01 Feb 2002
Europe Business Conference Forecasts the FutureTopics:
on the success of last year's inaugural conference, the HBS
European Club hosted the second annual Europe Business Conference
on the HBS campus November 2-3. The event included some 50
panelists and speakers and drew over 350 participants from HBS
and other graduate schools around the country.
Guillaume Hannezo, CFO and senior EVP at Vivendi Universal, delivered
the opening keynote address on Saturday morning. Suggesting that
the events of September 11 have created a new collective reality
for the United States and Europe, Hannezo noted, "Part of
being European is living with the memory of war on one's
home soil. We know how tragic history can be, and we understand
the fragility of society."
A native of France who relocated to New York last summer, Hannezo
recalled John F. Kennedy's famous declaration, "Ich
bin ein Berliner." Today, he observed, every European feels
a bit like a New Yorker. In the business world, Hannezo predicted
that synergies will continue to develop between Europe and the
United States, thanks to a shared system of values and a wealth
of talent on both sides of the Atlantic. "Together, we will
succeed in enhancing the expansion of trade and economic freedom
that will favor universal growth and prosperity in a more diverse,
Panels held throughout the day included "Consulting in a
Bear Market," "Opportunities in Eastern Europe,"
and "Managing Brands across Multiple European Markets."
Students were given the opportunity to meet with panelists one-on-one
and could also attend a career workshop, hosted by Juergen Bracht
of Frankfurt-based GRIP Personal Consulting, on the status of
the European job market.
Bert W.M. Twaalfhoven (MBA '54), founder and president of
the Dutch holding company Indivers B.V., delivered a high-spirited
address at the conference's conclusion. An entrepreneur responsible
for starting fifty companies in ten countries, Twaalfhoven passed
along his perspective on a number of topics, including the economic
performance of Central and Eastern Europe. "The remarkable
thing is that they have been forced to innovate in order to survive,"
he remarked. "The entrepreneurial spirit in Central and Eastern
Europe is much higher than in Western Europe, because we still
believe in British Telecom and Philips and Unilever." Twaalfhoven
closed by reminding students why it's important to try, try
again. "The Chinese say, 'Failure is the basis for future
success.' I'd like to hire you if you've had a
failure, and you realize what the reason for that failure was."
Cochairs Peter Everett and Marijana Kolak (both HBS '02)
thanked the thirty student organizers and corporate sponsors who
made the conference a success. "In just its second year,
the conference has grown to be the largest event of its kind in
the United States," said Everett. "We've really
benefited from the work of some amazing classmates, as well as
fantastic support from HBS alumni around Europe. We're confident
that the conference has the momentum to become an even bigger
and more remarkable event next year."
Class of MBA 1954, Section D