Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Wonderful meeting at Access MBA Tour Brussels

The current sponsor of my ETP (Executive Travel) Program is the Paris based company Access MBA. They organize one-to-one meetings between candidate MBA students and potential business schools across Europe. Imagine a big room in a splendid hotel, 8 tables representing 8 business schools and a line-up of potential MBA candidates visiting the business schools matching their profiles best.

Today one of the Access MBA tours landed in the Stanhope hotel in Brussels. When I visited their event I noticed two gentlemen representing the Louvain School of Management, an upcoming business school based at the University Catholic de Louvain (UCL)(not to be mistaken with the Catholic University of Leuven, KULeuven).

I also noticed the Louvain School of Management with a big stand at the European Business Summit in Brussels a few weeks ago. They are clearly on the move.

Tonight I met one gentleman of this business school at a coffee table, exhausted from an afternoon filled with interviews. He clearly thought I was another MBA candidate, waiting to be interviewed. But when I told him I actually worked for The Wall Street Journal Europe, and that I came to support a partner, his face lit up like a flare.

"The Wall Street Journal Europe ??", he asked.
"Yes", I responded.
“Sir”, he said, “The Wall Street Journal Europe is the best business newspaper I know. I am a subscriber since I don’t know when, probably since 1989 I think."

The man turned out to be Professor Charles P. Van Wymeersch, Professor of Accounting and Finance at The University of Namur, part of the UCL.

He told me the following things about his love and fascination for WSJE:

  • He reads the the paper every day, that is ....when he receives it. He lives in Namur, Belgium, and sometimes he gets the newspaper only after 2 or 3 days, thanks to the 'efficient' Belgian postal system. But still then he loves to catch up with the business news because of the particular WSJE angle.
  • The compact format is a big plus.
  • He likes WSJE because we have longer articles that tend to dig deeper than articles in other papers.
  • FT he finds 'irrelevant' when you have read WSJE.
  • He learned about the WSJ in the US when he studied there for his MBA.
  • If he had to chose between the WSJE and the WSJ (US version) in Europe, he would definitely chose for the current WSJE. The WSJ (US) version is 'irrelevant' for a European audience.
  • He spends about 30 to 50 min reading the WSJE every day although he would love to have more time to read the paper.
  • He almost always starts his lessons at the University with The WSJE. He uses the WSJE as his most important education tool in the classroom.
  • He absolutely dislikes reading newspapers on a screen.
  • Unfortunately he will be forced to buy an online subscription when he retires in a few years time because he will not be able to pay 400 Euro’s for a normal print subscription (today he says he has a ridiculously cheap university subscription).
  • A quote we should frame in our offices: “ I always tell my students it is better to read The Wall Street Journal Europe for 2 hours, than to come to class and listen to me for 2 hours. You probably learn more by reading this newspaper.”

Top: Access MBA Tour at Stanhope Hotel Brussels
Bottom: Professor Van Wymeersch, long time WSJE subscriber