European MBAs Bring It On!
The MBAT prepares MBA students for the kind of competition they will find in the business world says Bernard Garrette, HEC MBA’s Associate Dean
Every spring, MBA students from Europe, to China, and Australia participate in sport competition to prove their physical superiority over rival schools. After the AGSM – MBS Cup, and the MBA Dragon Boat Race, two weeks ago was Europe’s turn with the traditional MBA Tournament (MBAT)!
The MBAT is the largest sporting event for business schools in Europe. Started in 1991 by HEC Paris, this year it welcomed 1500 participants from fourteen business schools across Europe, including SDA Bocconi, SAID Business School – Oxford, London Business School, IE Business School, Judge Business School – Cambridge, IESE Business School, and many more.
Participants, coming from seventy different nationalities, competed in nearly twenty sports: some traditional, such as running, rugby, soccer, golf, squash, swimming, rock climbing, rowing, cricket and tennis, and some more unusual like salsa, and tug of war.
For Bernard Garrette, Associate Dean of HEC MBA, the MBAT is a once-in-a-lifetime experience: “It has become a cornerstone event for each of the intakes that move through our MBA program...Events like these give all of our universities a truly global perspective and a sense of camaraderie that stay with each of us as we progress in our professional careers.”
Frank De Gioia, coordinator of the 2011 MBAT with Michele Catanzariti, thinks that MBA students have a lot to learn from a sport tournament like the MBAT, and in particular leadership, networking, team building, camaraderie, and unity amongst other individuals.
“An experience like the MBAT, where business schools compete for three days in twenty-four different sports, teaches students how to enjoy competitions and challenges, and how to appreciate the contestant’s value”, adds Michele Catanzariti, “It also promotes positive values between the future business leaders: this year we worked with LiveStrong, the charity founded by Lance Armstrong, to spread the awareness of the fight against cancer.”
It’s the kind of competition MBA students will find in the business world: “Teams have been training for months before the MBAT to give their best. Some of them knew they would have to compete with stronger teams, so they worked even harder”, says Catanzariti.
For De Gioia the highlight of the event was the second day “when everything started coming together: people from different schools started knowing each other and there was a sense of unity amongst individuals”.
Catanzariti enjoyed organizing the event: “We worked for over eight months, interacting with students, and the other schools. HEC Paris was responsible for the entire organization of the tournament (including transportation, accommodation, etc.) and it was amazing to see an entire community working together so perfectly”.
HEC Paris won the 2011 MBAT with 74 points and 11 gold medals: “It was really difficult to achieve such a great result”, explains Catanzarita, “especially since we had already won last year, after long time. It was the result of a common effort, but the greatest thing was winning the competition and organizing the tournament at the same time. I think the enthusiasm we put into this adventure has been rewarded!”
“The key has been the teamwork”, agrees De Gioia, “Lot of hard work and effort from everybody at school, including people who didn’t even play the school to make sure that everything run smoothly, and the information flow worked efficiently etc.”
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