McKinsey pips Roland Berger to claim consultants basketball cup

06 March 2019 3 min. read

McKinsey has beaten an injury-hit Roland Berger to claim the inaugural Consultants Basketball Cup crown in the Middle East.

Held the weekend before last in Dubai and hosted by Roland Berger, the inaugural Consultants Basketball Cup (CBC) brought together more than 150 participants from twelve of the region’s leading consulting firms – including most of the strategy industry’s biggest global names – to battle it out for on-court supremacy. After more than 20 group and qualifying games, the team from McKinsey ultimately prevailed, edging out a fancied Roland Berger outfit in the final.

With the support of Roland Berger, the inter-consultancy tournament was the brainchild of former professional basketballers and current Roland Berger consultants Karim Tabaja and Mohamed El Kurdi, intended as an opportunity for the region’s consulting industry to forge closer ties while also serving as a brief escape from the intense and fast-paced consultancy lifestyle – although the on-court action was also described as intense, albeit conducted in a friendly atmosphere.

“Initiatives like the Roland Berger Consultants Basketball Cup are a great way to build stronger communities in Dubai. In the city, where most of us are long-term visitors, a certain sense of belongingness and community is always appreciated – and the things that bring us all together include our choice of profession, our love for basketball and our choice of the city to live in,” said Martin Mellens, captain of the triumphant McKinsey team.McKinsey pips Roland Berger to claim Middle East consultants basketball cupEmerging from its group and early knock-out stages, McKinsey blazed a path to the decider courtesy of a 42 to 25 semi-final victory over Oliver Wyman, setting up a title clash with the fancied Roland Berger team, which in the other semi defeated Boston Consulting Group by five points. The 40-minute final would prove to be a tight affair, with scores tied at 22 apiece at the half-time break, before the Roland Berger campaign was ultimately derailed by injuries and McKinsey’s ‘tenacious defensive tactics’ – the American firm running away for a ten-point win to lift the inaugural cup.

“We absolutely loved the experience and are looking forward to defend the title next year!” said Mellens, an investment strategist based in Dubai since 2013. “Thanks a lot to the Roland Berger team, and especially Karim Tabaja and Mohamed El Kurdi for the energy to make the vision a reality. Overall, organisation was great. The timings were rock solid, turnout was great, the staff were very helpful and the location was great for the type of event.”

Meanwhile, despite going down to Oliver Wyman by five points in the third-place decider, Boston Consulting Group was given the Excellence and Diversity award for fielding the most gender- and nationally-diverse team, with locally-based regional management consultancy PACS earning the Sportsmanship Award. Other participating firms included Arthur D. Little, A.T. Kearney, Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Delta Partners and PwC and Strategy&.

“The first edition of the tournament proved that great things happen when strategy meets sports. This success wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Roland Berger leadership and the passion and commitment of all participants. We plan to build on this year’s success and turn the CBC into an annual tradition and continue exceeding expectations,” Tabaja said, adding “we’ll get them next time!” on a Roland Berger Instagram post.