Reflecting on MBET: The 2014 class and our final social event

MBET 2014 social - whole group

Most final social events of a graduating class are bittersweet, but this was not the case with the MBET class of 2014! The year-end social for the 2014 cohort of the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program, held at Bingemans, was quite an event. It was not just one event but many rolled into one!

For the outdoorsy types, there was mini-golf (to perfect their swing - or chuck the golf ball in, depending on who was winning!) and geo-caching. For those who preferred to be away from the heat and sun, there was a delightful bowling match in a nice air-conditioned enclosure. Bingemans had all the trappings for a nice evening.

Despite this being a bittersweat event, the final class social event seemed anything but final. How can a gathering of friends ever be bitter? To top it off, the ever welcoming, smiling, and helpful faculty and staff there too, adding to the joy of the evening. "Sweet" is what this event definitely was.

The fact that we were all back-slapping, pulling each other's leg, and generally having a good time is a testament to the camaraderie our class developed in the 10 short months of the MBET program. Most of us wished that the program lasted longer, wanting to be with these friends much longer, and not let go just yet. Some of us were so possessive that we did not entertain the thought that the face-to-face meetings could end in a couple of weeks. We were all so sure that we were in this for the long haul and knew that we could count on each other. So even at this informal event, referrals to funding and job opportunities were flowing freely. After all, friendships that are forged over cups of coffee, sweat, and snow, rarely wither.

MBET 2014 social - smaller group

MBET 2014 classmates at final social, from left to right: Azimuddin Saiyed, Zeshan Khan, Mrinay Nair, Tyler Iorio, Rahim Dhanani, Shanae Vander Togt, Nidhin Stanley, and Sunny Zhou.

The class of 2014 MBET experience

In many ways our class was a mix of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs from the beginning. There were aspects of the learning that appealed or challenged some more than others, but we all have lasting memories of the activities in class and our teamwork. The overarching emphasis on experiential learning immersed us in difficult situations which, as we later realized, made us much more open, resilient, and confident.

As we each go out to achieve all that we want, we have come to realize that MBET has provided us with the tools and temperament to deal with challenges judiciously. In the program we were taught real world lessons that have embellished our self confidence. We have developed more purpose, poise, and qualifications through learning a unique mix of business, entrepreneurship, and technology management that is sure to continue to provide value to each of us.

To me, a telling portrait of our year in MBET is the fact that there were no "good-byes" said at the social. There were only wishes and counter wishes of kindness that are exchanged at the beginning of a new phase in life. I can say with confidence that each of us have grown from where we were 10 months ago. As we head out to the world, we each have the promise and drive to offer a lot – be it for a corporation or a startup. I am delighted to have gained so much in such short a time. Thank you friends and thank you MBET.

MBET class of 2014 fun facts:

Of the MBET students in the 2014 cohort...

One had a baby.

Two got engaged.

Two were selected for the Google-backed NEXT pre-accelerator program.

Three let Conrad Centre founder Howard Armitage win squash matches.

Three juggled tasks as teaching assistants for undergraduate courses.

Three were featured in Waterloo Stories.

Four cycled 29kms with faculty members Howard Armitage and Margaret Dalziel.
 

Above, right (from left to right): Hussam Ayad, Howard Armitage, Hemanth Shah, Aun Hussain, Margaret Dalziel, and Brian Barge.

Four competed in Startup Weekend Waterloo Region: Community Edition.

Four teams built robots on a tight timeline for the Roboworx event.

Four were finalists in the Stu Clark Investment Competition.

Of the MBET practicum teams...

One was added, one won Best Paper presented at an international technology conference, one raised $100K in seed funding, and one won second place in the RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge.

We learned about...

Strategy, leadership, accounting, marketing, consulting, technical sales, social entrepreneurship, finance, technology-based ventures, and developing our own startups.

What did we do?

We met over a dozen speakers in Entre-Nous events, wrote over a dozen quizzes, and submitted over a dozen assignments.

Our companies pivoted many times, and eight of them were incorporated by the end of the year.

We attended UpStart Breakfasts, conferences, trade shows, startup weekends, and many of us volunteered at events.

Outside of school, we trekked the beautiful countryside, played some great basketball, partied, danced, barbecued, climbed fences, watched movies (once in class!), and went on long drives.

Most of all, we helped each other - from completing tough assignments to moving between houses.

All in 10 months!

All of us remain sane, healthy, and hearty!

About Hemanth

Hemanth Shah is a media and advertising professional with over a decade of multinational corporate work experience in India, the United Kingdom, and Sri Lanka. He came to Canada for the first time with his wife and 9-year-young son to pursue the MBET program. Before the MBET program, Hemanth obtained a BSc and MBA and was involved with a startup.

Hemanth Shah

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