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Thea Sokolowski

Degree:

MBA

Location:

United States

Industry:

Social Impact

Year:

2014-15

By Thea Sokolowski

All Work, No Play?

Scratch that. Reverse it.

About two thirds of the MBA class took a serious break from real life this past weekend to engage in what was for many the most enjoyable weekend of the year. We took to the campus of fellow b-school HEC Paris, where we met MBAs from schools across Europe to compete in a 3-day sporting, partying and sun-filled extravaganza.

School spirit was not lacking, as we came in off of a (15-hour) bus ride, decked out in matching Oxford jerseys, headbands, face paint, socks and anything else we could manage to find, beating a rally drum with our game faces on. To say it was a bonding experience would be an understatement. After cheering each other on all day in everything from babyfoot (also known as football) to cricket to basketball and salsa, we danced the night away on a massive floor decked out in 90s gear, sombreros and party gowns.

A quick recap on the events of the weekend – the Oxford table tennis masters played so fast you could barely follow the ball, bringing them to an easy victory. The pool squad dominated completely, closing out the first night in an Oxford vs Oxford final round. The cricket team annihilated the competition, and (naturally) other rowing teams were left entirely in the wake of our pro crews. Chess and Ultimate Frisbee (I’m biased) pulled off a silver, while climbing, tennis, babyfoot, cross country and our own personal rock band took bronze. We made a fantastic showing in just about every sport, but our real victory was on the dance floor where Oxford consistently occupied front and centre and stayed until the final beat.

There’s something unique about MBA programmes in Europe that I feel you don’t quite get in the states. I couldn’t put my finger on it until experiencing this past weekend. It takes a particular personality, or perhaps mix of personalities, to make an international program like ours successful. That alone creates a bond between programs like ours which we see lasting beyond the limits of our year here. We’ve already been approached by LBS for an Ultimate Frisbee rematch – I can see the seeds of future relationships being planted.

There are likely few things I’ll remember forever about the time I spent in classrooms here. I’ve already lost the ability to build a financial model and forgotten the details of Toyota’s factory process. The good news is I’m now more aware of these things. But one thing I know I won’t forget is how it felt to be surrounded by this incredible class out at HEC and our sweaty faces taking it all in. Cheers to more nights like that.

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