IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum

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The brightest future minds

The Future Leaders Forum is jointly run by IMEX, MPI (Meeting Professionals International) and MCI. It’s been developed to harness the imagination of the most promising students and encourage them to join the meetings and incentive travel industry.

About the Future Leaders Forum

Forums are designed to provide budding meeting industry professionals with a packed educational programme including inspirational sessions from industry experts on key topics, an insightful international and regional overview of the meetings industry, round tables for further discussion, and a chance to network and make valuable contacts in the industry.

Over 125 Forums have taken place and around 7,000 students have passed through the programme since its launch in 2003. 90% of students surveyed have said they are "likely to enter the industry as a result of attending" a Forum.  


Forums typically take place as part of a larger meetings industry conference or trade show in 12 or more locations around the world every year. The largest Forums take place during IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America in Las Vegas, with over 100 students participating in a two day programme.

Forum at IMEX in Frankfurt: 2017

During the Forum we explored our talking point: purposeful meetings - how to plan with deeper meaning, innovation and insight in mind. Students heard how to build a purposeful career and gained practical insights on planning meetings with deeper meaning, creativity, connectivity and learning. Industry professionals shared inspiring case studies and engaged the students in producing fresh ideas. There was also time to make new connections with peers and industry professionals on the show floor and during career chats.

View the 2017 programme


Thank you to our supporters - Starwood Hotels for the drinks reception, IAEE for the show floor visit and Marriott for the International University Challenge.

In 2018 the Forum takes place 16-17 May. Contact for details.

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Frequently asked questions

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Please contact Sarah Skavron at IMEX if you have any questions about the Future Leaders Forum programme or how to apply.

Sarah Skavron, Knowledge and Events Executive, IMEX GroupSarah Skavron

Tel: +44 1273 224930


Student registration

I am interested in attending a IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum how can I register?

We usually invite students from local universities but always encourage the participation of proactive students. Please contact us for more information.

What are the requirements for attending?

You must be a student of courses related to the meetings and events industry and must not have attended a Forum before. Participation is most valuable if you are in your final year of education. 

I am not a student any more. Can I participate?

Priority is given to students but if places are still available, young professionals in the first years of employment are welcome to apply

I am not studying hospitality management, event management or tourism management, can I still participate?

If you have a strong interest in the meetings and events industry and plan to start your career in this field, you can contact us to check if places are still available.

I have attended a Forum before but I would like to attend another Forum at another event. Is this possible?

Priority is given to first-time attendees but in certain cases we consider a repeat participation, for example if it is held in a different country or if you want to share your experience of what happened after the Forum. Please contact us to discuss your case.


What is the dress code?

There is no dress code for the Forum but we recommend business casual, for example what you would wear to a job interview.

Will I receive a certificate?

Yes, we will provide certificates of attendance at the end of the Forum.

Do you have any tips on following up with new connections after the Forum?

You can make many impactful connections at the Forum and we recommend that you follow up with everybody you met. Please find some inspiration and follow up tips in our Inspiration section.

Can I get a job at the Forum?

The Forum is not a job fair. The participating speakers and industry professionals are not necessarily looking for new staff but they might be able to put you in contact with potential employers. Please be mindful when you ask about employment possibilities and try to be clear about your goal and your background. 

What are the benefits of attending?

You can network with and get practical industry insight from experienced experts. Many of our speakers have been recognised with awards or are influential industry leaders. We aim to provide a programme that leaves you feeling inspired and more motivated to take the next step towards your career goal, and offer the opportunity to meet with like-minded people.


How much does registration cost?

Registration to the Forum is generally free of charge for participating students. Depending on the related industry event, there might be special discounts for students to take part in the main event and social functions.

Are accommodation and travel included?

Accommodation and travel costs normally need to be covered by the participants themselves.

Will there be lunch or other breaks included?

Coffee breaks and lunch will be provided (thanks to sponsors) unless stated otherwise in the programme.


We are always looking for new topics and speakers – please contact Sarah Skavron and tell us more about your session ideas.

How can my students attend the Forum?

The application process for each Forum depends on the main event and requirements given by the local organising committees. If you are interested in participating in the Forums, please contact us for more specific information.

Are there any guidelines on how to select students for the Forum?

There are no designated guidelines but we consider the most important selection criteria to be the motivation of the students. Priority should be given to those students who are highly motivated to start a career in the meetings industry and who would benefit from this education and networking opportunity.

Organisers and industry professionals

I would like to support the Forum - how can I get involved?

There are several ways to get involved, both on site at the Forums or online – for example delivering a session, giving career advice in smaller groups, sharing case studies and other information resources or sponsorship opportunities. Please contact us to discuss further details.

How can I hold a session at a Forum?

We are always looking for new speakers and new topics that are relevant for participants of the Forums. If you already have a concrete idea for a session or if you are generally interested, please contact us for more information.

My organisation is looking for new talent. How can I recruit Future Leaders Forum participants?

We are happy to forward any information about work experience opportunities and job descriptions to previous Forum participants and help you spread the word. 

Upcoming Forums

Date Main Event Location
17 January 2017  Conventa  Ljubljana, Slovenia
27 February 2017  Meetings Africa  Johannesburg, South Africa
5 March 2017  MPI EMEC  Granada, Spain
7 March 2017  COCAL  Punta del Este, Uruguay
22 March 2017  IT&CM China  Shanghai, China
23 March 2017  Federcongressi&eventi  Riva del Garda, Italy
24 March 2017  Meetings Week Poland  Warsaw, Poland
17 - 18 May 2017  IMEX in Frankfurt  Frankfurt, Germany
19 June 2017  MPI WEC  Las Vegas, USA
12 July 2017  World Meetings Forum  Mexico City, Mexico
26 - 27 September 2017  IT&CM Asia  Bangkok, Thailand
11 - 12 October 2017  IMEX America  Las Vegas, USA




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The Challenge was created in 2009 to encourage students to showcase their ideas and talent based on a fictitious brief. The final is held at IMEX in Frankfurt where the regional winners of six selected Forums will compete for the grand prize (the MPI Foundation Student Scholarship Award and participation in a MPI conference of choice) sponsored by the MPI Foundation and Marriott International.

Read more about the International University Challenge

Social Media

Social media plays an important part in helping us to offer students a network of peers from around the world, as well as continued career guidance and exciting new opportunities. Click on the buttons below to join our networks.

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