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Deree Business Week 2016: Brain Drain to Brain Gain

Deree held its annual Business Week on March 15-18, once again successfully strengthening the links between the world of business and academia. Organized by the Academic Societies of the School of Business, this year’s events focused on tackling the socio-economic issue of Brain Drain that stigmatizes the Greek economy. The 11th Business Week included a diverse set of competitions, workshops, and speeches delivered by esteemed alumni, professionals, and academics and were characterized by the optimism of the participants; if we act collectively, we can turn Brain Drain into Brain Gain.

President Horner gave opening remarks, introducing the annual forum as an impressive program that showcases crucial aspects of the School of Business. This year’s keynote speaker was Alexandros Nousias, Director of the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award. Nousias noted that since 2011, more than 400.000 people have left due to the current socioeconomic crisis, the majority of which is in the most productive age group of 20 – 40 years old, only 20% of whom consider returning to Greece in the near future a viable option.

David Blumenthal, President at Astenbeck Capital Management LLC, underlined the importance of learning from the choices we make, and argued that making decisions at an early age is the best guarantee for future success. Other distinguished speakers that shared their personal and business insights were Dimitris Tsingos, Co-Founder and Chairman of Blueline, Angeliki Zarra, Integrated Communications Manager at L’ Oreal Hellas, Thanos Mondanos, Founder and Owner of Pure Juice Bar, and Afroditi Dellaporta, Manager of the Legal Department at A.M. Nomikos Transworld Maritime Agency.

For the first time, this year’s Business Week included a competition was organized in order to generate interest in startup companies. Deree alumna Jenny Lahana (D’92), Marketing & Commercialization Director at Papoutsanis S.A., was in the panel of judges along with Pericles Hanakis, Credit Sector, Eurobank. Junior students of Marketing presented their ideas of products that could be the cornerstone of a startup company. The judges were impressed by the level of skill and thought the students put into their business proposals, especially considering that they had such little training in the sector. Alumna J. Lahana concluded the competition saying, “I hope you continue to include junior events like this in the Business Week program, because actively participating in such a forum can be a huge inspiration to young students of the field.”

Business Week 2016 was a great success, leaving students and professionals alike, with a sense of hope that the socioeconomic conditions of the country won’t stand in the way of Greek youth who are searching for ways to develop themselves, their ideas, and their country’s potential.