When I told my brother that I was attending Cambridge for my MBA, his immediate reaction was that I had to try rowing. Having rowed at the World Championships for the United States, the sport has irrevocably shaped and changed his life. Despite seeing his love for the sport, I had never quite been inspired to put myself through the same physical and mental pain that he had. Yet, he spoke to the team bonds I would make, the accomplishment I would feel, and the unique place of Cambridge among the global rowing community. 

Even though I’ve been told the best aspects of rowing are still ahead of me, namely Bumps racing, I am already so grateful that I listened to my brother’s advice. Rowing has tied me into the broader university and has given me a community in addition to that of the MBA programme. I am constantly inspired by the work my teammates are doing to better the world – from researching potential cures for cancer to spending the winter break in Antarctica studying the effects of climate change. My team also always pushes me and supports me in being my best – whether it’s helping me to achieve my goal for an erg score or sending me well wishes before job interviews.

Additionally, rowing has highlighted for me what a great community my Cambridge MBA class is. The very first novice race of the season is Queen’s Ergs, a team erg relay. The MBA cohort came out in force and was by far the largest cheering section in the gym. The support of our class from scholarly to professional to personal endeavours, consistently makes me feel so grateful to be at Cambridge and count them now as friends. I am excited to be captaining the rowing team for MBATs, a sports tournament across European MBA programmes, in May, and am already looking forward to forming that bond with my MBA rowing team, as well as cheering on the rest of my classmates in their sports.

While rowing has been an integral part of my time at Cambridge, the most rewarding aspect is how it’s transformed my relationship with my brother. We have always been close, but it has given us a common passion and language. He is by far my biggest supporter – always willing to cheer me on but never holds back telling me what I can improve on. There is a rowing tradition at regattas where competitors trade gear with rowers who they respect and who push them to be their best selves. I love to brag about my brother when I wear his rowing jacket around Cambridge, but seeing my brother wear Darwin rowing stash as proudly as he wears national team gear, is the greatest gift rowing could have ever given me.