There are 21 days left until the 2014 MBA Games, an annual competition among Canadian MBA programs featuring academics, athletics, and spirit categories. One element of pre-Games competition is the online video contest based on number of YouTube “likes” generated by each team. The Schulich team’s video has been the most YouTube “liked” since it was published online December 1. This element of competition continues right up until the January 2, 2014 start of the 2014 MBA Games. To sustain Schulich’s leading position and the rate of new YouTube “likes” generated so far, the team’s video will need to continue generating new YouTube “likes” every day.
The Schulich 2014 Team Video: View it, YouTube “like” it, Share it!
A Mindset of Winning
Schulich MBA Games team captain CK (Bopanna) Chodumada (MBA ’14) is on a mission. He has been dreaming of the MBA Games for nearly a year. He ran for the Graduate Business Council (GBC) Athletics Director position primarily for the privilege of leading the School’s team at the Games. He hosted the first core committee meeting – with GBC Social Affairs Director Ruku Sandhu (MBA ’14) and GBC President Pooya Faez (MBA ’14) – a few months ago and they confirmed the Schulich team, 41 members strong, in November.
Core committee “meetings” have a style not to be overlooked and CK is conscious about this approach. Combining his past experiences as a leader, team member, and observer, he set out to centre everything about Schulich’s 2014 MBA Games team around collaboration. “I used to have this notion of leadership as doing things and telling others what to do to achieve a goal. I realized it is not about leaders doing things. It is about getting others involved and collaborating around a shared goal.” In the context of participating in the 2014 MBA Games, that shared goal is embracing a mindset of winning.
Legacy of the Games
Schulich is the only school to have won the MBA Games five times in the competition’s history which began in 1988. Throughout much of the time, the Schulich team has benefited from the generous support of RBC, the team’s Title Sponsor again in 2014. “They have been wonderful to work with,” CK highlights about RBC.
The legacy of the Games is not lost on CK. “We are going to have to work twice as hard to win again than any other team this year. So that is what we are doing,” he says with an enthusiastic smile. Despite the added pressure he is experiencing, he is leveraging Schulich’s history in many ways. To pay tribute to Schulich’s five time championship, CK has commissioned team jerseys with five stars featured on the sleeves. The team’s apparel will be top notch thanks in part to the support of Title Sponsor RBC.
CK is also working closely with those team members who are returning, from team coach Joe Fayt to Pooya and Ruku who attended in 2013. “They have really valuable experience,” CK observes. “They have been there and they know the ins and outs of how the competition works.”
[quote style=”boxed”] “We are going to have to work twice as hard to win again than any other team this year. So that is what we are doing.”[/quote]
One of the toughest parts of the planning process was selecting team members. It was no small feat to assemble a lineup of team members who could win in all three categories: academics (case competitions), athletics (volleyball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, and dodgeball), and spirit activities. CK consulted with team coach Joe Fayt for the academics team composition and proceeded to call open tryouts for the athletic events. “One-time tryouts don’t speak to people’s skills. They could have an off day and not perform to their potential. We had two tryout sessions and people could come to both if they wished, to put their best efforts forward.”
The weekend tryouts turned out over 150 participants altogether and resulted in a team CK is excited to be working with. “Our team is brilliant! We have athletes who I had never seen around Schulich previously but who turned out to be amazing ultimate frisbee players. We also have some incredible female athletes, including a soccer player who used to compete provincially and an ultimate frisbee player who is in a competitive league.”
[quote style=”boxed”] “Leading on the spirit front can be the ultimate contributor to a team’s win. I would like to see the 2014 participating team as a spirited group. I would like to see the Queen’s Cup remain at Schulich for another year.” [/quote]
Several athletes will compete in two sports or will compete in one athletic event and one case competition. “Being solid in more than one sport was the best way to cement your chances at making the athletics team,” CK notes. With a weekend of back-to-back competition in all three categories, all team members need to be flexible, talented on multiple fronts, and spirited. Ultimately, CK’s criteria for team building was twofold: skill and will. CK reflects that, “Past successes and failures at the Games teach us that leading on the spirit front can be the ultimate contributor to a team’s win. I would like to see the 2014 participating team as a spirited, tight-knit group to maximize our chances of winning. I would like to see the Queen’s Cup remain at Schulich for another year.”
To channel that energy, CK has deferred to sub-committees for brainstorming and executing on different elements of the preparation and has organized all-team social events every few weeks to feed the winning spirit. “We are very informal but very effective. The athletics teams play every weekend. The case competitions teams practice every Saturday or Sunday.”
Weeks of Collaboration Culminating in a Perfect Video Day
Everything started coming together when the team started pre-production of the video project, a mandatory component of pre-Games competition. “All teams were given the theme of Connecting the Dots,” CK explains. “We were challenged to produce a video that connected the dots, connected business and creativity, and connected all 41 members of the team in a video not longer than two minutes.”
[quote style=”boxed”]”The day of the shoot was absolutely brilliant! The team was really good and I could see and feel that everyone’s commitment level was in overdrive.”[/quote]
In recounting how the final concept for the video came about, CK can hardly contain himself. “After lots of brainstorming and YouTube browsing, two final themes were shortlisted: army boot camp and challenging yourself to persevere (think Nike ads). I was sitting in the GBC office with these ideas and developing a script. The door was open, as usual. Nibha came in and we chatted. She thought executing on our idea would be overly complicated. She suggested we simplify.
“Then Ruku joined and she brought in the idea of holding up dots, especially green and blue ones to match Schulich colours. Nibha had to go but then Jessica dropped in and Jennifer happened to be nearby so she joined. We realized we needed specific roles for everyone. We asked everyone to indicate their key skills, based on how they saw themselves and how others saw them. We needed to be organized. I published a schedule with 15 minute time slots and people could select their preference. It was the middle of term. I couldn’t ask 41 people to spend all day on a Sunday in production especially when we didn’t need everyone all day.”
In summary, “by the end of that final brainstorm day, we had the final idea and we knew how to make it happen. Everything came together organically. The day of the shoot was absolutely brilliant! The team was really good and I could see and feel that everyone’s commitment level was in overdrive.”
The Final Product (aka “The Video”)
The video shoot took place on a Sunday in November. Less than two weeks later, the final product was complete. Now it is onto engaging the Schulich community to keep building momentum for the video. CK knows it is no easy challenge to capture the minds and hearts of all Schulich students, faculty, and staff, and this is what he is focused on now.
The team needs the Schulich community’s support to generate the maximum possible YouTube “likes”. This part of competition continues until January 2, 2014.
[box style=”rounded”]The Schulich team: Mona Afrouz Sidhu, Joseph Battagalia, Jessica Bell, Robert Bellis, Mark Berkley, Gabriel Chan, Thomas Charnock, CK (Bopanna) Chodumada, Jasmine Dove, Elliott Draga, Nathan Duyck, Pooya Faez Sorkhabi, Joe Fayt (team coach), Michael Ferber, Mark Freedman, Sima Heyat, Chethan Hosahalli, Kathryn Leader, Zach Liberman, Katie Locks, Matt McNally, Mike Miller, Kaylyn Morton, Andrew Nawrocki, Michael Pace, Umair Pervez, Jennifer Ramos, Mashkur Reza, Dave Robson, Omar Saadat, Deanna Schmidt, Geetha Selvakumaran, Zayn Shah, Nutan Sharma, Bishal Shrestha, Cesar Stephenson, Jake Stief, Gideon Tjandra, Srivatsan Vijayakumar, Francisco Walsh[/box]
The Schulich team wishes to thank the entire Schulich community, Dean Horvath, and Title Sponsor RBC for their incredible support. The 2014 MBA Games will take place January 3-5, 2014 at the Schulich School of Business.