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HEC Paris Hosts 25th Annual MBA Tournament    

mbat imageTeams from 16 of the leading business schools in Europe convened last week to compete in 25 different sports as part of the 25th annual MBA Tournament (MBAT), hosted by HEC Paris. More than 1,500 MBA student athletes battled each other in everything from badminton and basketball to petanque and salsa dancing while also creating valuable new friendships and networking opportunities.

“MBAT is the meeting ground for MBA students across Europe, and new friendships and networking opportunities are at the heart of the tournament,” Bernard Garrette, HEC Paris MBA associate dean, said in a statement. “The MBAT provides the chance for students to put what they have learned in the classroom to the test on the field, creating and leading strong teams.”

The unique event, called the MBA Olympics by some, is the largest intra-sporting event among Europe’s leading business schools. More schools than ever took part this year, including the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, ESADE, IE Business School, IESE Business School, INSEAD, London Business School, the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and host school HEC Paris. They gathered for three days of intense competition and camaraderie on HEC Paris’s campus from May 7th through 9th.

HEC Paris MBA students organize the event, which gives them real-life, hands-on experience managing a large-scale, multinational project. Fortunately for Daniel Connell and Ruchi Verma, this year’s MBAT co-presidents, the process of coordinating the complex logistics for the annual event drawing students representing 70 nationalities is not quite as challenging as it was when the MBAT debuted in 1991.

“Organizing MBAT during those days was a logistical nightmare,” recalled Patrick Delamaire, an HEC MBA 1992 alumni who helped organize the first MBAT. “Accommodations for players at the nearest hotel were impossible since the hotel was closed for renovation,” he added.

Today, in addition to competitions in 25 different sports, this year’s three-day event also featured three major soirees, a Casino Royale even, a 90s Retro Party (which included a Battle of the Bands) and a Tex-Mex Fiesta (which featured the Salsa Competition).

The competition was the brainchild of Briac Pinault, president of the HEC MBA Student Council in 1991, as a way to promote HEC Paris globally in the context of a sporting event. It has almost quadrupled in its scope, initially drawing teams from just six other European schools.

Learn more about the HEC Paris MBA Tournament.