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Speaker Session - 20th March

Our speaker session this term saw a joint meeting of the Socratic club (Junior & Senior) for two fascinating presentations and Q&A sessions. We were joined by two speakers: Anna Shaykhutdinova; and Denys Grabchak.

Anna founded Profilum from Harvard University - a data-driven career guidance service helping students align their learning objectives with their future. Our discussion with Anna focussed on what it is like to go to an American university, how that differs from the English University system with Anna's experience of the London system (UCL/LSE) and how to start a business. Anna gave some top tips to the budding entrepreneurs in the group and we were very impressed with the questions that followed.

The group voted on whether they preferred more choice in subjects (US style) or the UK set syllabus: Y: 87%; N: 13%.

Clearly we have many keen to start their own business: 78% of the group voted that they would like to do so; with just 22% against. This was matched by those in favour of taking more responsibility for their own lives/world: again 78% in favour and only 22% against.

The second half of the session involved a shift towards current affairs and the war in Ukraine. The group voted unanimously that we should do more to help refugees (Y: 100%; N: 0%).

We were very fortunate to have Denys Grabchak present to us. He has worked with both Google and Facebook and then set up his own firm Performetry with the aim of using data science to assist with leadership and HR. Denys is Ukrainian and talked about his efforts in coordinating help in Western Europe (Dublin and London) to provide support for Ukraine - in terms of vital supplies, food and medical equipment. His personal insight of helping his Mother leave Ukraine and what he is doing with his father on the front line near Kiev was enlightening and at times heart-rendering. The group was deeply moved by the talk and the questions that followed were exceptionally thoughtful at this incredibly difficult time.

With many thanks to both Anna and Denys.

We look forward to our next session and picking up some of these topics in our next debating motions.

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