There are those rare and extraordinary events that one cannot simply forget. The EM Cup is truly one of them.

If you want to broaden your horizon and get a chance to go out of your comfort zone while getting to know interesting people from the hospitality industry; then, participating in the EMCup in Maastricht sure is the best way to do so. As we have so many things to share to you, each of us will tell you about our own feelings and stories.

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The boys were ready for the big day!!
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Jojo working on his “competition” pose”

SUVI:

Before the competition, I had some ups and downs. Along the way, I struggled due to an overload of assignments and group meetings. Even though I complained here and there, I am extremely grateful that I am a part of the Below Zero Super Heroes team.

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One of our first brainstorm sessions!
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There we are, proudly pitching our paper in front of the jury!

Truth be told, we were all nervous wrecks the day we left for the Netherlands. Luckily, we had the chance to stay for two days in beautiful Amsterdam and Amsterdam knew its way to relax us. Regardless, the actual competition took place in Maastricht. During the first day we heard a lot of good and motivational speeches, learned about our strengths and weaknesses and we danced. That said, all judges, coaches, and students danced together throughout the event.  Surprisingly, the dancing helped calming my nerves.

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Copyright: EMCup

Meanwhile, during the final EM Cup day we had to pitch our ideas in front of a business jury and work on a case. The top 16 teams then made it into the semi-finals, namely the knock-out phase. That said, two teams had to debate against each other; only the winning team entered the finals. Luckily, we were one of the best teams; however, we didn’t make it through the Debate. Believe it or not, we had so much fun. And in the end, we gained confidence along the way.

MINH:

You could imagine, I, Minh, have never participated in anything like this before so I had some panic attacks a few days before the competition. I always imagined of things that may go wrong, but Amsterdam helped me. Of course there was still some pressure, but the EMCup also knew its way. We got a chance to meet so many people from different corners of Europe, sharing the same passions and goals. It felt like being with old friends. Everyone was very enthusiastic, energetic and cool, even the business jury. They are not there to scare you, but to find you and to motivate you. They are helping you by creating opportunities so just be yourself and let everything happen naturally. That’s what people want to see from you: Your true color. Therefore, I felt super relaxed on the day of the competition. No panic surprisingly.

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Amsterdam was superb!

The moment when the host called out our school’s name for the debate round, I was so happy that all the hard works have been paid off. Even though we didn’t make it to the Final, I was so proud of ourselves for getting that far, and we did really well marketing our own school and our team. Everyone in EMCup knows about Lapland, about Rovaniemi and about the Superheroes we are.

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One of our marketing actions! 🙂
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It’s about to get ready! 😀

Jojo:

In my opinion, the Emcup and all the surrounding preparation for it was truly a different experience when it comes to studying. It had all of us in the team perfecting not only our academic sides but also get all suited up for business networking which was a hugely different experience than anything I had done before.

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Selfie on a boat…in the morning…!!!

Looking back at the preparation time, I can now say that I have a better appreciation for the amount of coordination and effort needed to maintain any sort of competitive edge in the competition or to even fulfil the basic workload. This being said, it also had a lot to do with stretching one’s own abilities and fitting into what is required from the competition. This cup had us interacting a lot with those who are holding prime positions in the hospitality industry and this is a substantially different world from the ones that we study in. It did, however, peak my interest to understand what kind of business I could find myself in post-graduation. Outside of this, another fascinating dynamic to the team was the fact that we were made up of individuals that span different years so coordinating around this in both scheduling and particularly working efficiently together was a major factor in this event.

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Preparing for the case be like… (Copyright: EMCup)
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Networking is about meeting new people! And we met a lot (In this picture, we got one of the members from the FINNISHers team)

Matti:

It is done. When still in the pre-competition phase, I remember saying to my work friends that we’ll make it to the top 10. Well I didn’t lie. All-in-all a very well organized and functioning event where we were made clear the first day that the competition is just one part; participation, networking (in human words talking about anything with other people who are just the same as you no matter how many hotels they own) and “getting out of your…” (wait for it) “comfort zone!” And after that we all had.. sorry, we all got to dance at the event.

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Being a model is never too easy! 🙂

I am very proud of our diverse team that after all the planning and pondering with our schedules to make them match, found a mutual tone and made things happen. With great results. Thank you guys and miss. I would do it again, though now I don’t have time though so maybe later. Also a big thanks for our dynamic coach duo Petra ‘n’ Heidi for all the help and tips. Keep on coaching, collecting experiences and learning with the teams in years to come. At some point we can take the 0 out of the 10th place.

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Made it to top 16 (eventually ended in top 10) – Copyright: EMCup.
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Heidi’s hands were so shaky when she tried to to take this picture since she was happy but also nervous for us!

What we have enjoyed about the organization of the EM Cup were the two fabulous hosts. They truly had the power to lighten the mood and transform the competition into a fun experience. The EMCup also shows hospitality at its best, also thanks to amazing coffee and food offered.

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The food was legit! (Copyright: EMCup)
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AWESOME BREAKFAST!
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Fancy restaurant for…
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Amazing food!

Most of all, the event was a great networking experience. Besides, it builds up confidence for all of us as we had to speak on stage, in front of a business jury and create a personal pitch. In the end, we learned a lot about ourselves and we are confident that whatever the future has in store for us, we will be able to manage. Overall, taking part in the EM Cup was truly amazing. It’s so much more than just a competition; it is an once-in-a-lifetime event that we wouldn’t want to miss for the world.

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A selfie with our amazing coaches!
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Jojo and Minh after a long day!
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Heidi got her dream vacation come true! 😀
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Who wants food????

We hope that during the past few months, you guys have enjoyed being on the journey with us and we are super glad that you guys have supported us so much. Although this journey ended and we all four are now on our own different paths, we all still treasure every moment of our journey, and of course, we are always, the Below Zero Super Heroes.

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So, goodbye then! 🙂
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