Building a school spirit for SBE at WHU Euromasters 2012

Euromasters provides an ideal platform to build the type of healthy competitive environment and networking skills which are essential in the corporate world,” says Mehregan Kazemi, who organized SBE’s recent participation in this year’s edition of the famous European sports tournament for Business Schools.

In a written interview for Talkin’Business, Kazemi explains how for him, sports, business and school spirit go hand in hand.

What is the WHU Euromasters?

The WHU Euromasters is the biggest sports tournament for business universities in Europe. It is organized by the prestigious German business university WHU in Vallendar near Koblenz and celebrated its 15th edition this year with over 2,000 students.

The main purpose of the tournament is to build an interuniversity network and to help students establish valuable business contacts for their future career.

The event takes place in the first weekend of November and is sponsored by many large companies such as Bertelsmann, Credit Suisse, Capgemini Consulting, Vodafone, Roland Berger and P&G, who often also send in their own teams, mainly for the Indoor Soccer competition.

The companies are present at the event with fair stands, where interested students have the possibility to engage in short speed dating interviews.

Why do you find it important for Maastricht University to take part in the tournament?

Since centuries, universities combine the competitive spirit of sports with academic work. An interuniversity sports tournament like the Euromasters celebrates the fact that all the participants come from the same study field of business. This connects the students with each other and creates a very positive atmosphere throughout the weekend.

The main reason why I decided to take over the organization of SBE’s participation to the tournament was because I thought that Maastricht University and especially the SBE could benefit from an enhanced university spirit or “corporate identity,” so to say. I felt that this was clearly missing last year when I played in the Indoor Soccer team.

I believe that it is essential for an international university such as Maastricht University to have a proud image that students can identify with and to stimulate a strong and sustainable networking spirit among students.

Taking part in an event like Euromasters can contribute to this because each team needs to be not only good at playing, but also to functions well as a team and be willing to represent its university in the first place.

How did you organize this year’s participation?

The different team captains were responsible for their own team’s training. Laura Rolfsen for example was the captain of the cheerleaders and took care of the choreography, training, costumes etc. The Cheerleaders started to practice in May, while the other teams started to practice from June onwards.

My ambition was to make this event bigger for Maastricht. Compared to last year’s event where SBE only competed in three categories, our presence this year was more prominent with teams in six out of the seven possible categories, namely in Basketball, Cheerleading, Indoor Soccer (one male and one female team), Volleyball and the Relay Race.

Unfortunately, we could not participate with our strong Rowing team, because we did not receive enough spots from the WHU.

On a practical side, what was a little bit disappointing was that the only way the university supported this event was by lending T-shirts and flags, which was certainly a very nice gesture, but not very much compared to the budgets and support received by the other participating universities. But since it was the first time for SBE to participate in the tournament in this scale, I am very optimistic about the coming years.

A report by Breaking Maas on the Cheerleaders’ team practice (from 0’35 till 2’35)

How did the SBE teams perform?

It is all about winning and the games are highly competitive. Our male Indoor Soccer team was the most successful and made it to the penalty shootout of the semi-finals.

Apart from the Trophies for the winning teams, the tournament also awards a trophy for the overall win (which goes to the university who gets most of its teams under the top 3) and the prestigious “Spirit Award”.

The Spirit Award goes to the teams who best express their identification with their university, for example by cheering for their players during the matches, having a positive attitude towards other universities, winning the “Like Competition” (which we won by getting the most clicks on our page on Facebook), making a good video presentation beforehand, explaining why we “Love Euromasters” and coming up with creative activities to underline their identification with their university.

SBE entrance show at WHU Euromasters 2012

How did you  produce the video?

The video was a very spontaneous production during the exam week and we managed to do it in just four days, just on time before the deadline. We wanted to do something different and chose to make a song with a music video. On the first day I wrote the lyrics and recorded it on the following day after my Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management exam. We then filmed the material and on the fourth day after my Brand Management exam I was able to have a short briefing with our first year student Jonas Lüder who edited the whole clip.

The feedback from all the other universities, especially from the WHU itself, was very good, which was a good reward for the work. The video was shown during the event and we even did a live performance of the song.


Maastricht University loves Euromasters

What was the most important achievement of the tournament for you?

The best experience for me was to see that after a weekend of playing together, cheering for each other and constantly proudly representing Maastricht University and the SBE at both the gym and the parties, our teams developed an incredible spirit, not only within the group but also with other universities. For example, we have already organized follow-up meetings with the Frankfurt School of Banking and Finance.

Since it is my long-term goal as a student of the SBE to help branding not only the university identity, but also the student identity, this year’s Euromasters was a huge step forward. Within only one weekend, people who did not really know each other beforehand became very close and familiar under the umbrella of the SBE.

The Euromasters tournament provides an ideal platform to build the type of healthy competitive environment and networking skills which are essential in the corporate world.

The feedback and interest we have received from all students, even those who did not participate in the tournament, show the high potential of this type of event in creating a strong university identity and enhancing the students’ bond with the university. This can have a long term positive effect and help students stay attached to the university even after they become postgraduates or alumni.

I have already started to plan for next year’s event and would like to help SBE participate in more tournaments of this kind.

We could think for example of using Maastricht’s good resources in both university and corporate networks to organize a similar tournament in cooperation with UM Sports, INKOM and some other student organizations. I still have got at least one and a half year to go, so maybe the foundation for such an event can be built within this time!

 

Mehregan Kazemi is 24 years old and worked for the German Sparkasse KölnBonn before studying in Maastricht. Mehregan majored in Finance and plans to do his master in Marketing & Finance in Maastricht. Last year he was a student representative in the SBE faculty council. This year he works as a project manager at UniPartners.

Photos by Markus Hahn

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