The MBA Sailing Club sets sail to Athens

We are a student-run club of passionate sailors that organize sailing weekends and compete in MBA regattas across Europe. One recent race took us to Athens, to compete in the Open Class of the LBS Global MBA Trophy Regatta.

First day: Thursday

Some of us flew in early and spent the day in Athens, others arrived the morning of the competition while Sonia Byun (alumna, MBA 2017) came all the way from New York! Sonia was the president of the MBA Sailing Club back in 2015 and 2016 and she knew flying in would definitely be worth it.

Sonia Byun HEC Paris MBA

Sonia Byun (MBA ’17) flew in from NYC to compete along with her HEC Paris MBA crew

We signed in at Zea Marina and sailed our two boats the 5 km to Mikrolimano Marina (Piraeus, Athens). It was our opportunity to practice together as a team and teach the basics of sailing to those that had never been in a boat before (Yes! Our club includes both experienced skippers and also people who have never sailed before. Only requisite: love for the sea and the wind!)

After docking at the port, we got ready for the opening ceremony that took place at the Yacht Club of Greece. All was set for the first day of races.

Racing days: Friday and Saturday

The first day’s weather was calm, with winds ranging from 15 to 18 knots going up to 24 in the afternoon. We did a traditional triangular regatta, keeping the buoys at our port bow when we turned. The conditions were ideal for a good mix of sailing and fun. During the first part, heading upwind, we were constantly tacking, thus we needed all the crew’s concentration. Near the end, heading downwind, we could relax and let the sails do their work. It was a stunning sunny day in Greece (that wonderful Mediterranean weather)! We sailed for about 5 hours and finished three regattas, then celebrated our accomplishment with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot (drinking a nice French champagne as was expected of us). The day ended with a dinner at Michelin-rated restaurant Varoulko and an after-party.

Saturday’s race was tougher. The wind was so strong, the organizing committee wasn’t even sure if it was going to allow the teams to race. Finally we got a green light. Every participant had to give his or her complete concentration – a sudden burst of wind could violently move the main sail and hit a distracted crew member. Both teams did a tremendous job despite the conditions (given that not many of us knew how to sail). Saturday ended with an awesome Gala.

HEC Paris MBA sailing club at a gala

Saturday ended with a lovely gala


“The LBS regatta is a unique opportunity to network with over 135 students and alumni from the world’s best business schools while refining teamwork, leadership and communication skills on and off shore,” explains Teejana Beenessreesingh, MBA ’19. We shared a long weekend together, combining sailing, fun, fresh air and a lot of sun. It was a great break, mentally preparing us for the next period of classes that take place until the end of June. Some of us will depart on internships, others on travel, but we are already planning our next Regatta!

Crew boat A: Sonia Byun (skipper), Matias Fagiano, Isabella Ganem, Bianca Tompkins, Joseph Kellshal, David Herrera, Laura Zlotkin-Leslie, Liviu Teodorescu.

Crew boat B: Marco (skipper), Marc Rinkel, Teejana Beenessreesingh, Leila Dob, Luke Mortimer, Diogo Vianna, Lucia Gonzalez-Schuett, Ayad Rizk, Maxine Riley-Zhang.

Text by Matias Fagiano

Matias Fagiano (MBA'19) graduated as an Engineer from the prestigious University of Buenos Aires with honors. He developed his career at Huawei Technologies where, in his last position, he was Director of the IT and Cloud Business Unit. He has extensive experience developing technology-based business and decided to pursue an MBA at HEC Paris to gain strategy and finance knowledge and to continue his professional career in Europe. He is co-leading the MBA Sailing club.