ODYSSEY: The Global MBA Games

Right before Spring break, Vimbai Chamboko, Ryan Harrington, Matías Mehech, Sonia Sahni, Sergio Sánchez and Felix Schuchter flew to New York City and represented IE Business School in the 8th edition of ODYSSEY: The Global MBA Games. Previously, the team shared their thoughts and expectations, and now they are sharing their opinions on what they took from the competition.

“The experience of competing with students from some of the best Business Schools in the world brought out the best in us”, Sonia said. “We participated in a negotiation case with some of the toughest negotiators. We created a viral marketing campaign at the Columbia Business School campus itself [and] we pitched our startup idea to venture capitalists who were there to identify their next investment opportunity”. In her opinion the “biggest take away from the event was the network with peers and industry professionals from different continents”. In addition, she points out that this type of activities give worldwide opportunities and in multiple sectors, reason for which she encourages the IE community to “participate in many more such challenges in order to learn and grow”.

An interesting moment of the two-day competition was the possibility to listen to keynote speakers from organizations such as Nestle, Y&R and the United Bank for Africa, covering topics which went from management to disruptive technology. When asked about it, Matías highlighted Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the board at the Coca-Cola Company. “He explained the long-term growth view Coca-Cola has and the innovation and tireless growth-seeking mindset. He explained the different innovations Coca-Cola has done through the years and also mentioned the importance of partnerships and humility to enhance innovation. Finally, he gave some professional and personal advice on how future business leaders should approach the uncertainty that rules today`s business environment”

In this sense, it would be safe to say that what networking has a fundamental role in Schools competitions. In Ryan’s words, it is “the highlight of the event” because you are able to mix and mingle with MBA peers who are going through a similar experience. “The icing on the cake, however, was getting to meet and have conversations with some amazing guest speakers like […] Muhtar Kent and David Sable, Young & Rubicam Global CEO”.

Finally, the opportunity to represent IE in the MBA ODYSSEY gave the team the chance to broaden their horizons. On this note, Felix first reflected on the cultural differences: “Pitching our start-up idea to American investors has been a real eye-opener. The venture game is certainly at a different level in the US which of course means there is potentially a lot more investment to take home at the end of the day. I for one learned, that you need to think in different dimensions when you pitch in the [United] States”. Furthermore, he explained how being a good listener can provide novelty in one’s brainstorming: “[…] Rubbing shoulders with other business schools exposes you to a wealth of different ideas. Hearing other contestants’ thinking, ideas and pitches has certainly provided me with additional food-for-thought and exposed us to many different styles and views, things I haven’t considered before. Hearing from top business people and thinkers has also added new perspectives to my thinking. In fact, some of the things I’ve learned during the competition I’m already using back here in Madrid”.


Written by Ines Bescos Vera
current IMBA student