The mystery is solved as Devmanyu Singh reports on one of the lesser-known activities that make NUS MBA student life enjoyable.
This is a question that has recently been perplexing the crowd around the Mochtar Riady building that sees most MBA students purposefully walking out of the b-school after class. It is definitely not the well-stocked library or the recently constructed U-Town (the University’s new residential complex where most MBA students stay) that these students go to. With dog-like determination in their stride and ninja-like focus in their eyes, these MBA students must surely be up to something really important.
Some investigation into the matter unearthed a few surprising facts. These students rush to a room called RIGOUROUS inside the MBA Student Lounge (a lounge with meeting rooms, study desks, and other modern amenities for the exclusive use of MBA students). But what happens inside RIGOUROUS? To find out more, I stepped into the MBA Student Lounge one day.
Locating RIGOUROUS inside the lounge was not difficult—there was an excited noise, dampened by the closed door that led me straight to it. On entering the room, I saw a large group of students huddled around. Jostling my way through the crowd, I found myself at the edge of something unexpected. A foosball table!! A game was on: it was Vincent and Jitendh versus Neha and Hoang. Despite the well-functioning Air Conditioner, I could see the sweat on their brow and could smell the adrenaline in the air! The battered look of the table and the war marks on the foosball players (or maybe American football players now, being all taped up) bore testimony that I wasn’t witnessing the first battle to be fought on this battlefield. After Neha and Hoang, with their powerful and strategic play (respectively), made an otherwise long game, short, I decided to catch up with the foosball crowd.
According to Vincent, who Ashok calls a foosball fanatic, “Foosball is a way of life. You win some and you lose some but in the end what matters is the spirit with which you play. For me, the moment I hear the word ‘foosball’, I subconsciously start rotating my wrists.” Akhil, another avid foosball player, says, “Apart from all the usual group studies, meetings, and networking dinners, a good place to build friendships and develop camaraderie is sports—in this case foosball.” I agree with him. It has long been proven that team games, among other things, help develop long-term bonds. Along with being a good stress buster, after a long day of lectures and assignments, foosball helps students from different batches and nationalities team up and play on each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Realising this fact, Mohit, our Sports Club President, has been actively involved in the process of arranging various sports events with other business schools and corporate teams.
It is interesting to observe how certain unobvious and ‘seemingly inconsequential’ things like foosball can go a long way in fostering friendships and enhancing the MBA experience. While Jose, the President of our Student Council, a foosball enthusiast himself, is repeatedly being urged by his classmates to request the MBA Office to sanction a new foosball table, it is only time that will show when his efforts bear fruit. Till then these foosball junkies will continue to slog it out on the existing one. See you at RIGOUROUS!
Devmanyu Singh (Indian)
Full Time MBA Student, Class of 2013