World's top consultancies compete for basketball bragging-rights in Dubai

22 February 2019 3 min. read

Organised by Roland Berger, the inaugural Consultants Basketball Cup has tipped-off in Dubai, with teams from twelve of the region’s biggest consultancies battling it out on the court.

The first basket-balling event of its kind in the Middle East, and held at the Dubai British School in Jumeirah Park, the inaugural Consultants Basketball Cup (CBC) will today see strategists from some the region’s – and world’s – largest consultancies pitted against each other on the court – with 12 teams participating in total and Roland Berger leading the charge.

Arranged by one-time professional basketball player Karim Tabaja together with former teammate and current Roland Berger colleague Mohamed El Kurdi, the CBC will bring together teams from McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, A.T. Kearney, Oliver Wyman, PwC and Strategy&, Arthur D. Little, Booz Allen Hamilton, Accenture, Delta Partners, and local management firm PACS.

“Mohamed and I started organising the CBC back in November with the support of our contacts across the different consultancies,” Tabaja said. “The idea of having people who are shaping the future of our region play basketball together really inspired us. We believe that basketball is a getaway from our intense and fast-paced lifestyle. Also, this event is an opportunity for all participants to grow their ties across the consulting industry.”

World's top consultancies compete for basketball bragging-rights in Dubai

The full-day tournament will see the teams square-off in a group-stage, with presumably Tabaja and El Kurdi named in the starting Roland Berger line-up in their opener against Arthur D. Little, before the top two qualifiers of each group go on to compete through the finals to determine an ultimate winner.* According to the eager organisers, a region-wide industry buzz has been circulating in the lead-up to the event.

“Mohamed and I were keen on pushing the basketball culture given our passion for the sport," says Tabaja, noting that although basketball is big in the region, corporate sports tournaments predominantly still focus on football. “Today, we are extremely proud of this traction since our dream to marry strategy to basketball is closer to reality.” The pair also note the support they’ve received from Roland Berger.

"A key factor which contributed to the successful organisation of the CBC has to be Roland Berger’s drive for entrepreneurship. In fact, after presenting the initiative internally we received the full support of our leadership [Rene Seyger recently took over as the firm's new regional managing partner] to make things happen – which is a direct reflection of our values. This event is a prime illustration of Roland Berger's culture.”

While possibly a first for basketball, the intra-consultancy sporting event isn’t an entirely new concept (indeed, last year fared rather poorly in a consulting football tournament hosted in the Netherlands). Although neither will be represented in this year’s CBC, at the end of last year Ernst & Young defeated KPMG to claim the Auditors Cricket Cup in Oman, with Man of the Tournament Omar Sarfraz striking six sixes off six balls in EY’s semi-final win against PwC.

* will announce the innaugural CBC winners with a finals' wrap-up following the event.