What does a 75-story house of cards, an 18 pound onion and more than 200 students, faculty and staff at a world-class business school have in common? You can find them all listed in the latest edition of Guinness World Records. Earlier this year, London Business School students, faculty and staff representing 71 different nationalities gathered on the front lawn of the school to belt “Imagine” by John Lennon. The cover of the famed U.K. singer and songwriter’s song was good enough for the school to earn the Guinness title for the “most nationalities in a simultaneous popular music sing-along.”
“Our Guinness World Records title showcases the diversity of the London Business School community and our communal spirit,” said Tarana Shivdasani, a second-year MBA and social affairs officer for the London Business School Student Association, in a prepared release from the school. “We are truly privileged to be members of a community that inspires all of us to be ambitious and push boundaries.”
OUTSIDE VERIFICATION ONE OF A FEW LOGISTICAL HURDLES
The sing-along took place during the school’s Tattoo event, which is the largest social event at the school and is aimed to acknowledge and celebrate London Business School’s robust diversity. Currently, the school has 106 nationalities represented amongst its students, faculty and staff. “Tattoo is a celebration of diversity, and showcases food, music, drink and talent from around the world,” Shivdasani said in an email exchange with Poets&Quants, also noting the participants donned traditional garb from their native countries.
Shivdasani says the idea to sing for a world record came from the desire to bring all the different nationalities together for a common goal. But the goal wouldn’t come easy or without some logistical hurdles. Shivdasani and the school’s student association had multiple conversations with Guinness World Records to fully understand the requirements–the most complicated would be thorough confirmation and verification from independent adjudicators and stewards.
“We needed an independent authority to verify the authenticity of individual passports,” Shivdasani explained. “Then, we needed to organize independent stewards who would observe groups of people to ensure they were all participating in the record attempt. And, finally, we needed an adjudicator to observe the proceedings and ensure the record attempt was up to the mark.”
GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS ADJUDICATOR ‘PRESENT THE ENTIRE TIME’
The main requirements were that everyone had to actually be singing at the same time and the song had to last longer than three minutes. According to Shivdasani, the student association hired an independent notary to verify passports as the participants were grouped together. The participants were put in groups of 50 or “the maximum limit per steward imposed by Guinness World Records,” Shivdasani said.
“The Guinness World Records adjudicator was present the entire time, and he spoke with both the notary, and the stewards to ensure they were adequately briefed,” said Shivdasani. “Once we made the attempt, the adjudicator consulted with the stewards to ensure participation met the necessary standards, and then awarded London Business School with the Guinness World Records title for the most nationalities in a simultaneous popular music sing-along.”
‘IMAGINE’ BEST REPRESENTED MESSAGE OF DIVERSITY AND PEACE
Deciding on which song to sing also proved somewhat difficult for Shivdasani and the rest of the student association. After an debating different songs “extensively,” the student association shortlisted “a few options.” But when the LBS community voted, “Imagine” was an “overwhelming” winner, Shivdasani explained, noting the song’s message to live life in peace with all different nations.
Shivdasani said the school and student association could “potentially” attempt to break it’s own record in the future but they are “thrilled to have set such a high bar to begin with.” The class of 2017 at London Business School boasts 68 different nationalities represented in its 417 members. Some 92% are considered international students. After a brief scan of the Guinness World Records, it appears London Business School is currently the only elite B-school to possess a world record.
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