IDEAS Conference 2017: A Preview

As Carnegie prepares for its annual IDEA's Conference, Emily Fielding tells us what to expect.


Another academic year, and another Carnegie Club IDEAS conference is nearly upon us. This year’s event is entitled “Playing by The Rules: Ethical Investments and Social Responsibility,” and focuses on sustainability within business. What could be more pertinent in a year in which Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate agreement increased concerns over environmental sustainability, and during a time when global economic growth is decreasing?


The conference is on the 28th September and runs from 6pm (with last entry at 6.10pm) until 8pm in the Buchanan Lecture Theatre. The panel of prestigious speakers includes Mrs. Laurel Hurst, from JP Morgan, Mr. Omar Selim from Arabesque, Mr. Colin Welsh from SCF Partners and Mr. John Ditchfield from the Ethical Investment Association. The set-up will allow students to engage in lively debate, interacting with the speakers, whilst benefiting from the panel’s personal experiences and their discussions of investments relevant to current businesses and the broader cultural environment.


The Carnegie Club is known to be one of the University’s leading societies for student-led societies for student entrepreneurship, and this year’s event is set to be well attended following on from the club’s successes with last year’s IDEAS conference “Democracy or Instability.” This year’s conference encompasses the club’s principles of self-improvement and student-led entrepreneurship, especially as the panel includes guests from leaders in the business fields. Mrs. Laurel Hurst is the managing director in emerging markets at JP Morgan, the largest bank in the United States, whilst SCF Partners specialises on growth capital, focusing exclusively on investments in oil and gas equipment.


The club also attaches great importance to social responsibility, values reflected in the choice of the other two speakers. The Ethical Investment Association (EIA) provides “support to advisors keen to offer green and ethical investments to their clients,” and their representative, Mr. John Ditchfield, supports it due to his belief that the “market for responsible investment (should) continue to expand…globally.” Mr. Omar Selim is the founder and CEO of Arabesque, a company which assesses companies’ “daily performance on core universal principles” and their “value to society” whilst excluding their services to companies in breach of human rights, labour rights and anti-corruption laws. Mr. Selim also has a strong history in finance, having held senior positions at UBS, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.


Jemima Ford, head of communications at the Carnegie Club, explains the conference’s focus on finance by referring to the fact that many St. Andrews alumni move into the financial sector after graduating. The club further wishes to ‘open this event up to all students as the idea of ethics, finance and sustainability overlap many fields of interest,’ however those studying sustainable development, economics and management are likely to find this year’s theme of particular interest. Aside from the obvious educational benefits of attending the talk, it is always worth expanding out of the typical St. Andrews social experience, usually filled with black tie events, into the ever-expanding St. Andrean culture of speaking events, typified by other such events, such as Gordon Brown’s upcoming visit to Toppings bookshop and the Lafayette Club’s events, such as the upcoming “Islamic Enlightenment discussion with Christopher De Bellaigue.”


All in all, the Carnegie Club’s IDEAS conference is a must-see event for any budding student financier or those interested in global sustainable development.


Tickets cost £5 and are available on FIXR.


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