Last week our MBS team consisting of Kelly, Bernardo, Niyati and John travelled from Manchester airport to Athens, Greece on a flight operated by Easyjet which is of course the brainchild of famous Athens-born entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
And what a fitting way to begin our campaign of high-flying entrepreneurship at the European Business Plan of the Year Competition (
) to pitch our business proposal alongside other top European business schools to international venture capitalists and esteemed judges.
The 2013 EBPY competition hosted by ALBA Graduate Business School at The American College of Greece was a fantastic opportunity to proudly represent MBS and present our business plan in 20 minutes plus 10 minutes Q&A. The audience and judges congratulated us on our business plan, our performance and the way we fought to bring a comprehensively legal, innovative cash management solution for specific medical marijuana dispensaries in the U.S.A.
Although we did not pass to the final round, after a special feedback session with the judges, we won many plaudits from the excellent ALBA business school staff, judges and fellow competitors.
The final rounds involving a further presentation with a 15 minute Q&A was eventually won by WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management from Germany for their electronic parking plan “evo-park”, followed by London Business School, who pitched a re-heated gourmet pizza chain and EM Lyon Business School, providing synchronised light bulbs for the home in third place.
However, the EBPY competition was not all work and no play! After the tremendous adventure of preparing and presenting our plan, we had great fun in Athens as all the teams socialised over dinner and drinks looking over the famous Acropolis which we later visited to enrich our cultural experience of the home of Democracy and Western philosophy.
As we arrive back into Manchester on Stelios’ airline, we are full of inspiration as the EBPY organisers are looking forward to another promising plan from MBS in 2014!
We would like to say a big “σας ευχαριστώ/”efharistó̱” (Thank you) to all our classmates, faculty, mentors and advisors who supported and encouraged us to get our business plan off the ground!
The number of people working in corporate sustainability has expanded significantly over the past decade. Many organisations now employ large, diverse teams that are dedicated to delivering practical business solutions in a sustainable way — from responding to resource depletion and supply chain sustainability to driving consumer behaviour change and realising energy efficiency savings.
As the number and diversity of roles primarily focused on addressing organisational sustainability have increased, so too have the number of people entering the profession from other fields. Industry data reveals that around one-third of sustainability and cleantech professionals have prior work experience in unrelated sectors. Professionals from marketing, engineering, IT and manufacturing are all joining sustainability teams and bringing with them a range of different business skills.
On this note, I would say that the Sustainable Venture Capital Investment Competition (SVCIC) offers a promising opportunity for prospective MBA students and budding entrepreneurs who are interested in pursuing a career in sustainability. The competition also provides access to a network of sustainability-minded entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
Participating teams act as associates at a venture capital (VC) fund. Their task is to review a number of business plans and select one to invest in. This involves conducting due diligence, interviewing the entrepreneurs, and performing valuations that consider the profitability, viability, sustainability and social impact of each business plan. Following this, the teams are required to give a brief presentation to a panel of judges, who are acting as partners at your VC fund, to convince them that your investment hypothesis is sound while clearly highlighting the social or environmental impact of the selected business plan.
The below article is an abridged version of one from my personal blog. For more of my personal take on the Manchester MBA please visit mbamanchester.com
I write this one week on from the most exciting, social and fun experience of the Manchester MBA so far. No it wasn’t another stimulating piece of academia or even internship related shenanigans. It was instead the annual MBA Tournament (MBAT) held at HEC Paris.
The MBAT is a sporting tournament held every year held in the countryside outside the French capital. Teams from the top business schools in Europe and further afield compete in events varying from touch rugby to billiards to poker to karting mixed with the inevitable evening drinking sessions – it is an MBA event after all!
The action starts on the first day when all the teams, having travelled by planes, trains and converted London buses, converge on campus at the same time sporting their team’s distinctive liveries. For Game of Thrones aficionados it is reminiscent of the banners gathering for war. The bright oranges of Rotterdam merge with the greens of Insead, the whites of IE, the purples of Manchester (yes really, if you come to the school you’d better get used to that colour) and the various hues of blue that represent Oxford, Cambridge, LBS and HEC.
First event up for me was the poker and the biggest personal disappointment of the weekend. Having got off to a blistering start I made the final two on my table with 2/3rds of the chips under my control. Unfortunately my inexperience caused me to reign in my aggression and my opponent was able to turn things round to make the final. Lesson learned.
Day two began with an early, hungover, start and the group stage of the football against Cambridge. My role was mainly to offer encouragement from the sidelines and provide another pair of eyes for the captain. I did, however, get a run out for ten minutes at the end of a 4-0 victory which was great until a couple of kicks reminded me I’m not so young anymore.
Next up, after a spell watching MBS’s touch rugby and womens’ football teams in action, was the cricket, with 90% of the players on all teams seemingly from either India or Pakistan. We played Insead and while I enjoyed the experience I didn’t see much action as our top four batsmen racked up a record score before we saw the game out by catching the bulk of their team on the boundary.
Following this, though, was the highlight of the weekend. Dodgeball, for which I was team captain. For those who are not aware, this sport involves hurling rubberised balls at the opposing team and diving around trying to avoid blows to painful parts of the anatomy. It was a tale of a rag-tag team coming together on the day to steal the prize from under the nose of the big boys. An underdog story if you will…
A straightforward win against Rotterdam in the preliminaries….A new player spotted with a golden arm and picked off the sidelines for the quarter final against the LBS….A disastrous start, falling 5-2 down….Despair on the sidelines….A spectacular high risk catch starting the comeback…Back from the dead with a narrow victory….The semi’s against the light blues of Cambridge….Back and forth before MBS claim victory….The final against the catsuit wearing Oxford….A mouthed “you’ll lose” from the opposing captain, wearing his favourite stars and stripes underwear, at the handshake….Another poor start, men down early….The star player picked on and picked off….3-1 down and almost out….A fingertip catch from Chirag pulling a man back for us….Another match winning catching chance narrowly fumbled….Down to a sudden death one on one….Jason verses Captain America….An exchange of fire for what seems an eternity….Balls whistling by, missing flesh by millimetres….The clock ticking down….Oxford will win on countback if there is no outright victor….The final minute….A ball is thrown….It’s at throat height….Jason takes the catch….The crowd explode….Jubilation….Pitch invasion….The most intensive display of man-love this side of Brokeback Mountain….MBS take the trophy.
Sadly this, aside from the celebratory drinks, was it for me at MBAT. I had to return to the UK a day early for a friend’s wedding so I missed the fun and games of the final day. MBS performed respectably with good performances from the football, cricket, table tennis and babyfoot teams but sadly no additional trophies to take home. An overall position of fifth in the medals table was ours.
So will the MBAT experience enhance my CV, my personal network and give me valuable new skills to take into my post MBA career? Well, probably not, but it was a heck of a good time and I wouldn’t have missed it for all the distinction grades in the world.
Alumni stories: the 10 things I wish I had done (or done a bit more!) during my Manchester Business School MBA
Hola a todos from México!
How are you doing? I know that it has been a long time, but it is until now that I have an interesting story to share with you. Recently, I met a group of Mexican candidates for the MBA programme 2015 (yes… I feel like an old veteran just by thinking of that date), and they asked me the following question: What are the things that you wish you had done during your stay in Manchester?
To be honest with you I could not reply that question without giving it proper thinking. It is very tough to look back and find the opportunities that I missed from 2009 – 2011. Still, I think it is a very relevant question that could help current and future MBAs during their time in Manchester Business School.
So, without more explanations, here you have the 10 things that I wish I had done (or done a bit more!) during my MBA in Manchester Business School:
1. Expanding the network outside of Manchester Business School: the MBA is REALLY busy and demanding; however, I know that I could have met more locals by joining sporting or cultural clubs out of the MBA circle. I was lucky to meet a few footballers through Zalan, my Hungarian friend and classmate, but I think I could have done more. Part of the excitement of being abroad is to make more and more connections.
2. Learning a new language: I am sure I could have learned portuguese alongside my MBA studies. Perhaps trying Russian would have been very challenging, but I would advise MBAs to give a try to a language that is similar (or belongs to the same “family”) to your native language. The more I develop my career, the more I realise that languages are key skills in your curriculum.
3. Doing community service: something I have realised is that you get to know more of a place when you actually give back to the community. While the programme has got an exciting Not-for-profit project, I guess I could have done some extra charity work through ONGs or charitable associations. As I described in “The Business” magazine in 2011 (in Manchester): “this is not about the amount of things I can gain from an experience; instead, this is all about the amount of things I can do and give to others”.
4. Perfecting a hobbie: I am really happy to share with you that I just recently presented my photography in a local gallery in Mexico. It went really well and many of the photos got sold. Manchester has got a fantastic offer of courses for people interested in sports and arts. I am sure that I could have joined a few courses and mastered my photo-skills back then.
5. Eating with moderation: this is a very important point and I will keep it simple. Despite of the amount of work and stress, please be careful with your heating and drinking habits. I returned to Mexico with a few extra kilos and now I wished I had controlled my apetite for fish n´ chips!
6. Travelling!: this is a bit difficult if you don´t have much spare money during the MBA. Still, there are excellent opportunities to travel around Europe on a budget scheme. I was so into work that I guess I missed the chance of visiting Greece, Turkey and Russia. (Anyway, I am sure I will go very soon, hehe).
7. Connecting with my classmates beyond the expectation: this point is a bit hard to explain, since I consider myself a social Mexican and I had a rather positive relationship with most of my classmates. I guess when I look back I wish I had understood more about some of the very distant and diverse cultures represented in my class. It is tough to find the time, and you usually get drowned into the social group that you conform by afinity; however, we are paying a lot of money to learn, and learning from others is a unique opportunity that is present during the MBA. More importantly, it is important to keep in touch after the MBA (thank you Facebook because you make this point easier )
8. Reaching more alumni: another point that is complex to explain, since I was a natural networker. Alumni are key to career, social and entrepreneurial opportunities. It was until the last part of the MBA that I became really active in Alumni relationships, ones that have been critical in the development of my own career. I guess that this is an opportunity that has to be explored since day 1 of the MBA. Currently, I am an active member in my alumni network and in the Global Alumni Council.
9. Pushing myself to the limits and beyond: this is a slightly philosophical point and it depends upon every individual. The main message here is that this is the time to learn (do not forget that you are paying serious money to do so). Be not afraid of crossing the boundaries (the right ones!, of course!) and pushing yourself to the limit. The only consequence if you fail is that you will learn!
10. Enjoying every day… every minute… as if it were the last!: wait people… I truly enjoyed my MBA and I still find it one of the happiest times in my life, but there is always room for more (as the tittle says, things I wish I had done – or done a bit more!). Many days in the MBA are busy and tough. Stress is definetely the enemy of the XXI century. Studying an MBA in Manchester Business School is challenging and demanding. I believe that it is until you finish the programme that you realise that a few projects could have been more relaxed and that learning should be fun at all times. I guess that more than a wish, this is my advice to all people doing an MBA in Manchester. Put things into perspective, and rescue what is valuable from every project and experience. Avoid getting into gossip, conflict and negativism. The MBA has been a life changing experience for me, and I wish I was still there living the journey that began in 2009. Why? Because I was truly happy.
The MBA Ball on the 28th of March, 2013 was when we officially bid our farewells to the Class of 2013. While many have already left Manchester, many others have been around and are often seen working in G8. As they begin to leave to start their new lives in new cities with new jobs, I think this would be a great opportunity to bid them farewell once again.
When I walked into the Great Hall, it was draped in an elegant combination of red, blue and black in keeping with the theme of ‘Fire and Ice’. It looked amazing and I was sure the Class of 2013 would like it. It was their evening after all. The night started off with some sparkling wine followed by a three-course meal. Dinner was peppered with some speeches by Prof Luger, Prof Elaine Ferneley, and the outgoing and incoming Presidents – Akshay and Reid. I don’t think anyone will forget that Prof Ferneley, in her usual style, stood up on the chair to speak, and that Akshay, as is his usual style, spoke longer than he needed to. The Class of 2013 band topped it off with a fabulous performance as they played together for the last time. The Class of 2014 band certainly has some high expectations to live up to.
Through the night, I looked at the camaraderie that had developed between the students of the Class of 2013 and I wondered what it would be like for us next year. The last 8 months at MBS have been rewarding and a lesson in teamwork and team building. I have seen people from 28 countries come together as one large team of 111. While I do look forward to graduating, I do not look forward to bidding my classmates goodbye.
It has been exactly one month since the MBA Ball at the Palace Hotel and time has flown since. I still remember frantically looking for the perfect gown and convincing the men to wear tuxedos. I still remember sending out the invitations and sorting out the seating arrangements. I also still remember how I couldn’t have done it without the team – Adriana, Patrick, Angela, Kelly, Lanrong and Reid. I can’t thank you enough.
The wait is nearly over!
We asked you to send in your ideas or vision for an innovative new concept or design which will enhance the customer experience within The University of Manchester Library.
You responded in your hundreds and now the shortlisting is complete, invitations have been sent to our eight finalists and we’re counting down to Eureka! The Final! With several MBS students in the final its going to be a close call.
Ortis Deley, best known as a presenter of The Gadget Show, will present the finalists to an impressive panel of judges on Thursday, 2 May in the Kanaris Lecture Theatre. Following an afternoon of pitches and presentations, a winner will be selected.
“We’ve had so many great ideas and we’ve been absolutely delighted by the quality, range, and diversity of entries”, said Nick Campbell, Eureka! organiser.
“Shortlisting has been tough but it’s now up to the judges to decide which one’s the winner!”
Meanwhile, proving that good ideas can be as simple as they are innovative, some non-winning suggestions will also be taken up by the Library and put in place soon.
As Nick says, “As a leading university we’re always seeking improvements. Thankfully, we have some of the world’s leading students with great ideas too!”
Come and see the presentations and judging for yourself.
Book your FREE ticket now:
One week out from the Sustainable Venture Capital Investment Competition (SVCIC) and already, the whole experience seems surreal. After spending the better part of the term researching how to measure social returns for sustainable companies, all of a sudden Monday evening had arrived; bringing with it three business plans for our team to review. I think the biggest reason for our success was our balance between capturing a mixture hard work while also enjoying ourselves. In my opinion, both these elements played a critical role in our team’s victory at the University of North Carolina (UNC).
After speaking with the other teams following the competition, we realised that we had out-prepared everyone there. Not only through reading written materials in the months leading up to the competition, but also by seeking out industry experts and school victors from previous years. We were the most prepared team and it showed to the judges.
However, I believe the other key to our success was being able to enjoy ourselves throughout a stressful week. While it’s important to take things seriously, it’s also important to enjoy what you’re doing. I truly enjoyed working with my team, and this made me want to work hard on behalf of them. They also knew when to tell jokes to lighten the mood, such as when my nerves started to get the best of me right before I was scheduled to present our recommendations to the panel of judges. However, they reminded me to just go out and have fun, and this came through during my presentation.