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European Alumni to Gather in Zurich Oct. 2, 2009

7/17/2009 --

Ross graduate Benno Marbach, MBA '05, presents Joint Alumni Conference.

Ross alumni in Europe are encouraged to attend the conference "New Realities – New Strategies," Oct. 2, 2009, in Zurich, Switzerland. Marketing expert Benno Marbach, MBA '05, is president of the International Joint Alumni Conference (JAC), which brings together more than 400 business leaders and faculty from the world’s foremost business schools.

The 2009 JAC features Ross marketing professor Christie Nordhielm; she will lead a session and also will keynote the congruent CMO Conference on Oct. 1. A CIO conference also is part of the agenda. In addition, JAC 2009 offers a higher education forum to inform prospective MBA/EMBA candidates about business school programs, and a career forum to connect MBA graduates with top-tier companies. The third annual confab takes place at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue.

"JAC not only caters to business leaders but is driven to nurture top talent," says Marbach, a former marketing executive at Samsung, Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Kraft. He currently helms his own company, Marbach of Switzerland, which produces premium silk undergarments for men.

Marbach spoke to Dividend about his reasons for creating the JAC and what he hopes to accomplish by bringing alumni of various business schools together.

What motivated you to found the JAC?
Marbach: I enjoyed and benefited greatly from my two years at Ross -- both professionally and personally. So I wanted to extend that top business school experience after graduation by introducing an annual conference that recaptures the learning and networking platform of a premier MBA program. Today’s ever changing business environment demands continuous learning, self-development, and expansion of networks. Against this backdrop, the JAC provides a compact and customizable platform to access business knowledge and cross-pollinate business thinking among colleagues, peers, and leading faculty from the top 20 business schools.

Each of the top business schools has its own distinctive faculty, outstanding alumni, and unique culture. By joining together under one platform, participants enjoy the exponential benefits of learning and networking with the best.

Besides getting access to the latest business expertise, the JAC also is an opportunity to revive those days of excitement and bonding experienced during business school. Thus we offer a variety of networking events: A charity party with fundraising for Doctors without Borders; a gala dinner with Ulrich Schmid-Maybach, president of the Maybach Foundation (whose great grandfather designed the first Mercedes); and a golf tournament.

Why do you feel it's important to offer a conference that specifically links alumni and faculty from the world's top 20 business schools?
Marbach: One cannot succeed without the other. Solutions to today’s complex business challenges require the experience and expertise from business leaders as well as the foresight of thought-leading faculty. Furthermore, the cross-fertilization of business thinking among alumni and faculty triggers new groundbreaking business research and establishes an important link between business realities and the MBA classroom. I strongly believe that connecting alumni and faculty is a powerful source for generating new cutting-edge business insights, developing superior business practices, and ultimately contributing to an enhanced MBA education.

How did you develop your agenda?
Marbach: This is a time when forward-looking business thinking and new inspirations are needed the most. Therefore the third JAC focuses on outlining the fundamental paradigm shifts and new business practices required to succeed in today’s business environment.

Our keynote speakers include chairmen, CEOs, and board members from top-tier global companies: Credit Suisse, Swiss Re, ABB, Roche, Akzo Nobel, Royal Bank of Scotland, A.T. Kearney, and many more. In addition, our newly launched "Deans' Series" features deans from London Business School and IMD. Meanwhile, participants may customize their conference program by selecting industry-specific executive sessions or participating in a career workshop provided by IMD.

Last but not least, marketing executives can participate in the CMO Conference, which features some amazing thought leaders: Pierre Woreczek, chief brand and strategy officer of McDonald's Europe, and Christie Nordhielm, professor of marketing at Ross.

Why should Ross alumni attend?
Marbach: There is no other conference that brings together so many alumni and faculty for such a powerful learning and networking experience.

More information about the Joint Alumni Conference 2009.

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847,