Let them eat cake: Learning strategy through celebration

Manchester City won the Barclays Premier League football (soccer for the North American readers) for the first time in 44 years last Sunday. Now, you might not know, but Man City is Abu Dhabi's team - Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment owned and run by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan bought the Club in 2009 - and just three short years later we won (yes - I am a fan too).

The Chairman is HE Khaldoon al-Mubarak, who is also the CEO of Mubadala. After they bought the team, they quickly brought in a new coach, bought high profile players and somehow magic seemed to happen. Now any fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs will tell you that lots of money invested in expensive players does not buy championships... but buying the right mix does.

I had planned to show HE Khaldoon's interview today in class ( to have a discussion about the changing strategy of hte Club - from short term "buying" a championship to long-term player development with the Etihad Academy. Then walking into the class, the video of the game was playing, there was cake and coke and it was a celebration - we ate cake, watched the goal, watched the chanting - watched the interview - and then talked strategy.

My boys know more about football than you can imagine - who, when, where, why - they just didn't realise that a well managed team has to follow a strategy - and that we, as students and researchers, can learn from that strategy to apply it in different situations.

So congratulations Man City for an excellent implementaion of a winning strategy Made in the UAE!

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