It was IESE’S first time participating in the Financial Times MBA Quiz, and four second-year students were brave enough to accept the challenge. We didn’t know what to expect, but the MBA office kept on encouraging us: “It’s mainly about having fun. Don’t worry too much!”
Well, that doesn’t really comfort us MBAs. If you put us in a competitive environment and tell us we should have fun, the only thing we can think about is how to win. At any rate, we didn’t know exactly how to prepare, so we borrowed a couple of past editions of the Financial Times from the library and ventured out to rainy London on Tuesday, February 24. I think we left some of our fellow passengers a bit puzzled with the diligence we demonstrated during the flight, which we spent combing through multiple editions of FT.
The IESE MBA Team
The team consisted of Robert Jelenic (a Canadian engineer), Indira Campos (an Angolan economist), Juan Pablo Castro (a Chilean economist) and yours truly, Bernhard Bonelli (an Austrian philosopher). So there we were, arriving at the FT headquarters in London without any troubles along the way. In the entrance hall we realized that the majority of the other schools were actually based in London or at least UK-based. We were impressed with the participation of Chicago Booth though – we thought that they had traveled a long way, only to find out later that they actually have a campus in London. Thank God they do, as you will find out a bit later.
We were cordially received by our host, Jonathan Moules, who spent the entire evening at our table. After a few drinks and some fish and chips, the event officially kicked off with a welcome from Andrew Hill, Financial Times managing director, who joked that he was in good spirits since the event gave him the impression that he could actually manage something. His welcome was followed by words from a representative from the International Rescue Committee, the charity organization for which the event was dedicated.
The quiz was divided into three rounds. The first one was about general news from the FT. According to Andrew Hill, if we had been in the practice of reading the FT every day since childhood, these questions should pose no problems. It was challenging, but as the German saying goes, even a blind hen sometimes finds a grain of corn.
The Second Round
Surprisingly, we ended up in second place after the first round, along with three other schools, so we started dreaming about the final round where the best two teams would compete directly against each other. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep up the good results in the second round, which included knowledge of specific terms and some bad luck (I won’t go into details here).
As I mentioned earlier, we were very glad to learn that Chicago Booth has a campus in London: we edged them out by a point, and as the team from the farthest afield, we were happy to beat a London-based school. With respect to the winning teams, in the third round they really demonstrated their knowledge of what is going on in the business world today. Imperial College won and St. Gallen ended up in second place in a tight finish.
To sum it up, we definitely had a good time and were proud to represent IESE at such a prestigious event while contributing to a great cause!
To read more about the event click here.