My name is Michael Bulzan, and I am the regional director for Europe at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Our team is based in London and the “mission” includes enhancing Fuqua’s visibility in the region, working with prospective students for our MBA and Master of Management Studies programs, and building relationships with companies throughout Europe who want to engage with the school. I graduated from the Daytime MBA program in 2003, then worked in New York City for almost four years and now live in Romania. I travel about a third of the time and in the past year have visited 14 countries on behalf of Fuqua.
My “typical day” is a travel day:
7:00 AM – Conclude a short but restful night’s sleep at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in London. We have been holding the Executive MBA residencies at this hotel for the past five years and enjoy an outstanding working relationship with them. The residencies have given, and continue to give our Executive MBA students an opportunity to learn first-hand how business works throughout Europe, via direct contact with regional leaders and top local companies.
7:45 AM – Share breakfast with one of Fuqua’s European Regional Advisory Board members at One Twenty One Two, the hotel’s legendary restaurant. The name traces back to “Whitehall 1212”—the telephone number of the hotel’s former neighbor, Scotland Yard. We discuss the contents of the board member’s upcoming talk to our Global Executive MBA class that will study in Istanbul in January.
9:00 AM – Head to our 165 Fleet Street office, also home to the European staff of Duke Corporate Education (Duke CE). I would normally walk the one-mile route, but today I am carrying some luggage and I take bus #23 from Charing Cross to Fetter Lane. Public transportation in London is terrific, although expensive. The Oyster Card helps.
9:15 AM – Enjoy a catch-up with my colleague and travel companion Stephanie Stone. She has been with Fuqua for more than six years, so I am typically on the receiving end of both news and wisdom. I then have a quick chat with one of the Duke CE managing directors, following up on a lead about a Norwegian organization interested in MBA training.
9:45 AM – Check the final list of candidates for the evening recruiting event and am pleased to see that most of the interview slots that Stephanie and I reserved are booked. We will have no-shows and walk-ins, so the schedule should end up quite full. We typically work with third parties that bring together MBA candidates and business schools from around the world, which helps generate interesting leads.
10:15 AM – Head to St. Pancras Station for the 11:31 Eurostar train to Paris. The journey to Paris’ Gare Du Nord takes less than 2.5 hours, so it makes much more sense than flying in terms of time and cost. I turn on the Uber app and, in about two minutes, a gentleman named Cuma picks us up in a Toyota Prius (the Congestion Charge seems to be affecting the vehicle choice of Uber drivers in Central London).
11:30 AM – We are on the train, which is comfortable but crowded. It’s difficult to work on the laptop, so I settle in with a book. I just got Dr. Kissinger’s “World Order” and, at the risk of sounding pretentious, I find myself enjoying the read as much as a… Dan Ariely book (Dan is one of our well-known, brilliant professors at Fuqua). Just two weeks ago, on the same train, I saw a fellow traveler reading through an operations management course pack; the ensuing conversation was interesting, but she was already enrolled in an MBA program in Scotland.
2:50 PM – As Uber seems to have considerably longer wait times in Paris vs. London, we take a taxi to our hotel by Palais des Congres, where the recruiting event later in the day will be held. There is just enough time to grab a late lunch, but we are used to this predicament by now. I am glad to have had a proper breakfast but thoroughly enjoy the onion soup (I supposed they don’t call it French onion soup in France).
5:00 PM – Back at the hotel, I try to sneak in a video call with my family. Romania is one hour ahead, so I figure that my son Alex and daughter Ada are by now back from tennis practice and ballet class, respectively. Between work and parenting duties, my wife Laura (a fellow 2003 Duke MBA) has certainly had a full day. It’s good to see and hear them, although everyone prefers we didn’t have to use technology to do so. I will be back home in a few days.
5:30 PM – After fully transitioning from “travel mode” to “interview mode” (including doing some in-room shirt ironing, which comes out surprisingly decent), I head down to the conference rooms, where Stephanie is already setting up our table, and pop up the brand-new banner listing all Fuqua programs, from the Master of Management Studies to the Global Executive MBA. We both walk around to greet fellow recruitment representatives from the other 30-plus business schools in attendance.
6:00-9:00 PM – We conduct interviews with potential MBA candidates, pre-screened by the partner organization and further vetted by our team. Overall, there are several promising candidates we will be excited to follow-up with, and I already look forward to sharing some of the conversations with our admissions counselors back on campus.
9:30 PM – We head out for dinner with a current student from Fuqua, on exchange at a Paris business school, and his wife. A representative from another top U.S. business school and two exchange students from there (in the same class as our student) join us. There is some friendly teasing in the mix, but we enjoy each other’s company and talk about ways to popularize the uniqueness of a U.S. MBA in this region.
11:30 PM – It is tempting to stay out longer, but as inviting as the streets of Paris are, the day comes to a close. We need to rest up before another day on the road. Next stop is Madrid (by air this time), for another recruiting event and a group dinner with our amazing Spanish alumni.