Stefania Miravalle, Vice President of Sports, Class of 2017
It all began at Costa Café in AMBS West, when Radu Munteanu, Vice President of Sports, Class of 2016, explained to us how exciting organising the MBA International Football Challenge (IFC) could be. We would say it was not only exciting, but also challenging!
In December, my classmate David Valdivia and I decided to take on the challenge of organising this event, which we saw as a great opportunity to make the Alliance Manchester Business School brand shine on the European MBA landscape. We signed up six enthusiastic teams: Warwick, Oxford, Edinburgh, IE, Alliance MBS Class of 2017 and Alliance MBS Class of 2016 (plus alumni and staff). We also tried to make the event even more international, for example by inviting schools from China, but unfortunately visa requirements were a barrier for international students looking to travel in Europe.
The event had a triumphant opening at the National Football Museum with guest of honour Andrew Thorp – an award-winning corporate speaker brought to the event by Henry Kasim. Andrew spoke about the impact of effective leadership on sports teams, which is highly relevant to the business world.
The group stage draw was also made during the welcome event: group A was made up of AMBS Class of 2017, IE and Warwick, while group B included AMBS Class of 2016, Oxford and Edinburgh. Teams and spectators then had some free time to enjoy the museum, which houses engaging, interactive games and great collections such as Maradona’s shirt from the England–Argentina match in 1986, in which he scored the infamous ‘hand of God goal’.
On Saturday morning the event continued with the group stage. Despite it being just four degrees outside we enjoyed a morning of friendship and sporting action, with wonderful spectators cheering for their teams. Final results revealed that IE and Oxford would battle against the AMBS teams for a place in the finals.
After lunch, all teams headed to Old Trafford, the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, to enjoy a tour of the stadium, and players and friends were able to explore the changing rooms, pitch and substitute benches. Later on, we enjoyed a well-deserved rest and a few drinks at popular nightspot Tiger Tiger.
The final stage of the tournament took place on Sunday. In the first round, IE and Oxford won their respective matches leaving AMBS Class of 2016 and AMBS Class of 2017 to compete for 3rd and 4th place, with AMBS Class of 2016 taking 3rd place.
A 5th and 6th place match was played as well, with Edinburgh beating Warwick. The grand final was a tight game, with IE emerging victorious and lifting the winners’ cup for the first time. They also took home the ‘scorer’s cup’ and the ‘players’ player of the tournament’ award, leaving the prize of ‘best goalkeeper’ for the Oxford team. The event finished with another lunch, during which we shared our final thoughts, reflections and wishes to see each other soon.
Christopher Matthews, MBA candidate and captain of the Alliance MBS Class of 2017 team said: “What a weekend! Competitive football played in good spirits. It was great to network, socialise and play some good football with MBAs from other schools. Congratulations to IE who were worthy winners in the end.”