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Reflections on MBAT 2022: medals and memories in Paris

The annual MBA Tournament (MBAT) brings together students from more than 15 top business schools around the world. Over three days, CJBS students took part in a variety of sporting competitions, cultural activities, networking events and celebrations. This year’s event took place at the HEC Paris campus. Isabelle Hupez, Sports Co-chair of the Cambridge Business School Club (MFin 2021), reflects on her MBAT experience.

Reflections on MBAT 2022: CJBS MBAT team.
CJBS students enjoying an MBAT event.
CJBS students enjoying an MBAT event

By Isabelle Hupez

As the saying goes, “Paris is always a good idea”.

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the MBA Tournament (MBAT) was finally able to return for its 31st edition. As with many things that were put on hold because of COVID-19, we did not know what to expect. I can say now that MBAT exceeded all our expectations and has been an incredible bonding experience and one of the highlights of the year. 

Cambridge students at the largest MBA gathering in Europe

Three CJBS competitors at MBAT.
CJBS students celebrating at MBAT

Between 5 and 7 May, 95 CJBS students travelled to Paris to participate in the largest MBA gathering in Europe for the MBA Tournament organised by HEC. We competed in over 30 different events from football, beach volleyball, track, swimming to FIFA, trivia, chess, dodgeball, Battle of the Bands, and a Paris scavenger hunt! Over three days of fierce competition and social events, we had the opportunity to meet more than 1,500 MBA students from the top European business schools. 

As the Sports Co-chair of the Cambridge Business School Club, I had the privilege to see how sports bring together MFin, MBA and EMBA students and fosters our strong Cambridge team spirit both on and off the fields, courts and pool. The days were packed with sporting events from 09:00 to 17:00 every day. Like many MBAT participants, I competed in several sports, football, track, rowing and swimming, and spent the rest of the time running from one event to the next to cheer fellow Cambridge athletes.

Networking with students from the top European business schools

More than the results on scoreboard and medals, what makes MBAT so special are the athletes you get to meet. I had two wonderful encounters over the weekend that highlight this. The first one was meeting an Oxford MBA student who happens to be the sister of my former rowing coach at Georgetown University. As former Division 1 rowers in the US, it was a natural fit for us to compete head-to-head in the 4 x 500m Women’s Team Erg Relay. While the rivalry remained fierce, the friendships and sportsmanship once the race was over really showed how sports unite people.

CJBS competitors at the MBAT evening event.
CJBS competitors at the MBAT evening event

The second encounter was at the pool where I recognised one of the Oxford water polo players competing in the MBAT swimming events. The last time we competed against each other was in February in the Varsity water polo game against Oxford! While in Paris, we finally had the opportunity to talk about our business school experience at the Gatsby Gala that evening. The mix of competition and social events allowed us to mingle with student athletes from different schools and make lasting personal connections.

After three incredible days, we returned to the lecture halls at Cambridge Judge, most a little more tanned, many with hard earned medals and all with unforgettable memories and lifelong friendships attesting that “Paris is always a good idea for MBAT!” Finally, I want to thank my fellow CBSC Sports Co-chair Ed Bosson and the CBSC for helping with the organisational aspects behind the scenes, and CJBS Dean, Professor Mauro Guillen, for his generous support in funding our team gear.