Gold watches, spritz cocktails, fireworks – it’s easy to see why HEC Paris MBA students trek to the Italian Riviera every year to take part in the Rolex MBA’s Regatta and Conference. The glamorous event, organised by SDA Bocconi, takes place in the picturesque port town of Santa Margherita Ligure. Along with high-end perks, the regatta features two days of competitive sailing between 20 business schools from all over the world.
“It’s a really great event,” says Mihai Speteanu, MBA ’18, skipper for HEC Paris’ 2017 team. “Students participate to meet people, and you can network with 400 students from 60 countries.”
Of course, the first priority is sailing. The HEC Paris MBA students and alumni who participated in the 2017 event arrived a day early to inspect their boat – rented from local residents – and to practice together on the water.
Placing a commendable fourth in the first heat on September 29, despite having a few members who had never sailed before, Mihai says his crew soon found themselves racing with growing confidence. By the end, HEC Paris MBA had placed 2nd in the Offshore Class.
Despite the competitive nature of the majority of races, there was an opportunity to sail at a more social level with the “Cruising Class,” which allowed participants to spend time on the water in a less pressurised environment, where they could relax and simply enjoy themselves.
Along with the casual parties hosted by the students each evening, an elegant gala dinner capped off the sporting weekend. Held at La Cervara, a former monastery built in 1361, students were able to sip cocktails and watch a fireworks show from the restaurant’s garden, which directly overlooks the sea.
How do I take part in this event?
The team is organised by the HEC Paris Sailing Club, with participants selected on a first-come, first-served basis. With a cost of €550 to cover boat rental, it is a good value-for-money trip as Rolex sponsors the majority of other costs. To join the sailing club, either email current president Melinda Aulie or incoming president Dimitri Limberopoulos, or join during the next Welcome Week in January. With places for the trip next year being in hot demand, be sure to apply early!