SportBusiness International asked the providers of the top three ranking postgraduate courses in Europe about the secrets of their success.
1. The International Centre for Sport Studies (CIES) | Fifa Master
Kevin Tallec Marston, Academic Projects Manager & Research Fellow in History
SBI: CIES is well established in the industry, but how are you responding to trends?
KTM: “There is more and more competition and convergence in this sector, more demand for part-time courses and executive education, and expectations of candidates are higher. Our response is to stay student-focused and innovate our full CIES education offer with our international network of executive programmes worldwide to stay topical.
"Our staff improve the learning experience to cultivate critical thinking and leadership, update teaching with current issues, nurture mentorship relationships and develop our alumni community – for example with a new annual event around graduation in Neuchatel that will better connect new classes and the alumni community.”
SBI: What sort of track record is there for Fifa Master alumni in the sports industry?
KTM: “In our most recent survey covering 440-plus alumni, only 10 per cent were not working in sport. We have 40 alumni working at Fifa alone and we had at least one person from each of the 17 editions of the course working directly or indirectly for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
"We do not just ‘train’ managers, but open their eyes to what sport truly is: a global and interdisciplinary phenomenon with stimulating career opportunities.”
2. Russian International Olympic University | Master of Sport Administration
Nikolay Peshin, Pro-Rector
SBI: What are the major trends that are influencing the evolution of the MSA?
NP: “The sports industry is increasingly involving local communities, states and big business, mostly through organising sporting events. Social networks are changing interaction with fans, building new marketing tools and attracting new sponsors.
"Meanwhile, developing new types of sporting activity, like esports and extreme sports, is creating new business opportunities in the market’s growing sectors, especially for start-ups. Other areas of importance include new technologies, strengthening the fan experience, as well as offering sponsors what they need.”
SBI: What challenges lie ahead?
NP: “We must analyse the global challenges facing big sport and adequately transform our educational strategies. The rising cost of mega-events is a risk, obviously leading to the need for inter-regional cooperation. We need to consider new centres of sports business in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Another challenge is integrating the e-gaming industry into sport through the spread of the concept of ‘sport’ to any form of competitive activity. Another challenge is developing manipulative technologies for selling sport-related products and services.”
3. University of Parma – University of Republic of San Marino | International Master in Strategic Management of Sports Organisations, Events and Facilities
Marco Brunelli, Director
SBI: Your institution has improved in the rankings considerably this year. How has your International Master developed?
MB: “The Master has always been focused on industry needs. We have adjusted the programme and the faculty to try to do the best for leagues, teams, sporting goods producers and agencies. For instance, ‘media rights’ and ‘customer experience management’ were included as a topic a few years ago when the steering committee saw the importance of these contents.
"A major trend now is digital transformation. I’m not talking only about the digitalisation of management processes, but also about the redefinition of industry boundaries and the birth of new business models. In May we organised the first seminar ever in Italy on esports, for example.”
SBI: In which industry sectors do your alumni end up working?
MB: “Our students come from a wide range of studies and experiences. In addition, the Master’s reputation is high in each segment of the sports market. Students can find good positions in a huge variety of jobs and industries, including media, teams, organisations, marketing and licensing agencies.”
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FURTHER READING - SportBusiness Postgraduate Course Rankings 2017
- Overview - Established schools continue to set the course
- Top 40 courses
- North America - How U.S. schools continue to build on a winning formula
- Future course - How schools are embracing sport’s brave new world
- Emerging markets - When will developing regions make the grade?
- Data - Sports masters in numbers
- Data - Career prospects for graduates
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