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Sports & MBA ?!

12 Dec

I wish I could write this blog as a plan on what to expect from joining the Mannheim MBA program but the truth is that it is the unexpected that is the only certainty in the program, and trust me, that is a great thing! While there is obvious apprehension prior to commencing the program, leaving the professional world and embarking on a highly challenging journey, this feeling is soon put to bed once you understand that your teammates and soon to be lifelong friends all find themselves in the same situation. The mentality of all ‘being in it together’ is one that definitely lends itself to bringing the class close together from the very first meeting.
I’m writing this post three months into the program and looking back I really can’t understand where the time has gone. There has been induction, classes, exams, late night study sessions, projects, and the always entertaining group assignments! While I could give a run-down of the academic portion of the program it’s important to also describe another critical aspect of the program and that is the out of class experiences that are critical to our development as business leaders in a culturally diverse world. Two of these areas I would like to shed some light on is the social and sporting aspects on the program.
The question that is often posed to international managers is how to integrate a culturally diverse team? After three months of the MBA and being in a class that registers twenty three different nationalities out of sixty students, I think we may have discovered the formula and that includes equal parts sport, and as President Obama would describe it, equal parts ‘Beer Diplomacy’. You may question how important sports are during an MBA program but we quickly got this answer during the official introduction with Mannheim’s Business School President when he stated that our degree could only be guaranteed if we retained the Rowing Cup that last year’s group finally won after a long six year draught! To this point I still don’t know if it was a joke, but what is apparent is that the team is not taking any chances and we are all training like our graduation depends on it!
soccerOn the football field we have created a team that includes players from Europe, North American, South America, Asia, and Australia. After several days of arguing the true meaning of ‘football’ after lots of persuading of the American’s we are training hard for the annual indoor tournament held in Leipzig. What we have found really interesting in the team is that local sports from other cultures can come in very handy on the football field. We have an Indian that is using his cricket skills effectively as our goalie, and the American’s use their ‘American’ football skills to great effect in a defensive role. Again, no matter what the result, the training has continued to bond our group closer.The second part of the cultural journey is what can only be arguably the most fun part…. and that involves some beer drinking. While the cultural sensitivity and cultural diversity classes are extremely important, it is really amazing how an incredibly diverse group can find common interests and very lively conversation over a local German Bier or Glühwein! As a group we have taken trips to a variety of cities including Berlin, Heidelberg, Neustadt, Strasbourg, and Frankfurt, just to name a few. The traveling not only allows us to experience German culture first-hand (and practice our somewhat limited Deutsch skills) but it is a great way to get to know the cultures of our teammates, what makes them tick, and how they view the world.

Soon several us are going to be off to our exchange partner schools, therefore leaving our teammates for three months but the sports and socializing means that coming back together is something that we are all looking forward to with the assurance that the bonds we have developed on the playing field, in the bars, and on the road, will not be strained by distance. With the development of a ‘Culture and Sports’ club we have plans to try several new global sports, visit a variety of sporting events throughout Europe, and obviously part-take in some healthy competition during the World Cup.

-Geoffrey Mason-

Mannheim MBA Class of 2014

Term 1 Highlights

7 Jan

Decision Analysis Class

scenario analysis

Football – Time to score

Football

The dream team 😉

Football Team

Surrounding

Man

 

The beginning…

5 Nov

It’s all about you. I was a little nervous, yet excited, when I reached Mannheim in early September this year. After all, coming to Mannheim is one my most important decisions and of course a big investment.

It’s just been a little more than a month and there is so much to learn. I just need to keep my mind open. The knowledge simply flows in. I was talking to one of my classmates during kickoff week for about 20 minutes and I already learned a concept in Finance. That makes me wonder how much I will learn in an entire year.

The company presentations are great. I especially liked when a CFO of a company explained how his company survived a bankruptcy situation and what they learned from it. He was so confident that his company would never face that situation again. The post-MBA options that are offered by some companies are useful and many companies encourage us to take part in their competitive challenges. The industry experts explaining how they overcame the near crisis market situation was encouraging.

Weekends have never been so much fun. Every week someone organizes something. We already had a BBQ party, football matches and trips. Working in Multi-Competence Teams (MCT) and looking for information for our social project has been exciting, too.

Working in groups is essential here in Mannheim and helps us a lot to learn quickly, especially when working on real financial and marketing projects. I didn’t know that learning could be so easy.

Looking at Rhine River every morning from my window is so refreshing. Walking down the lane towards the Business School makes me feel good. People in the class are so helpful. We all have a different background, yet we have a common goal – to learn from each other. Some people in my class say “Sky is the limit”. It truly is.

And this is just the beginning ….

-Bikram Shrestha-
Mannheim MBA 2013

A slice of the good life – Mannheim style!

14 Jun

So, the post-Leipzig high continues even in June. The pre-tournament euphoria continued well into the tournament and continues to pervade our classroom even 3 weeks after the tournament. 🙂

Our team- The MBS Five-Forces (A possible take on Porter’s five forces, but no one’s telling) did a fabulous job. We won 2 out of the 4 games we played and made it to the top 16 teams out of the 32 that played initially. There were great moments of recovery from being 2 goals down to being 4-2 in our favor.  There was awesome team-spirit displayed in the way we stood together even when we were a few goals down, in the way we played as a team and never considered selfish goals and in the way the cheering team screamed hoarse and we think even gave the opposing teams a complex, lol. And best of all, I am pretty sure that we were among the most diverse teams on the field that day.

Leipzig, in itself, is a fabulous city with amazing vibes and a character all of its own; the long walks through its lanes, the numerous rounds of coffee and drinks in its endearing cafes, the amazingly refreshing music, the divine food in its multi-cultural restaurants made our weekend that much more special. Leipzig was the perfect companion to us crazy bunch of singing, dancing, partying MBS-ites and we won’t be forgetting the amazing weekend anytime soon! A big thank you to everyone for a bunch of amazing memories! Viva Football! Viva MBS-Class of 2011! Viva MBS! 🙂

Till later,

Anita

P.S: Next is the Rowing Competition in July and the party-bus is already ready to vroom its way into Koblenz!