Cambridge Judge Business School alumni to head up the UK’s largest mass cycling event as part of the London 2012 legacy project
Three alumni who graduated from Cambridge Judge Business School’s Executive MBA programme in 2011 have been at the heart of creating the UK’s largest mass participation cycling event, which will form part of the London 2012 legacy project and even has the backing of London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Stuart Blackley, Ed Brand and Stephen Edwards, all keen cyclists, used their team consulting project to propose a structure and format the event, which will now be an annual two-day festival of cycling taking place in London. Known as RideLondon, it will start in August next year. Their client was a fellow MBA alumnus, Iain Edmondson, who is Head of Major Events for London & Partners, the official promotional organisation for London, and he is now also Project Director for the event.
The first day will be a family bike ride and will take cyclists of all levels around London’s iconic landmarks on an eight-mile loop of closed roads. The second day introduces a 100-mile challenge based on the route on the London Olympics Road Race aimed at amateur, club and world elite cyclists; starting in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and following much of the route of the 2012 Games cycle road race. The funding for the event will mainly come from sponsorship and participants’ entrance fees.
The aim of the Executive MBA team consultancy project is to give students the opportunity to understand team dynamics and individual behaviour in small groups by working on live projects which have a real impact and real outcomes.
As part of their cycling festival project brief, Stuart, Ed and Stephen combined data analysis and desk-based research. They interviewed organisers of major mass participation sports events, such as the London Marathon, British Cycling and the London Triathlon, and spoke to stakeholders, including Transport for London, the Greater London Authority, the Metropolitan Police, the London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOGOC) and representatives from several London boroughs.
The group also visited South Africa to undertake research as the country has been the host of many large sporting events, such as the Conrades Ultra Marathon and the Cape Epic Mountain Bike Stage Race.
Stuart Blackley commented:
The Executive MBA programme provided useful theoretical frameworks to use alongside our own business experience during the project. Classes such as Finance, Accounting and Statistics provided the knowledge and tools to help us to model a range of cost and revenue scenarios and project break-even points. The event organisers we interviewed provided information on the commercial structure of their events and we were then able to synthesise this data and create credible financial forecasts.
Additionally, the ‘softer’ subject matters learned on the programme allowed us to evolve an easy-going, but highly effective dynamic. We were a three-man team, but felt that the project was optimised by such a small, but importantly, cohesive unit.”