Xavier de Bergeyck graduated from EU Business School in 1996 with a Master of Business Administration. In the years since, he has gone on to forge an impressive career in private banking. He is currently a Relationship Manager for KBC Private Banking in Belgium.
Hello Xavier and thank you for your time. Congratulations on winning the Chapter Leader of the Year Award – we are sure that the next award is just around the corner!
Can we begin by asking what your current post as Relationship Manager at KBC Private Banking entails?
Being a relationship manager in a private bank goes way beyond managing relationships with your wealthy clients; the position also demands an extensive knowledge of the investment environment as well as all other niche fields that sophisticated investors might be operating in (credits, insurances, estate planning, real estate projects, their family business, etc.).
As a trustful, long-term partner of your client, you act as an ambassador for them towards the bank. You are also always looking to defend their interests in order to best prepare and protect their assets for future generations.
As the effects of the crisis are still being felt in most parts of Europe, what does KBC do to guarantee sustainable and socially-responsible practices?
As KBC has historically been the most innovative bank in Belgium, it has obviously suffered from its financial engineering capabilities. That said, the crisis also presented an opportunity to reassess the traditional ways of doing business while implementing protective measures.
KBC has a very clear policy for sustainable and socially-responsible practices: in addition to a strict Code of Conduct, all employees are required to work ethically while respecting all stakeholders, the community and the environment.
Every language you speak can be considered an additional degree.
As you have been an EU Alumni Association Chapter Leader for two years now, how has the association developed?
When accepting the responsibility of the Brussels Chapter, I set three goals: reconnect with alumni that lost contact with EU, arrange opportunities for alumni to network and connect them with the business, political and diplomatic world. We met with ambassadors, a former Prime Minister, and several industry captains, all in an intimate atmosphere – the most appropriate one to develop business opportunities.
It sounds like you are accomplishing your goals! Why did you choose to get involved with the Alumni Association?
I choose to join the Alumni Association, because I fully support the EU Business School’s efforts to provide its alumni with one of the most unique platforms to network across industries and continents. We can be proud of what EU stands for!
… the crisis also presented an opportunity to reassess the traditional ways of doing business while implementing protective measures.
Have your contacts within the Alumni Association helped you in your career or vice-versa?
My involvement in the association has brought several business and job opportunities for fellow alumni. Putting my expertise at the service of the association has been very rewarding.
On a more personal level, how did you find your first job after graduating?
I was fortunate to start as a trainee in the trading floor of one of France’s most iconic banks of the 90’s, Credit Lyonnais, thanks to a personal contact – a privileged way to start a career.
How helpful has it been being able to speak four languages proficiently? Do you have any specific examples of it helping you?
Thanks to these languages, I have been able to work in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Every language you speak can be considered an additional degree.
Please tell us about a problem you have had in your professional life and how you overcame it.
Every problem in my professional (but also personal) life has been an opportunity, even when it did not seem so at first sight. I turned these problems or hurdles to my advantage, taking a positive attitude when they appeared.
What is the most valuable thing you learned at EU which has helped you in your career?
EU has given me the opportunity to discover the industry in which I wanted to excel. The global expertise in business management I accumulated at EU has also helped me in every career move, and provided me with confidence.
What is the most valuable thing that you have learned in your professional career?
We are all people in the people business. We are humans managing people, we buy from people and sell to people, we learn from people… The human factor is the most important one when running a business. People are one of the most valuable (but also least predictable) assets that have few substitutes.
Excellent. Thank you for all your thoughtful responses, and we all hope that you continue your success into the future.