1995 and Going North!
1995 was an exciting year for the GBC…While sister conferences had sprung up in Canada (the Canadian GBC, hosted by York), and Europe (the CEMS Graduate Conference, which travels among its member schools), we established a new precedent by taking our event outside the United States for the first time. The University of Western Ontario Faculty of Administrative Studies (Western Business School) heralded this momentous occasion by executing a word-class symposium on Global Competitiveness: What Does It Take?
Western continued the tradition of upping the ante for future hosts by lining up a stellar group of speakers and treating the delegates to amazing after hours food and entertainment. Western had not one, but four high-power keynote speakers. Philip Morris Chairman William Campbell kicked off Friday with some thoughts on how to manage the risk of the unknown when doing business globally. His advice to the delegates: “Know what you don’t know”. At a luncheon speech in the London Convention Centre, Dieter Wendelstadt, the Chairman of Colonia, one of Germany’s largest insurance companies, enlightened his audience with a European perspective on competitiveness and what Europe needs to change in order to remain successful in an increasingly global marketplace. Procter and Gamble’s President, John Pepper, closed the day’s program with a multi-media presentation describing the keys to P&G’s success in conquering new markets, such as Eastern Europe.
That evening’s lavish gala awards dinner was held at the London Hunt Club and featured the traditional Heir Lan Gor toast as well the GBF Student Leadership Awards. John Mann of the John M. Olin School of business was honored for his tireless efforts to establish the West End Community Center in urban St. Louis.
The delegates were wide-eyed (if not bushy-tailed) when John Smale, Chairman of General Motors, started Saturday morning off with a speech on the keys to future international trade, as the explosive growth of the middle class in developing countries expands what is becoming a more and more homogenous group of customers around the world. The rest of the day — spent on Western’s own beautiful campus — flew by with workshops and a lunchtime case study discussion with Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (guess what was for dessert?). That evening, delegates and hosts celebrated the conference’s success with a “Canadian Pool Party” — guests were greeted with leis, feasted on tropical foods and danced long into the night. The next morning, the Haas School of Business hosted a farewell brunch and soon thereafter began preparing for the 1996 event.