The NANYANG MBA Olympics – Collaboration Through Competition for a Cause

By: Eric Oandasan, Filipino, Nanyang MBA Intake 2011
Club Co-Chair, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The vaguely bright Sunday early morning of 18th March at the NTU Sports & Recreation Center came in with a flurry of activity: banners being hung, tables carefully unfolded, balls being rigorously pumped with air, heaps of goodie bags and canned drinks unloaded. At 9:00 AM, groups of participants from various Singapore MBA schools came in droves to register, collect goodie bags and start stretching exercises in preparation for the long day of sports. The morning was filled with anticipation, excitement, and a sense of hopefulness that the typically unpredictable Singapore weather will keep the athletes dry and cool.

The NANYANG MBA organizers

The 2012 Nanyang MBA Olympics came about as a joint effort between The NANYANG MBA’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Club, which held the first Nanyang MBA Olympics last year;   and Women-in-Business (WIB) Club, with the objective of bringing the Singapore MBA community together in a friendly sporting competition and to raise funds for cause. This year’s recipient, Special Olympics Singapore, seemed particularly relevant given the charity’s focus in empowering intellectually disabled individuals through sports training and competition.

Charity aside, the participants of the games were particularly driven to win. Over a hundred MBA students from INSEAD, NUS, SMU, ESSEC and NTU (Nanyang) faced off in Futsal and 3-on-3 Basketball. INSEAD’s powerhouse of athletes dominated the basketball tournament, brandishing their unified, green-colored, Bain & Co. – sponsored jerseys. The futsal tournament was a closer match up, with NUS eventually beating the rest through coordinated teamwork and carefully placed shots. A special mention has to be made to the ESSEC futsal athletes, who displayed great playing technique and winning most of their games, despite having a significantly smaller team compared to the other schools.

The 2012 Nanyang MBA Olympics also held Captain’s Ball and Dodgeball games at the indoor courts, to cater to players who want to try an alternate set of more “casual” sports. Captain’s Ball was a particular favorite for the local Singaporeans, who for some have not played the playground sport since their childhood days. Dodgeball, on the other hand, seemed like a new sport to the players, as most of them have probably just seen it through the popular Ben Stiller comedy movie of the same name. Nonetheless, the inclusion of these “playground sports” opened up the competition to a wider range of athletes with varying skills and interests.

After the tournament, a special futsal exhibition match was held with the Special Olympics athletes. Participants from the various MBA schools formed a team to match up with the highly trained Special Olympics athletes. The friendly game provided the participants with a fun way to interact with the kids, as well as awareness about their talents and dedication to sports competition. In fact, a lot of the MBA players were quite impressed with the skill level of these young talents despite their disabilities.

The day ended with an informal dinner at the Nanyang Executive Center. While the exhausted participants enjoyed refreshments and a generous helping of food, representatives from the Special Olympics Singapore held a short presentation to tell the attendees more about the cause.


It was a long but fun day for sports. “Taking one day off from my studies to enjoy the company of people from the various schools was brilliant!”, as Justus Kaiser, Vice President for Nanyang MBA Business Clubs, put it. While the event was a welcome break for the MBA students, it was an even more important event for the Singapore MBA community as a whole. As Associate Dean (MBA) of Nanyang Business School, Associate Professor Chung Lai Hong who opened the event that day, sums it up: “I see The (NANYANG) MBA Olympics, where we have teams from the various MBA programs in Singapore competing, collaborating, and caring about the Special Olympic beneficiaries, as an example of passion to make a positive influence in the wider community. I am delighted to see so many aspiring MBAs who not only have the brains and the brawn, but also the heart to come together in support of the event.”

True enough, The NANYANG MBA Olympics was about collaboration as much as it was about competition.

Many thanks to our sponsors: The Tanoto Foundation, The Lee Foundation, Suntory, OSIM, The Iwan Tirta Foundation, Singapore Press Holdings, adidas, GNC, Ice Cool and IBM.

Special thanks to all the volunteers who helped run the event, Nanyang MBA Office and the Student Executive Committee, and most especially to the representatives from SMU, NUS, INSEAD and ESSEC for helping make this event a success.

Photo Credits: Mol Olarikovit, Ralph Camus, Filda Yusgiantoro, Eric Oandasan, Charlotte Kong, Megan Chan

Leave a Reply