February 2017

The Institute of Directors (IoD) - Membership Options for Students

Institute of Directors (IoD)

Joe Fitzsimons, Student Membership Manager at the Institute of Directors (IoD) visited LSBM on Monday 20th February 2017 to discuss the benefits of membership.

The Institute of Directors was formed in 1903 and are dedicated to supporting their members, encouraging entrepreneurial activity and promoting responsible business practices for the benefit of the business community and society as a whole.

The Royal Charter, that the IoD received three years after their founding, charges them to promote free enterprise, lobby government and help to set standards for corporate governance in the UK.

Joe was excited to talk about a new Student membership initiative that the IoD started only six years ago, in order to encourage the business leaders of the future.

There are currently over 34,000 business leaders with full-memberships to the IoD, and around 3,000 student members. This means that there has never been a better time to join the IoD, as potentially, each student can expect to network at IoD events with many real-life business movers-and-shakers.

There are four key reasons why a student might consider becoming a student member of the IoD:

1/ Guru panel - As a student member you will have access to the IoD Guru Panel. This involves expert support from a mentoring group, comprising of experienced people in the world of business - entrepreneurs, chairs, chief executives, business leaders, employers, coaches, HR specialists and legal experts. You will be able to communicate directly with them in person and in private.

2/ Student events and networking opportunities - IoD student membership gives you access to the IoD's national student events, a dedicated programme of student events and networking opportunities in your area and privileged access to the IoD's Annual Convention at the Royal Albert Hall with its unrivalled, stellar line-up of headline speakers and thought leaders from the worlds of politics and business. (The normal cost of the convention is £450, but it was £50 (plus vat) for student members last time around).

3/ Student online community - IoD student membership entitles you to be a part of the IoD’s members-only LinkedIn group. This elite network of professionals, entrepreneurs, directors and business leaders is a perfect place to get your name and your business known among key influencers. The network can also be an invaluable sounding board, provoke interesting discussion and provide a great source of feedback.

4/ Internships and work placements - Your IoD student membership gives you access to the placement and internships noticeboard. This is the one-stop shop for those seeking the most enticing opportunities in their area, whether near home or university.

In addition, Joe mentioned that by the end of his degree he had been offered 4 paid internship placements, ALL of which he directly attributed to contacts he had established through networking at IoD events.

He said:

"I moved from Ireland to the UK to study and joined the IoD to start to integrate myself with the business community and get to know more people. I enjoyed attending the events, gained commercial awareness and it really helped to bring my business degree to life."

So, while there is a 'formal' way of getting placements and internships through your student membership of the IoD. There is also the traditional 'informal' way, of simply chatting to influential people at IoD events and getting alerted to potential opportunities in that way.

It worked for Joe!

So, there are many potential benefits of joining, and the cost is not dramatic. It costs £75 for a year-long student membership to the IoD, and you can join here.


(To be eligible for the IoD's student membership you must currently be a student at a recognised university or have graduated within the last two years.)

(Hold fire on joining just yet though folks. There may be a better option. Keep on reading...)


Joe Fitzsimons, Student Membership Manager, IoD
Other IoD Membership Options

Full Membership and 'Advance' Membership

'Student' membership of the IoD is different however from 'Full membership'.

Full membership of the IoD costs £625 for the first year, followed thereafter by an additional annual membership fee of £405. So it is substantially more expensive. It is however designed to appeal to traditional business owners or leaders, with the key differences being:

1/ Full membership has access to many more events.
2/ Use of central London facilities - The IoD is based in Pall Mall, and one of the biggest potential benefits to full IoD members is having access to the historic member lounges and business library at 116 Pall Mall, free of charge.
3/ Full members are able to hire out any of the 29 meeting rooms in the building, that can cater for anywhere between 2 and 60 people. While there will be a charge for this service, it does open up an easy avenue to hire premises in Central London, which could prove to be especially useful if you are growing a start-up business, and need quick access to a convenient location to hold meetings with investors or clients.
4/ Similar access to other buildings across the country - Joe mentioned that the IoD owns 13 other buildings in the UK.
5/ Membership to the IoD gives you access to the Directors' Advice Service - This includes tax and legal helplines, and access to one-on-one consultations with experts.

Details on Full-Membership here - https://www.iod.com/membership/benefits

The IoD have also introduced a 'premium' tier of the 'full' membership, called IoD Advance, which costs even more.

(You can read a PDF that compares the benefits of 'Full' membership and 'Advance' membership here). 

Student members do NOT have access to the above. But it is useful to know this in advance, so that if/when your business career does take off, and you want to look into full membership, the potential leap in cost is at least put into some kind of perspective.

Also, if you are over 40, then your options are rather limited, as the IoD restricts you to either a 'student', 'full' or 'advance' membership. IoD99 below is NOT available to those over 40 (even if they have just started up a business).

IoD99 - A Better Option?

Another option, for substantially less money, is another membership option that the IoD offers called 'IoD99' that seems to have virtually all of the most useful benefits of full membership, but for only £99 a year (as long as you are under 40...)

You can see details here: https://www.iod.com/membership/iod-99/benefits


1/ Free access to the award-winning Information Advisory Service, including legal and tax advice and information resources.
2/ Free access to our business hubs nationwide and the prestigious national IoD headquarters at 116 Pall Mall in London.
3/ Free access to IoD events nationally. These include business briefings; headline speakers, featuring everyone from international business leaders to cabinet ministers; and networking events, where you can mix with business leaders of all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience.

So, you get access to ALL events (student members have access to a selection of events, but not all of them) AND access to work at their headquarters at 116 Pall Mall, which, for me, are the two most significant benefits of 'full' membership that student members don't have access to.

IoD 99 membership is restricted to those aged 18-40 who are a founder or co-founder of a business so long as:

1/ Your business has an annual turnover of less than £5m and has been established for 10 years or less (Note - there is no 'minimum' turnover requirement, so start-ups with no-turnover are fine)

2/ You haven't been an IoD member in the past two years

So, if you are a student who has setup a business, but is just getting started, then this may be a better option, especially if you would like some specific business advice, or want to be able to use the facilities at 116 Pall Mall.

You can see those here - https://www.iod.com/services/116-pall-mall/working-at-116-pall-mall (NOT available to 'student' members. Though you will still need to read the 'fine print' and check with the IoD directly for any specific 'use scenarios' you have in mind, as there are likely to be differences in the level of access etc from 'full' membership, as it is less than a fifth of the price!).

It is worth pointing out to LSBM students that 116 Pall Mall is actually only a 27 minute walk from LSBM HQ at 1 Malet Street, so if you have started up a business and would like to use the facilities in Pall Mall, then this membership choice may be a better option for you (especially seeing as it only costs fractionally more - £99 a year compared to £75).

Here is a Google map of how you can walk door-to-door between LSBM and 116 Pall Mall in 27 minutes:


There was also a discount for IoD99 members to last year's annual IoD Convention (though not as much as for student members), where tickets cost £100 (plus vat), as compared to £450 for normal 'full' members, and £50 (plus vat) for 'student' members.

The prices for this year's IoD Convention have yet to be announced, but you can expect them to be similar.

It is, by all accounts, a worthwhile event, with one attendee on the IoD YouTube channel commenting:

"It is good to be inspired by others and then bring it back into our business"

So bear in mind those price differences in your calculations.

It is also worth bearing in mind the second restriction above before you choose which option to go for:

You haven't been an IoD member in the past two years

As this means you can't start out with a student membership and then swap to IoD99 the next year. So you really need to pick the right option from the get-go, or be stuck with it.


Which is right for you?

Before deciding on which membership option could be right for you, it is well-worth giving some proper thought to how you might practically make use of it.

If you don't have a business. But may want an easy way to find an internship, attend certain interesting events, network with other students, be able to ask questions of the 'Guru Panel' (but possibly in not quite such a 'formal' way as with other membership options) and possibly attend the annual convention for the cheapest price possible, then the 'Student' membership may be a good choice. (£75 for first year's basic membership)

If you have started up a business (however 'early' in that process you may be!), are under 40 and would find it useful to be able to work at the Pall Mall headquarters, want to maximise your face-to-face networking and learning event opportunities, may want to ask more formal in-depth questions about legal and tax issues of experts, and don't mind paying out a bit more money (both initially and for some of the events - but no-where close to the cost of the 'full' membership), then the IoD99 membership may be a better option. (£99 for first year's basic membership)

If you work at a firm with a turnover of over £5 million, have run your business for over 10 years, or are over 40, but still want access to all the events and to be able to work at the Pall Mall headquarters, then the 'Full' (or 'IoD Advance') memberships are your only option. (£625 to £828 for the first year)

(It does feel like there is currently a missing 'gap' in the membership options that the IoD doesn't offer, for 'Over-40s Entrepreneurs' who perhaps are just getting started with a new business, don't yet have a large turnover (£5 million is the maximum amount for IoD99 eligibility if you are under 40), or who aren't students, as the cheapest membership option for the over 40's who aren't students is currently full membership at £625 for the first year. This feels like a big jump over the 'just getting started' 18 to 40-year-olds who can pay £99 for the IoD99 membership.)

In addition, all membership levels get a print copy of Director Magazine sent to them every month, which, while clearly not a deal breaker in your decision, is a nice bonus. (You can read more about the free magazine here)


Taking Action!

Of course, the value in all of these is dependent on you doing something with the membership!

You will need to turn up to events and put yourself out to chat to people, connect using online resources like LinkedIn, or ask questions of the 'experts' that are available to you, in order for any of these membership options to the IoD to be beneficial.

Membership of the IoD is not a passive process. It requires you to actively engage with the available opportunities it provides in order to maximise the potential benefits.

Joe himself compared it to being a member of a gym.

Joining alone doesn't make you slim and athletic. You need to actually use the gym for that to happen, and it also isn't an overnight process. You also probably need to change your diet.

In the same way, joining the IoD is not going to get you an internship, answer your business questions, or provide a great new network of contacts UNLESS you actively engage with it.

It also isn't the 'whole' business puzzle. You will need to do other things as well. But it might be a useful 'piece of the puzzle' if you make effective use of it.

Assuming you do though, for a relatively modest £75 or £99 a year (on 'student' or 'IoD99' memberships - joining could be an option that is worth considering).

Thanks to Joe Fitzsimons for coming in to talk to LSBM this week.

You can find out more about the Institute of Directors here: https://www.iod.com

Stuart Brown
Media and Content Manager


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