Started in 1988 at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, the MBA Games is the largest gathering of MBA students in Canada. Participants compete in athletic, academic and spirit competitions, as well as appear at networking events to meet fellow MBAs from across the country.
Dalhousie’s Rowe School of Business made its comeback in 2013 after a three-year hiatus from the games. The ABC team discussed this event with Afif Nassif who organized the Dalhousie presence at the games, as well as two participants, Becky Rogez and Kyle Palantzas. The following is a combination of their responses.
Where were the games this year?
The games were hosted by McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business in Hamilton, Ontario, January 4-6. All participants stayed at the Sheraton Hamilton hotel and events were held at the main McMaster campus and the Ron Joyce Centre, which is the building for all McMaster MBA students.
How many universities participated?
Twenty-two universities from across Canada participated in the games. Syracuse also sent a small team.
What were the competitions?
There were three main types of competition: Spirit, Academic and Athletics. Dal participated in the opening ceremonies’ team dance competition, all four academic cases (Finance, Crisis Management, Strategy and Marketing) and two of the four athletic events: basketball and volleyball (the others were floor ball and dodge ball).
How many Dalhousie students attended?
Fifteen Dal students attended. Twelve were in second year (2013 cohort) and three were in first year (2014 cohort). The second-years were Mahmoud Zeidan, Kareem Sobaih, Kerry Bullock, Sara-Beth Harrison, Kaetlyn Graham, Ryan Meyers, Lyndon Bentley, Eric Dunford, James Ewart, Jen Jackson, Mike Parcon and Kevin O’Hearn. First-years were Becky Rogez, Kyle Palantzas and Lauren Glass.
What were your roles surrounding the games?
Afif was the organizer for the team and the person responsible for Dalhousie’s presence at the games. He took care of all the logistics involved leading up to the event, including organizing flights, registering the team and pushing for funding. In regards to his role, Afif said, “the whole process can be daunting, however it is extremely gratifying once you succeed at the games and achieve great results that reflect well on your school.”
Becky was the team captain, and played basketball as well as participating in the crisis management case competition with Kyle.
What awards did Dalhousie receive?
Dalhousie won the best showing at the opening ceremonies, first place in the crisis management case competition, third place overall for academics, and the “Mini Cup” which is an award for the most points per participant. For the finance and marketing case competitions Dalhousie was in the top five and top 10 respectively.
How do you believe this experience has been beneficial to you?
The MBA Games is a great avenue for students to hone the skills and use the knowledge they have accumulated through their MBA program while collaborating with others in challenging situations that require diligence and commitment. The is also an opportunity for MBA students from all across Canada to network with each other and with various professionals. As Becky said, “[the games] validated all of the money I spent on tuition and made me extremely proud to be a part of the Dalhousie MBA program.”
What did you learn—anything specific?
“After getting the chance to watch other schools participate in the case competitions it really hit home how important soft skills are in business, and how important it is to be personable and sincere. People want to work with real people. It’s all well and good if you know all of the academic theories on a topic, but it’s more important to connect with people. It’s also important to be modest and to be able to identify and capitalize on new learning opportunities.”
“The MBA Games also taught me how rewarding it can be to step outside your comfort zone. In the case competition presentation I presented the bulk of the important information, and I had never done a case competition before. The other members of my team were all extraordinary presenters and they trusted me to do a good job. It felt so great to finish those presentations, knowing that we did a good job, and then go on to win.” – Becky
Can you talk about the excitement/challenges associated with the games?
“It was a little bit intimidating to be such a small team walking into the Sheraton as all of the other teams were arriving. Other teams had been preparing for the games since the beginning of the year and had so much team “swag”—t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, sweat pants, scarfs. All we had were our Dalhousie t-shirts that the MBA Society donated. We made it work, though—with some supplies from Ardenes (funky socks, suspenders and sun glasses)—and we kept getting compliments on our cool outfits.” – Becky
What was the highlight of the games for you?
“The highlight of the MBA Games was the remarkable way both the Corporate Residency MBA program and the Dalhousie University Rowe School of Business were represented through the achievements of the team and the awards we collected. This is particularly important for the CRMBA program, its image and what it stands for, given that it is still a relatively new and young program.” – Afif
“The highlight of the games was definitely when we were sitting at the opening ceremonies after dinner and they started the awards. The first award was for the opening ceremonies. When Dal’s name was called for first place, above UBC which had an amazing presentation, the entire table got out of their seats and screamed and cheered. That was pretty amazing. Then, things got even better when the academic awards were called and my team won crisis management. I was sitting beside my team mates and we all jumped up and cheered. That high stayed with me for most of the night. I was very lucky to have an amazing team—Eric Dunford, Jen Jackson, Kyle Palantzas and myself.” – Becky
Anything else you want to add?
“I would like to mention that our supporters were the Rowe School of Business and CIBC. Without their support we would not have been able to participate.” – Afif
“Every MBA student should have a chance to attend the MBA Games. It was definitely the highlight of my MBA experience thus far and, like I said earlier, it validated every penny that I have spent in tuition and it made me extremely proud of my school and my classmates.” – Becky
“The MBA Games really opened my eyes to how competitive Dalhousie’s MBA program is relative to the rest of the country. We are really part of something special here. The crisis management competition was challenging and tailored for high-level thinkers and presenters. Every member of our team brought something to the table and I think it’s our diversity that put us over the top.” – Kyle
For more information on the MBA Games, check out the website at www.mbagames.ca