees tend to switch between sessions and then drop off. They don’t attend the whole session. But this year, we got an average session time of 34 hours which was extraordinary.”
Social lounge – Social lounges proved to be great mediums for attendee interactions. Dhruv said, “For attendee interaction, we utilized the networking lounge along with the booths. Around 55 people networked in the lounges. We also connected with a lot of reviewers. The review panel was a major advantage for us as well as the MICA faculty. They have now broader connections, and can choose to present papers together, hopefully in the next ICMC.”
Booths– Dhruv informed, “We had four booths at the conference which saw 171 visitors. Every year we would mail our conference proceedings separately, but this year we had displayed them in the booths itself. We haven’t received a single mail from any presenter asking for the proceedings which means that they visited the booths and downloaded them or viewed them in the booths itself.”
Chat and Q&A – Dhruv said, “There were in-session chats and Q&A at the end of every session so that was also pretty interactive. On average, we got 10-12 questions in every session.”
Dhruv said, “All our goals of ICMC 2022 were met with Airmeet. Airmeet had almost everything that we wished for in a conference and for virtual paper presentations. The platform does not need any additional add-ons. It’s a wonderful platform with wonderful teamwork. We are very satisfied with our experience.”
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