In September, the SDA Bocconi School of Management organized their annual MBA Conference & Regatta, in partnership with the One Ocean Foundation. For the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of participating in this unique event that brings alumni and students together and celebrates the friendship between some of the most important MBA programs in the world. Simply put, this is one of the “shouldn’t-miss” events of the year. Just like MBAT, this trip allows students to network with other MBAs and to compete for HEC Paris. Last year’s regatta inspired me to do my best when I had the chance to serve as the 2019 MBAT VP of Activities, organizing the tournament’s various events and activities. MBAT is to sports what this regatta is to sailing: number one in Europe.
Having attended last year’s competition in Santa Margarita Ligure, I knew that my suitcase needed to hold both sailing attire for the day and fancy evening wear for nightly events. However, this year’s competition was special because, for the first time, it was going to take place in Porto Cervo. We were heading to one of the most exclusive destinations on the Italian island of Sardinia.
After arriving in Porto Cervo and getting a glimpse of the spectacular views, we checked in and got to know everyone on the HEC Paris MBA team. Nineteen current students and one alumnus divided into two competing categories: off-shore, with Luca Passoti (S18) as skipper, and cruise, with Steffen Brand (S19) as a licensed sailor.
That night, the welcome party took place at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, one of the event’s organizers. We enjoyed Aperol Spritz, Prosecco and Italian hors d’oeuvres by the pool.
The next day it was time to sail. Both of the HEC Paris MBA boats took advantage of the island’s strong winds. Sailing is a team effort. To make the most out of the wind’s force, decisions have to be made fast. After some three hours at sea, it was time to dock, swim, and enjoy some food and drinks next to other schools’ boats. Later that day, a visit to the beautiful Porto Cervo awaited, followed by a party where we met students from other MBA programs and danced into the night.
The last day of sailing came, but there was some bad news: the wind was so strong that the competition was canceled. Skippers were asked to go out only at their discretion. We decided to be safe, and went to a nearby beach to sunbathe and relax, accompanied by the unofficial HEC Paris sailing mascot, an inflatable lobster named Don Porfirio. After that, it was time to dress-to-impress for the gala: a truly spectacular dinner and an after-party at a local club. This unforgettable night was full of music, champagne and networking.
The weekend went too fast, and just like last year’s, it was one of the highlights of my MBA. I’m thankful for the amazing people I met, and for having the chance to share yet another great experience with students from the HEC Paris MBA. Needless to say, HEC Paris might not have the best MBA sailing team yet, but it does have one that is known for its friendliness. I’m sure we’d win the congeniality award if there was one.
Text by Luis Raúl Martínez
Luis Raúl Martínez (MBA ’20) majored in Economics at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. He started working at Danone in 2012 as a trainee for ingredients sourcing. Later, he became a buyer for packaging and, in 2014, he was promoted to Logistics Sourcing Junior Manager. In 2015, Luis joined Syngenta as Direct Procurement Leader for LatAm North. Last year, inspired by Danone’s CEO Emmanuel Faber, he started an MBA at HEC Paris where he immersed himself in a variety of extracurricular activities, first by joining the MBAT core team as Vice President of Activities and after by creating DELTA, an event of the LGBT+ Allies Club. He believes HEC Paris to be the ideal place to improve his leadership skills, which in turn will enable him to add the utmost value when reintegrated into a business.