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Sauder’s MBA sailing team recently placed third in the seventh edition of the SDA Bocconi MBA Cup, an annual three-day regatta hosted by the Italian business school that attracted over 400 competitors from 22 top MBA programs from around the world.

MBA students Craig Terry, Jorge Lobo, Julia Dorofeeva, Enrique Sandoval, Ingrid Hartmann, Julien Traverse, Neil Simpson, Robin Poirier, Kelly Moss and Jason Collis trained extensively for a year before they set off for Italy in September.

Throughout the races, the team ran into several roadblocks, including a broken spinnaker, a faulty boom gooseneck, which keeps the boom attached to the mast, and unpredictable weather, said the team’s skipper Jason Collis.

“In one of the races, we were sailing very well and we were in the lead when all of a sudden, the wind turned very light,” he said. “We were extremely frustrated—we were 300 metres to the finish, sailing upwind, and we could almost smell the victory, but we couldn’t quite get there.”

Despite the obstacles, the team managed to place in the top three during the first two days of the regatta. Excellent teamwork, honed skills and determination allowed Sauder to beat out the team from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in the finals to take third place, Collis said.

“We were absolutely thrilled with our finish,” he said. “The team really pulled together and performed extremely well and represented Sauder with great skill and class.”

The international event took place this year in Santa Margherita and Portofino, two fishing villages on the Italian Riviera. Aside from organizing the sailing competition, SDA Bocconi also hosted various social events, boat cruises and an MBA conference.

At the conference, business leaders from Italy and Europe, including Andrea Illy, President and CEO of Illycaffè, Bruno Meier, CEO of Rolex, and Yoel Zaoui, Head of Investment Banking Division for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Goldman Sachs, discussed how individual talent could propel the world economy out of the global financial crisis.