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              Leadership Lessons From MBA Students’ Sailing Regatta

              MBA students use sailing event to network, and build teamwork and leadership skills – essential for management careers.

              Starboard, stern and jib don't sound like common business school themes. A group of Aston Business School MBAs, however, got soft skill and leadership lessons from a sailing competition last month.

              The Cranfield MBA Regatta brings MBA students from across the world together in one of the most competitively charged occasions in the academic calendar.

              This year’s event, organized by Cranfield MBAs, was a two-day sailing festival of Sunsail F40 yachts, competing in fixed points' races with hospitality and entertainment over the course of the weekend.

              It was also a valuable networking opportunity. Students from business schools around the globe met peers and put into practice the leadership and organizational skills developed throughout the year.

              Aston’s group was made up of students Gaurav Khaitan, Charles Aluge, Grand Opaskornkul, Daniel Sira, Raul Roustand-Canales, and Aston alumnus Alan Gilmour.

              “Career success is not just about how much we know. It is also about the soft skills,” said Gaurav. “Yacht racing is an ideal way to test leadership, team working and building, and decision making under pressure,” he added.

              The team participated in five races over two days, and finished 11th overall out of 19 participating boats.

              The Aston troupe slept on-board for both nights. It was a punishing schedule. “With three races on the first day, we [barely] had time to wolf down a sandwich,” said Daniel. “We did learn about sailing but it was more about coordination – a very steep learning curve,” he said.

              The sailing festival is part of a wider trend of business schools trying to broaden their horizons. Aston believes that it is not just practical and academic skills which are developed on its MBA program – equally as important is the rest of an MBA student’s cohort.

              “Events like the Cranfield Regatta are one of the many ways Aston helps you to develop the soft skills vital for career and business success,” said Gaurav.