Schulich hosts 700 students from across Canada at the 2014 MBA Games
Close to 700 MBA students from across Canada travelled to Toronto to compete in the MBA Games, the annual competition which puts the academic, athletic and spirit abilities of graduate business students to the test. This year, it was the team of students from the DeGroote School of Business who took home the top prize – the prestigious Queen’s Cup – from the 26th annual event.
“MBA Games is an event that DeGroote looks forward to each year and we were fortunate enough to put together a team of 40 talented MBA students to compete in this year’s Games,” said DeGroote co-captains Lesleanne Blakeley and Matt Wilusz in a statement. “Planning and organizing the team began in the summer, with regular team practices and bonding leading up to the weekend-long event. We couldn’t be happier to see that the team’s hard work has paid off.”
“Schulich did a fantastic job in hosting MBA Games this year,” said Blakeley and Wilusz. “We’re excited to have the Queen’s Cup back at DeGroote, and can’t wait for the next MBA Games back on home turf in 2015!”
Along with the overall Queen’s Cup, the DeGroote team won the athletics category, which included soccer and volleyball games. The team from the Ivey Business School at Western University won the academic category, which included case competitions in marketing, strategy, finance and sustainability. And in the spirit category, which featured a cardboard boat race and a scavenger hunt throughout the city of Toronto, the team from the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta placed first.
The MBA Games also featured a community component and the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University team was the top fundraiser, contributing $25,000 of the total $50,081.33 raised on behalf of the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation, a national charity that provides support to families and children with cancer.
Schulich won the 2013 MBA Games, which gave the School the responsibility of hosting this year’s event, and Meghan Iley, Richard Boivin and Beth Nuniam were the co-chairs of Schulich’s organizing committee.
“The energy of the students was contagious as they competed in various events over the course of the weekend, cheering not only for their own team, but for others as well. It was great to see such fantastic camaraderie between competitors,” the co-chairs said in a statement.
“This event would not have been possible without the generous support of our title sponsor, National Bank, sponsors Canadian Tire, CITT and Microsoft, and our supporting partners Toronto Sports and Social Club, CGA Ontario and Thirty Below.”
Schulich Team Captain Bopanna (CK) Chodumada said leading the Schulich team in the Games was a fun and rewarding experience.
“MBA Games 2014 was an experience of a lifetime, not just for me, but for the entire Schulich contingent,” he explained. “Although we didn’t win the games this year, we will take what we learned and experienced and come back as a much stronger team next year. Kudos to the organizers for pulling off this amazing event – the winning mindset never changes!”
Joe Fayt, a Schulich marketing instructor and the coach of the Schulich squad, said the quality of the team this year was unprecedented.
“We have the most amazing team,” said Fayt. “The team’s calibre gets better every year. The group is sharp, smart, flexible and really creative. Our students compete intensively and yet are still collaborative. Everyone really wants to win and win with the right attitude. They support one another.”
For the 41 members of the Schulich team, which was supported by title sponsor Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Friday’s opening ceremonies was one of the highlights of the weekend.
“It was definitely the most fun night,” notes GBC President Pooya Faez (MBA’14), who participated on the soccer and case competition teams.
Saturday’s athletic events included soccer and dodgeball games. In soccer, Schulich had a great few wins – including a 3-0 match again Laurier who ended up second in soccer overall – but did not progress to the playoffs. In dodgeball, one of the most talked about moments on the field was when Schulich team member Michael Ferber dislocated his shoulder only to pop it back in, keep playing and help win the game at hand. In another dodgeball game, Mark Berkley was the sole athlete left on the court and went on to eliminate all remaining opponents, winning the game. Schulich was eventually outdone by Dalhousie.
“Members of other teams and even team coaches complimented me on the Schulich team’s great attitude as defending champions,” says Chodumada. “Don’t get me wrong – on the field we played with all our heart and soul, but with the right spirit.”
The Inside Ride, an indoor still-bike race in pursuit of the longest pedaled distance in a four-person relay, was just one of the Spirit category events to take place on Saturday. Schulich finished second after Ivey (Western) pulled ahead and won by an impressive 7 km over all other teams. A poolside boat race also took place – the Schulich team took inspiration from Pirates of the Caribbean and dressed in costume – with points awarded for best design, best crash and first finish.
The Schulich team’s greatest strength on Saturday was its performance in the academic competitions. Both the marketing and strategy teams made the finals and the marketing team eventually finished in second place overall.
On Sunday, spirit activities included a citywide scavenger hunt and a Top Ad Exec event. In the classroom, Schulich gave it their all in the sustainability and finance case competitions but unfortunately neither team progressed to the final round. In athletics, the Schulich team played a few exciting rounds and suffered some close losses in ultimate Frisbee while the volleyball team won their first four games, made the semi-finals and finished in third place.
In the end, although the DeGroote School of Business (McMaster) won the competition and Schulich finished in ninth place, Coach Fayt said he was inspired by the intense level of effort and commitment he saw from the whole team this year.
“Of course we love to win, but I was most impressed with the team spirit. Our finish made many of the first year students on the team all that much more charged to come back and win it next year.”
Faez shares a similar view, knowing it was “not for lack of effort, commitment, or dedication” that Schulich missed the Queen’s Cup this year.
“Every team practiced relentlessly,” he explained. “We played soccer every weekend. The case competition teams had practice runs weekly. It was great to be a part of this team.”
For GBC Social Affairs Director Ruku Sandhu, it was enough for her just to be part of the Schulich team.
“It is truly an honour and pleasure to have represented Schulich with a group of extremely talented people,” she said. “The friendships that I made through this experience will hold a very special place in my heart.”