Alumni events offer a good opportunity for interaction. “There’s an exchange of information; a two-way communication,” he says.
“It’s not that we are telling our audience how they should do things, because they also have very valuable insights gained from their practical understanding. These events are a valuable interface between SBE and the alumni, and also between academia and practice, as many alumni work in practice. There are a lot of insights to be gained on both sides about what is going on, what is becoming important and what different skills are becoming necessary.”
Wetzels also keeps in touch with alumni in other ways. “I have a very regular ongoing communication with alumni,” he says. “I still have a very good relationship with former students and PhDs who are working in practice. We discuss what is going on, data that they can make available or phenomena they want to look into, problems they need help to solve. Combining practical relevance with insights from theory provides a very effective way of solving real-life problems.”
Himself an alumnus of SBE, Wetzels is from the Maastricht area. He says the university has had a major impact on the region, and that its location is one of SBE’s major strengths.
“It’s very well connected in Europe, which makes people here very well positioned for future developments,” he says. “I think that’s why a lot of students choose UM. We have a school known all over Europe and globally, with a great reputation research-wise that was built over a very short period.
“It makes me very proud to work at the school in which I studied. Compared with other schools in the Netherlands that have been around for some time, and almost out of the blue, UM and SBE have been able to develop and maintain a very strong position,” Wetzels adds. “It is acknowledged internationally that what has been accomplished here is really quite extraordinary. That was hard to predict when I started studying here back in 1987.”