Our experience at the MBA Games in Hamilton was debilitating. It was a first on many fronts: our first case competition, our first time at a national competition and for many- including myself – a first time on the East Coast. We had no idea what to expect at the Games and were ill prepared; and then thoroughly trounced by the East Coast schools.
I would like to think we redeemed ourselves at the case competition in Victoria. It was a smaller group of students – some of had attended the Hamilton event and the rest were new to the program; I would like to think that those who had been in Hamilton had gained from the experience and were better in Victoria because of it. And the less competitive environment helped us to perform at – close to – our best.
I am usually an introvert and build my energy levels with alone and quiet time spent reading, writing or in the outdoors. But contrary to my nature, on this trip the more interactive and social I was with complete strangers the more my energy multiplied.
The bonds formed during the difficult experience in Hamilton also improved the social experience of Victoria. When you open yourself up to others, you are never prepared for how much the experience will change you – and sadly when it has gone badly once, you shy away from it again never realizing what incredible, life defining opportunities you are turning your back on.
The city itself was the perfect backdrop for the experience. Victoria has a rich history, beautiful weather, sea and mountains and occupies the perfect middle ground between bustling – sometimes overwhelming – big city of Vancouver and the provincial, small city of Nanaimo. Even at night the city was alive with people, lights, activity and energy. It was dotted with totem poles on many corners, patterns of bricks with names of the city’s first inhabitants, quaint stores like Roger’s Chocolates and Munro’s books that showcase the city’s heritage in a modern setting, a magically lit up Parliament building and the iconic The Empress – with two trees at the entrance that looked oddly like woolly mammoths or elephants.
I really enjoyed my two nights and two days in the capital city of BC, and on the day I was leaving I could feel that something had changed. I had butterflies in my stomach, and I knew my story with the city of Victoria wasn’t yet over; we were still intimately intertwined.