It’s 4:20 a.m. and my alarm is buzzing me awake from a tumultuous sleep that my body didn’t commit to in the first place. My half of the Toronto Hilton’s queen-sized bed is warm, cushy and inviting, yet my body seizes into action as if going into combat. I’m not alone, and we’re in this together: groggy eyed, the three ladies of SFU’s Sustainability Case Team make rise to a mission marked by unsuspected foes.
Leading up to competition day, the game plan was just to win. (Keep it simple, right?) This morning, however, the motivation is personal. Those partiers outside our room who had so thoughtlessly cut into our precious sleep hours were heading to the same competition as we were. We wanted to win, but equally important now was that “Team 2 a.m. School Chants” didn’t stand a chance!
It was with this subtle hint of revenge that we boarded busses at 5 a.m. in suits, ties, high heels and skirts, all wrapped up in parkas and coats to keep the cold at bay. Our star competitor, two-time international case competition winner Erin Lane, had a flu to begin with, but now exhaustion had rendered her voiceless, too. Nevertheless, she boarded the bus with us first-time MBA Games competitors: Anca Jelescu, Ryan Woodland and myself, Michelle Martin.
We’d practiced together, prepared a number of template slides, knew each others strengths, and, throughout this journey, had formed a bond that had only strengthened over the weekend. On the Sunday of the competition, we were sleep-deprived and down one speaker, but all was not lost.
Fortunately, we had a secret weapon: DJ Jammer Hammer (aka Ryan) and the power of dance. This secret weapon was used best in the anxiety-inducing time between submitting our slides and presenting our case to the judges… and it worked wonders. On case day, we, again, walked into our case cool, calm and collected, having shaken out all the excess energy on our makeshift dance floor (i.e. any private space we could find!)
Four hours of preparation, 20 slides, and – if I do say so myself – one top-notch presentation later, and my personal claim to be non-competitive was proven a lie. We were ready for round two, and when are number wasn’t called, I was genuinely disappointed – I think we all were. That said, we were competing against dozens of the best and the brightest across Canada and we could take solace that the number of our late night partying neighbours weren’t called neither. After such an intense day, we all appreciated our trip back to the comfort of the hotel around 4 p.m., knowing that the night ahead promised ample opportunity to reveal our secret weapon on the open dance floor.
We may not have taken home the sustainability trophy, but I would drag myself out of bed long before dawn to do it all over again!
Michelle Martin, on sabbatical from BC Hydro Communications, is in the 2013 cohort of the Management of Technology MBA program. Outside of class, she’s founding a local arts-based venture and advising on the Board of Ethelo Decisions. Casual muckraking, snowboarding, yoga and libation sampling endure as frequent pastimes.