Sustainability and crisis management guru Christelle Bitouzet flew in from France for the first cosy BMI Alumni DINNER WITH AN EXPERT in many years (and to teach in the BMI EMBA, of course). By all accounts, it was an insightful and delicious evening of exclusive informal interaction.
Nine lucky association members enjoyed this small-group networking and knowledge-sharing event. They represented EMBA graduating classes as far back as 2009 and as ‘recent’ as 2023, and industries from energy, transport and real estate to office equipment, consulting and tech startups.
The venue was Mykolo 4 – a hidden gem of an Old Town restaurant “inspired by 19th-century Vilnius bourgeois cuisine” created and run by fellow BMI alumna Zita Rimkienė.
The honoured guest, who teaches executives at HEC Paris and helps run that prestigious business school’s EMBA, is in fact, as we discovered, more long-time international industry executive and high-level management consultant than professor. Even if she has the academic credentials too. Her main area of focus, sustainability and social responsibility, is now evolving so quickly all over the world that “every year what I teach in the EMBA is really a completely different course,” she said.
Taking CSR seriously (or ESG, if you prefer) is increasingly vital to any company’s performance, competitiveness and long-term survival, Christelle Bitouzet is convinced. Besides the fact that the situation of our planet and society demand it, potential employees are also now demanding proven positive impact, as are the investors and institutions that finance business, ever larger numbers of consumers, and emerging EU regulations on suppliers and traceability, for example.
The discussion over the table for 10 continued through two unhurried courses of impressive cuisine. Alumni shared their own diverse experiences of ESG-related efforts, attitudes and reporting. By dessert, talk was less centralized and topics more diverse: many aspects of the war in Ukraine, how the HEC alumni association functions, what the new BMI Alumni Council is planning, and so on.
In short, the evening was a great, enriching, pleasant success.
In fact, the format of DINNER WITH AN EXPERT is similar to events BMI Alumni held some years ago. All those present this time agreed the concept, with its informality and limited group size is extremely valuable. And that events like this must and will be repeated.
So stay tuned for news about the next such exclusive opportunity.