An MBA Rugby Blue, the last sprint and a magnificent cover letter

I want to say a public congratulations to Doug Rowe, a fellow Cambridge MBA student. Just yesterday he was named as the scrum-half for the Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club 1st XV in their Varsity Match against Oxford at Twickenham Stadium next Thursday (the 11th). He will be a bit of a rare commodity; an MBA student that achieves a sporting “Blue”.

It’s hard to express how big a deal this is in the sporting world of the University. A sporting blue is the highest level of sports achievement, and comes with a distinctive blue blazer. While the Rugby Union Varsity Match isn’t quite as high-profile as the Boat Race (in rowing), it’s been played since 1872 and now takes place in the UK’s second biggest stadium, seating 80,000! Doug did used to play on the US Rugby Team, so top-level competition certainly won’t be foreign to him.

So a hearty congrats to Doug… well done! (Match photos of questionable quality taken by yours truly at a very cold home match a few weeks ago.)

On a completely different note, it’s already the last week of classes in Michaelmas Term! I really have no idea where all the time has gone.

Just this last weekend we finished a lengthy take-home exam for our Business Modelling class (lots and lots of Excel… thus the need for a take-home exam). In the next two weeks we’ll complete our term’s consulting project, a final essay for Management Practice, and the essay portion of Organizational Behaviour. Then it’s a month of holiday and revision for exams in the first week of January.

Finally, I just found what is quite possibly the best-written internship cover letter I’ve ever read. Check it out here.

Rowing news I’m happy about

Earlier this week the Guardian newspaper broke rowing news that I’m very happy about; Leander Club has been informed by the Henley Stewards that they cannot enter Club-level events at Henley Royal Regatta.

To explain a bit, Leander Club is a bit of a gorilla in British rowing. Their boathouse/clubhouse is at the very end of the Henley Royal Regatta course, which means they are able to make a significant sum of money from hiring out facilities during the regatta. Additionally, they are able to raise a significant amount of money from ~2000 members that keep their affiliation (and thus get tickets for the facilities during Henley). This means that for the other 51 weeks of the year they are able to pay for highly trained coaches and heavily subsidize their athlete’s training.

For club rowers at Leander, rowing is essentially their job. They are expected to train for around six hours a day. There’s really no way to have any sort of reasonable full-time job after that. Club rowers elsewhere around the country train in their spare-time. Really serious athletes either sacrifice and work part-time to train more, or sacrifice everything else in their life to train. Where Leander athletes pay virtually nothing for membership and get kit and camps largely paid for, any other club’s athletes pay a lot of money (hundreds of pounds) on membership, kit and everything else.

My rowing club, Thames Rowing Club, does it’s best and has had some really good success recently. We do pay some fairly significant membership fees, but we have very impressive facilities, a top-level paid coach and an incredible boat fleet.

With such a dramatic difference between one “club” and the rest of the clubs around the country, I completely support what the Henley Stewards chose to do in this case. It’s simply not fair to consider their athletes in the “club” category when they are able to and expected to train so much more than any of their competition.