How and why are they formed? We talked to Brigitta Zentai about internal motivation, the accreditation process and learned lessons.
Author: Beatrix Tepfenhart
Brigi decided at her first marketing student meeting that she wanted to start her own student organisation. This has now become a reality, as the Corvinus Marketing Mcs Association (COMET) was founded in September 2020. She was greatly influenced by an earlier experience when, together with 5,000 other students, they set up the Oktondi Foundation, one of the pillars of which was the organisation of various career guidance lectures.
“I have talked to other student organisation leaders and it was good to hear how motivated they are when they are involved with it, and how much value they bring to students.” Brigi added that she had previously been involved in other organisations as an bachelor’s degree student. She found her place in all of them, enjoyed being part of a great community and making lots of new connections, but she didn’t master the skills of marketing as much as she would have liked. That’s why she wanted a student organisation with a specific marketing focus, where community and professionalism go hand in hand. This is confirmed by the fact that when I asked her to describe COMET in a few words, she replied: “professional and friendly at the same time”.
Brigi was encouraged by the openness and enthusiasm of her peers, many of whom asked about the foundation after the first meeting.
“Once we had the name, we had to put together the Rules of Organisation and Operation, detailing all the information concerning the organisation.” The first few months were a period of conceptualisation, when the organisational functioning was rationally thought through and things like the organisational structure, the powers of the leaders, the process of recruitment, the rights and obligations of members were finalised. The submission of the Rules of Organisation and Operation is a key step for student organisation accreditation, as is the detailed list of members with the contact details and status of members.
At Corvinus, accredited student organisations have several advantages: they can apply for material grants and, for certain categories of student organisations, members can apply for a student organisation scholarship.
On this point, Brigi said that the accreditation process was quick, no negotiations were needed, for example, so anyone who might be thinking of starting a student organisation should not be put off by the administrative process, as it is absolutely doable.
The student organisation brings together the students of Corvinus studying for a Master’s degree in Marketing, giving them the opportunity for networking and development.
We want to build a community for Corvinus students on a Marketing Master’s degree programme, while also learning about the marketing profession and networking with professionals
– says Brigitta about the aims of the organisation.
She herself started her Masters in Marketing last September and is now studying in Norway through the Erasmus+ programme. As a leader of the organisation, she didn’t have to choose between studying abroad and gaining work experience, she can do both online. Another member of the organisation’s five-person leadership team is also on Erasmus, which means they are expected to work in a hybrid way throughout the semester, which they see as an additional challenge.
The leadership team has remained active over the past year. It has built up the organisation’s brand, its operations, a core organisational culture and a team of 14 people working in trios. 3 divisions can be distinguished within the organisation: HR, Sales and Marketing. The HR division is responsible for the recruitment process and the organisation of team building sessions, the Sales team is responsible for finding and concluding agreements with partners, while the Marketing division is in charge of the various online and offline activities.
Applications are sought for all three divisions during the autumn recruitment period, as operations will start simultaneously with the recruitment of new members. Brigi said that in the past year, the main focus has been on building an organisational culture and a cohesive team, so they have had no other activities, partly due to the pandemic. “Our events will start in October: we will have a number of marketing-focused workshops, professional, inspiring presentations where you can learn from the best in the business and we will continue with team buildings” – shared Brigitta, summing up what they have in store for the autumn.
When asked about the challenges of the past year, the loss of motivation due to Covid-19 naturally came up.
Some of the members I haven’t even met in person, and that’s very difficult. Apart from the online work and meetings, I miss laughing together or just having a coffee, because it gives so much to share a moment together.’
All members of the organisation are looking forward to the start of the academic year, as there will probably be more opportunities to meet in person and hopefully the COMET community will expand significantly.
The autumn recruitment of COMET opens on 20 September, and CVs are being accepted until 25 September to the firstname.lastname@example.org. Candidates will then be invited to an interview by 1 October, which will be conducted in a hybrid format. Applications are welcome from all Marketing Master’s degree students who are keen to develop and are good team players.
Brigi highlighted that there is a lot to learn from starting and running a student organisation. That is why she encourages anyone who is committed to an idea to get involved in a similar project.
If you believe in your dream and are passionate about it, you can do it!
– says Brigitta.