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MBA Sailing

Posted by: Inna Leontenkova

Prologue (skip unless you and I are acquainted):
The time since I last posted something was somewhat elongated – but not because of me moving country, changing jobs, pouring drinks at the Sundowners. I just could not determine how to better address a subject quite imperative to me – sailing – a very atypical setting for my decisive self. Apologies. The pressure was high as I hoped to paint the world of sailing through the lens I saw it and emphasize how much LBS has refined it (aka “sailing is awesome” and “LBS rocks”). Below is the best I could conjure up – hope my crew will share this view and that it’s not too “heavy” for a bubbly business school blog.

Mark Twain had said something most of us heard and what had been supposedly considered the “stay hungry, stay foolish” of the past: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” A funny thing is that not many realise that this is not where this motivating passage ends. Apparently Mr. Twain went on with “So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Drea­m. Discover.” One of the biggest creative titans used sailing as a metaphor to inspire your behind out of the comfort zone, to create, risk, soak in what life has to offer!!! There must be a good reason to it.

This is all very nice – says my loyal reader – but what does it all have to do with a Business School? I tell you: a business can be compared to a ship (I am all about metaphors today). CEO is the captain who usually goes down with it in case of hitting an “iceberg”. Senior management and yacht racing crews share many job descriptions (strategist, tactician, navigator), for many of which you need specific qualifications from Royal Yachting Association and the like (think CFA, ACCA, MBA). Each specific type of a ship is different (here come the industry specifics); and sailing in different waters around the globe might affect your strategic set up e.g. due to tides (similar to cultural differences in markets); the list can go on. What I am trying to imply here is that a good sailor would make a good entrepreneur and vice versa. There are obviously exceptions to every rule, but when my billion-dollar idea comes to me – the first person I call will be someone from the sailing club.

And finally, sailing is one of the most social sports where your inter-personal skills are being truly challenged as you work-eat-sleep in a closed up space with the same bunch of a crew for days or even weeks in a row. For me that resulted in angelic temper (OK I am exaggerating a teeny-tiny bit), meeting amazing people and making true friends I can trust and have crazy fun with.

SO, if you are considering a business school education – maybe you could also try yourself in sailing? I have good news for you – LBS ranks number 1 for two consecutive years in the international MBA racing league! We go places – Caribbean, Mediterranean, Solent, Canaries, San Francisco, chilly Irish sea and luxurious Portofino Harbour – our sailors have done it everywhere.

BUT if you are considering becoming a sailor – maybe you should go to a business school as well? LBS Sailing club & Alumni (featuring Olympic rising stars, African charity entrepreneurs, Abercrombie & Fitch models, Everest climbers to name just a few) are there to give a helping hand and teach you all about what sailing has to offer – freedom, power, teamwork, competition, endurance… and dirty jokes.

Questions?

 

While reflecting on the content of this blog post I was inspired by the below quotes you might also like – all about sailing obviously:
– “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable” by Lucius Annaeus Seneca
– “A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for” by Grace Murray Hopper
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“You cannot control the wind but you can adjust the sail” a Yiddish Proverb
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If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” abridged from Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s

Créer le navire,
ce n’est point tisser les toiles,
forger les clous,
lire les astres,
mais bien donner le goût de la mer


3 Responses to “MBA Sailing”

  1. avatar Muhammad Naeem Ul Fateh says:

    I emphatically agree of writer scenario. Business is applicable every where where results are based on team work. Sailing or fighting at front line during a war or even in a football match. All are imperative to learn as all ships are different in all spheres such as environment, competitor competencies etc

    However good article to attract students to attend business school. Muhammad Naeem Ul Fateh

  2. avatar Sevil says:

    I totally agree with this article since sailing is the best metaphor to compare with not proffessional life but also life itself for dreamers and adventurers who reaches her dreams

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