(Note: Organized by HEC Paris, MBA Tournament or MBAT is the largest annual gathering of MBA students from top business schools across Europe.)
During autumn term last year, our VP for sports, Sean, already gave us bits of information about MBAT. We were given a list of sports we could join. The excitement of participating in the annual sporting tradition built up and unofficial teams were formed. I signed up for four different sports assuming that the primary purpose was having fun rather than just being competitive. These sports were salsa, wall climbing, football and cross country. Preparation for the competition first began as amateur ‘practice sessions’ which soon transformed into professional-level training (I’m exaggerating a little here) two months before the actual event. Salsa and football practices started as early as October while wall climbing started in January. As for cross country, the team never really trained together but I regularly ran to prepare.
As the event drew near, a Facebook page was created for MBAT2011. Other competing schools began uploading photos and videos of their trainings. I realized that these schools were serious. Of course they joined for fun but they also joined with the goal of winning! Pressure was building up! Still, we at MBS made sure that we would make this one of the most enjoyable events. Instead of uploading our actual trainings, a group of students collaborated and came up with this brilliant video.
(note: If you are unable to view the video with sound, click here)
Juggling trainings for all three events whilst being in an intense MBA program (not to mention trying to have a life outside of it) was tough! Sleep is a luxury in the whole MBA program, but with MBAT training in full gear, it became an extravagance. Time seemed to go faster than the past two semesters combined. My daily schedule was packed!
Amidst the craziness of spring term, MBAT trainings helped maintain my sanity. I would’ve gone crazy if I did just DICE (Designing Internationally Competitive Enterprises), UK consultancy project and MIS (Management Information Systems). In my daily routine, I always looked forward to training with my teams as they took my mind off the academic deliverables.
Now that MBAT is officially over and we’re back in doing our usual routine, I cannot help but reminisce some of the memorable moments in the past seven months that lead to MBAT and during MBAT. There were a lot of fun and funny moments during trainings and a lot of memorable experiences!
Salsa practices were tough because the performance was choreographed (we had to memorize the steps!) and more notably because only one of us happened to be a trained salsa dancer. The rest had to start from scratch. It was amusing watching each other learn the complicated steps that our coach, Hector, was teaching us. It took patience and a lot of practice to finally get those steps right!
Photo credit: Tarun Sakhrani
On the other hand, wall climbing was a breeze…NOT! Our team captain, Vladimir, was really tough on us. He was bent on training us at least once a week, and never allowed us to give up in the middle of climbing a difficult wall. He pushed us to reach the top ALL THE TIME! We did have a lot of light moments too. We made fun of each other’s butt, and saw humour in the rocks on the wall. But what amazed me was the level of trust we had in each other as we took turns belaying a teammate because anything could happen to a climber while climbing a difficult wall and the climber’s life was literally in the belayer’s hands!
Lastly, football training… ahhh.. football. I figured I might as well learn it since I’m already here in Manchester, the capital of football. A part of me felt like I haven’t lived a true Mancunian life if I didn’t at least try kicking a ball! But now that MBAT is officially over, I can finally say (yes, I’ve been keeping this secret to avoid upsetting the team) that football is not for me. Believe me, I tried, but I have never kicked a ball successfully towards the goal. I was just too happy to always be on the defence. Having five more ladies playing a little better than me but equally amateurs was comforting, but having good players (such as Lisa, Lynne and Laura) gave me confidence that at least we wouldn’t be making a fool of ourselves in the actual games. Thanks to our coach Jorge and the support of the men’s football team, we were able to play a notch higher than beginners during the actual tournament!
At the actual event, everybody was in high spirits! We wanted to bring home as many medals as we possibly could. We managed to get gold in table tennis and a bronze each in wall climbing, cricket and men’s football. We placed fifth out of fourteen participating schools, trailing behind HEC, LBS, SAID and IE.
Our performance at MBAT, even if we were not the greatest team, proved our camaraderie and teamwork. We all did our best to support each team, and each of the players did his/her best in representing the school.
The parties at the end of every sporting day helped us unwind after a long day of being ‘athletes’ and allowed us to interact with representatives from other schools outside of the competitive sports environment.
Photo credits: Tomas Chun and Yuichiro Kawasaki
Overall it was 3 fantastic days of non-stop sports, camaraderie, teamwork, parties, booze and a whole lot more!!!
The journey towards MBAT was challenging but A LOT OF FUN! I may forget the skills I have learned in salsa, wall climbing and football but I will definitely treasure the deeper friendships I’ve gained beyond the walls of Manchester Business School and beyond the programme itself.
To the incoming class of 2013, MBAT is one of the many experiences in MBS that you definitely shouldn’t miss!!!
For more photos and hilarious videos, join MBS sports on Facebook!