Since 1989, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has hosted an annual weekend event for teams from top MBA programs across the country to take part in friendly competition alongside Special Olympics Athletes: the Duke MBA Games. This year, April 17-19 in Durham, NC, MBA students from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business took home the first place prize for 2015.
The teams of 10 to 12 MBAs are paired up with two to three Special Olympics Athletes for the weekend and compete in a variety of games: bean bag toss, 50 meter dash / crab walk, tug of war, izzy dizzy bat race, brief case toss, and basketball toss / soccer kick. Students vie for supremacy in additional areas such as the school dance competition, and critically, the fundraising challenge benefitting the Special Olympics.
“The most rewarding aspect of the Duke MBA Games experience was cheering on our Special Olympic Athletes and seeing first-hand the kind of programming that the funds we raised will go towards,” said Jason Berkowitz, one of the Smith team’s leaders.
Smith placed first in both the dance competition and the fundraising competition – maintaining their commitment to fun and charity, and helping to secure their first place finish overall.
Other teams participating in the MBA Games were Carnegie Mellon – Tepper, Clemson, Duke – Fuqua, Penn State – Smeal, Purdue – Krannert, Rice – Jones, and Texas A&M – Mays.
Team Smith has been preparing for weeks. In order to continue their run of wins in the dance competition category, the students have been diligently practicing their detailed choreography in the third floor atrium of Van Munching Hall. The team’s fundraising campaign was marked with an auction which saw over $21,000 raised in a single night – making it the third straight year Smith was the largest contributor to the MBA Games’ charitable donation to the Special Olympics organization.
“The incredible generosity of the Smith community has made it possible for us to split our fundraising efforts between North Carolina and Maryland and still win the fundraising portion of MBA Games,” said Samson Ro, vice president of community development and social value for Smith’s MBA Association, “It’s a testament to how special Smith is.”
Smith MBA students and administrators pride themselves on the tight community of the full-time MBA program. The effort and camaraderie associated with Smith’s participation in the Duke MBA Games is a testament to that.
Andrew Kneale, Smith MBA Candidate 2015, Office of Marketing Communications