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QUAA update: A celebration of springtime memories

QUAA update: A celebration of springtime memories

Not all alumni think fall when they think of reunions. A return to campus in springtime couldn't be timed any better for the members of MBAst'04.

It was six years ago this month, in May of 2003, that a group of new Queen's students got together at a downtown restaurant the night before their program at the School of Business was to start. That first meeting was full of anxiety and excitement. “We didn’t know what to expect,” recalls Brook Hamilton, MBAst’04.

On May 22, members of MBAst’04 will gather on campus for their first-ever reunion. The reunion coordinators, classmates Brook, Ryan Garrah and Vikram Varma, chose a spring reunion to coincide with the start of the school year for newest MBA class. On the weekend of Spring Reunion ’09 the new MBA class – the class of 2010 – will be three weeks into its program. “We wanted to incorporate the new class into our reunion activities, and share our experiences with them,” says Brook.

[MBAst'04 Hockey Team]
The MBAst’04 hockey team celebrated after winning its last game of the 2003-04 season.
The athletes convinced some of their classmates to act as coaches for this game. Despite the fact
that the coaches didn’t play hockey, their team spirit (or was it their business savvy?) helped the
Fat Cats team secure its sole win. They’ll be celebrating again when they return to campus on the
weekend of May 22-24 for their five-year reunion.
Photo courtesy Brook Hamilton

He still has many vivid memories of his own student experiences. Brook recalls how the day after he met many of his classmates for the first time, their studies began in earnest, and for the 12 months, Brook and his classmates saw a lot of each other. In fact, they spent every weekdays from 8 am to 4 pm in the classrooms at Goodes Hall classrooms. After class and on weekends, they broke into teams to work on group assignments, often until the wee hours of the morning. What little spare time they had during their grueling school year was often spent with the same group of classmates. Some strong friendships formed.

The nature of the MBA program lends itself to close ties among classmates. The Class of 2004 was exceptionally tight knit. They found they had a great mix of complementary skills and experience. Says Vikram, “We all realized that in order for us to get the most out of the program, we needed to collaborate, and leverage everyone’s skills in the best way possible.”

The classmates often spent their spare time together as well. Vikram played Varsity Squash at Queen’s, and he remembers his entire class coming out to watch him play. The class also formed its own hockey team, the Fat Cats, which despite a solid losing streak, was popular with other teams and spectators.

The Fat Cats hockey team lives on in Toronto, where several members of the MBAst’04 class live. ”A number of us continue to play hockey together, and we see each other socially,” says Ryan. He’s looking forward to seeing the larger group get together in one place, both to catch up, and also for “a little professional development.”

The 70-odd members of the Class of MBAst’04 are scattered around the world and work in a variety of occupations. To provide some structure to their reunion weekend, Ryan, Vikram and Brook chose four classmates who had gone in different directions professionally. Each of them will give their classmates a career and personal update. Ryan says these informal sessions will fill in the “missing chapters” to some stories that began five years ago at Queen’s. Like the story of Raza Hasanie, who won two business case competitions as an MBA student. Raza went on to put his business plan in action by starting his own company, Scavenger Energy, in Calgary. He’ll talk to his classmates about his experiences raising venture capital to start the oil and gas excavation company.

However, before all the sessions, the classmates of MBAst’04 will start their reunion weekend as they started their program, with a casual evening at the same downtown Kingston restaurant where they all met the night before their studies began.

[Queen's Alumni Review 2009-2 cover]