Thursday, April 24, 2008

Preparing Seminar at The London Business School

I'm working together with the Football Club of the London Business School (LBS) to organize a WSJE-LBS Seminar on Football and Business. The seminar is part of the further development of The WSJE Future Leadership Institute. We originally planned to have the 'event' at the final of the Champions League, i.e. May 21, so we could have ended the event with a live session of the final on a big screen. However one of the key note speakers is attached to a club that might end up playing the final. If that would be the case the speaker wouldn't be able to attend. Therefore we moved our seminar to May 29.

In working towards the final the students of the football club asked me to sponsor the games (quarter finals, semi finals etc) leading up to the final. They asked money for each game. I asked why they needed money for each final. "To buy beer", they said. Our policy is not to pay cash for sponsorship deals. But I understood their 'need'. It led me to contact a friend at a Belgian brewery to discuss sponsorship with Belgian beers. I quickly closed a deal, until the moment it became clear the beer had to be delivered in London. The taxes to be paid to import the beer in the UK were so hefty the brewery decided against the sponsoring. But I already had promised the Belgian beer to the students. I had no other choice than to call in a favor of another friend at a beer wholesale factory, hide a superb collection of Belgian beers in the trunk of my car, and deliver the beer myself. In the past, UK customs never ever inspected my car when I used the Eurotunnel so I thought it to be a safe strategy. Indeed, it worked. On the way back to Belgium however I was asked to pull over at Eurotunnel, five custom agents came out and strip searched the car. They even took a drug sample from the seating. Luckily my car was clean...and empty.

(Picture: The President (r) and his team of the London Business School Football Club receiving a collection of Belgian beers)