When the Core Team pitched to the entire MBA student body wearing airline outfits and promising to “take participants around the world in three days,” we knew that this year’s MBA Tournament (MBAT) was going to be something different.
An HEC Paris MBA tradition dating back to 1991, the first-ever MBAT featured 12 sports. This year’s edition presented 25 – more than the Winter Olympics – including the new additions of paint ball, e-sports and ultimate Frisbee.
The work of finding sponsors and marketing to students from Europe’s other top business schools begins early. For the 29th edition, MBAT’s marketing team undertook a complete redesign of the event’s logo and website. They also launched an extensive social media campaign around the hashtag #MBATonBoard. In addition, they developed an application that allowed users to share comments and photos throughout the games.
“One thing I learned is how hard it is to maintain a strong social media presence around a single event for seven months,” says Asaf Goldberg, MBAT’s Marketing Director. “That said, I am extremely proud that we created more diverse channels and platforms to communicate with our audience. We established a community around the MBAT experience.”
Behind the scenes, the 35 members of the Core Team spent the better part of a year performing all the logistical gymnastics required to accommodate, transport, feed and entertain the 1,500 students from 14 participating schools.
“MBAT is a real-life implementation of what we learned in our Organizational Behavior class,” explains Oliver Chen, President of the 2019 MBAT. “It was very helpful to use the RGD (Reward, Goal, Desire) tool to motivate people.”
During the three days of MBAT, the rainy weather proved a formidable challenge, as did bus delays. “We really had to learn to manage on the job as the day unfolded,” explains Li Yin Soh, MBAT’s Content Creator. “Sports had to be cancelled or postponed. With the app, we were able to use ‘push notifications’ to share last-minute changes to schedules and locations.”
Among this year’s novelties were the Social Impact Cup, in which schools competed to raise the most money for charity. Winning school Oxford, who also was the 3-peat winner of the entire 2019 Tournament, successfully raised €2,500.
“The Social Impact Cup was a new initiative to bring social awareness into the core of what we do at MBAT, which is to bring MBA students together to compete, have fun and celebrate the three ‘ships’: friendship, sportsmanship and leadership,” explains Li Yin.
In addition, every party had a memorable – and highly photogenic – theme. For example, the dance competition was followed by an All-in-White party. The grand finale took the form of a Parisian masquerade ball featuring Adrien Pelon from The Voice and DJ Alexandre Delarge.
“With over 100 volunteers from the MBA program, we were able to pull it off through teamwork and leadership,” says Li Yin. “MBAT is an experience none of us will forget.”