Andrew Sanderson, one of our Executive MBA cohort, tells of how his team came together in the Red January sporting challenge.
Exterior shot of the Business School with a branded quote saying: 'Big ideas start here. Welcome to our world.'

Towards the end of our University of Edinburgh Executive MBA induction week in December, we received an insightful presentation from Pattie Santelices (the Strategy Officer for Health and Wellbeing for Edinburgh Council) around the topic of building resilience. After an overwhelming first week, the talk inspired me to think about how I could build my own resilience in the months ahead and support others within the cohort at the same time. A key part of the talk highlighted the significance of mental health and the hugely positive impact that regular exercise can play in supporting our mental wellbeing.

As a result, I was able to convince ten others from my cohort to take on the ‘Red January’ fitness challenge, with the aim of raising awareness and funds for Sport in Mind, a charity that provides mental health support through sport and physical activity. When I challenged my classmates to commit to 30 minutes of exercise every single day in January, the easiest thing in the world would have been to make an excuse or keep quiet and ignore me (especially after just taking on a Master’s degree in addition to busy lives at work and home!).

Collage of active EMBA students

The challenge was tough, but the satisfaction of completing it together was worth it. On a personal level I ran every single day and covered a total of 156 miles. We used the opportunity to bond and support each other, tracking our progress via Strava and pushing each other to reach new levels of fitness. We were inspired by the positive impact that exercise has on mental health and wanted to support the cause by raising funds for the charity. Our team's efforts have paid off and we are very close to hitting our goal of raising £1000 for Sport in Mind.

The University of Edinburgh Executive MBA programme is not just about developing business skills but also about personal growth and making a difference in the world. This experience illustrates the power of collaboration and how we can achieve more together than we can alone.

By taking on this extra commitment, Catrin, Claire, Danielle, Derek, Karin, Mika, Mo, Rachel, Ryan and Sarah have shown something special that makes them stand out from most other people! A willingness to take on even more, a resilience to keep going even when motivation is low and a determination to dedicate their time to a worthy cause. I couldn’t be prouder of them!

Team EMBA 2022-25 fundraising for Sport in Mind on JustGiving