Every year, HEC Paris invites several business schools in Europe to their campus to participate in the MBA Tournament (“MBAT”), where schools compete for medals in team sports like basketball, football, and also individual games like golf, poker, and even Counter-Strike. For those who are more musically-inclined, there is also a Battle of the Bands and a dance competition, while those who want to get down to business can attend industry-themed networking sessions for a chance to meet MBA candidates from other schools.
Alternatively, it’s also a convenient excuse to see the Eiffel tower, the Louvre and stroll along the Seine river, but in reality our competitive spirit took over and we ended up spending most of our time on the HEC campus to cheer on our classmates, some who had been practising hard in the weeks leading up to MBAT and were participating in multiple events due to IMD’s smaller class size. Ensuring all logistics for the trip went smoothly this May was the Sports Committee.
Battle of the bands
My involvement in MBAT was as part of the band. We called ourselves “The White Horses”, paying homage to the class’s favourite watering hole. Our setlist was carefully curated to be a perfect balance of what we wanted to play, and songs we felt the crowd would enjoy, from classics like “Smoke on the Water”, to contemporaries like “Shallow” from A Star is Born and a medley of songs from around the world such as “Amándote”, “Aadat” and “Omo Naija”.
The Battle of the Bands was the first time we had performed not only for other business schools, but also in front of our classmates. Among some of our contenders were LinkedIn Park from Oxford and MBand from HEC Paris. We were united by our love for music, and the dream to be able to say that in 2022, we played a great show together. On the final night before the big performance, we even made a spontaneous trip to Paris to fit in one last rehearsal where many meaningful words of encouragement were said.
On the night of our performance, as we stepped onto the stage, all nerves melted away when we heard everyone cheering for us from the audience. All that was left was to play/sing our hearts out and let the magic happen.
Securing the hardware
We left France with victories in trivia, FIFA, football, table tennis, foosball, poker, dance, and I’m so elated to say we won the Battle of the Bands too. Compared to other schools, we were a smaller crowd, but that never stopped us from being loud and showing our school spirit. Consistent with this dedication was our Dean Omar Toulan who came to support us at our events – a competitive advantage no other school had.
We came back with medals, but also with something far more valuable – a shared team identity and pride around being the MBA class of ’22.