Are you familiar with the MBAT? If you follow anyone doing their MBA in Europe, you likely saw a flurry of Instagram Stories covering the huge weekend that is MBAT. It’s basically the MBA Olympics, and it is a big deal in Europe. The event is organized and hosted by HEC Paris MBA students; planning the MBAT is a massive undertaking, but it’s always a great time.
It starts with an opening ceremony, and there are numerous sporting competitions happening all weekend, including a Battle of the Bands competition, and the entire event comes together with the highly anticipated Masquerade Gala hosted right next to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. We’ve been in touch with the organizing team since they were in the thick of planning the MBAT, and finally got a chance to catch up with them now that things have settled down. Find out what they thought about the experience and check out some of the footage from the event itself!
MBAchic and HEC MBAT Organising Committee
MBAchic: What is MBAT?
MBAT Team: Always one of the major highlights of the calendar at the HEC Paris MBA, MBAT is a social sporting event for MBA students by MBA students at HEC Paris, one of Europe’s leading business schools. The annual tournament gathers 1,500 international students from leading universities who compete and participate in sporting and social events over three days. Festivities are hosted on HEC Paris’ sprawling 300+ acre campus in Jouy en Josas, France, and its vicinity during the month of May.
MBAchic: What was different this year?
MBAT: Planning the MBAT was particularly special as we celebrated our 29th anniversary with four pillars: diversity, sportsmanship, sustainability, and fun. We kept about 20 favourite sports, made E-games a new tradition, and introduced new sports/activities such as paintball and speed networking. During the three days, we encouraged participants to use the sustainable cup offered in the goodie bag and created an official App to reduce plastic and paper consumption. Needless to say, the themes we created around the events and the way we organised them made them memorable. The dance competition followed by All-in-White party, Battle of the Bands with Hello Coachella party, and the grand finale Masquerade Gala in Paris were a huge hit among participants. This year’s MBAT will forever have a special place in our hearts.
MBAchic: How was it organising the event?
MBAT: The three days of the event involved a lot of crisis management as we had to manage 1,500 people on campus and dealt with everything from hotels, transportation to food, along with activities during the day and night. With our team of 35 core organising committee members, who took turns working at the control centre, and over 100 volunteers from the HEC Paris MBA program, we were able to pull it off through teamwork and leadership. The MBAT core team really bonded and worked well together over the past seven months. We will all remember the sleepless meetings that went on till 4 in the morning. How we had to wake up at 7 for another day of MBAT as we welcomed the participants for breakfast on campus! We experienced a whirlwind of emotions; MBAT is an experience none of us will forget.
MBAchic: What was most memorable about MBAT this year?
MBAT: As organisers, our experience planning the MBAT was obviously vastly different from the participants’. Many things that could have gone wrong went wrong, despite all the prep in planning the MBAT. The weather was not great. It rained almost every day and this meant we needed to postpone or even cancel some sporting events. Rescheduling sports and organising the transportation was challenging. But we learned how to deal with these challenges and managed them as we went on. The first day was particularly challenging for us. While many lessons were learnt and we certainly would have done things differently with hindsight, we got a lot of positive feedback with many participants’ saying this was the highlight of their MBA program. Everyone had so much fun! Having people enjoy an event that you’ve poured yourself into organizing is pure joy.
Thank you so much to the HEC MBAT team for sharing your insights and coverage of this year’s event, and congrats to Oxford on their big win. You can certainly find more coverage over on their Facebook page, or connect with the team on LinkedIn.
Are you going to bschool in Europe this fall? If so, come host a Takeover or tell us all about it!