A new class of professionals-in-the-making tipped off the 2018-19 Sports Business MBA by Euroleague Basketball Institute with a week-long opening session that introduced them to the course and gave them a first-hand look at the inner workings of a private international professional sports organization.
The first session of four that the students will have together across 16 months took place at Euroleague Basketball headquarters in Barcelona, Spain, and featured a diverse look at the company's philosophy and operations.
Students from Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine hit the ground running with five full days of classes with professors from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, and executives from Euroleague Basketball. Among the enrollees are Okeksiy Yefimov, General Manager of 7DAYS EuroCup club AS Monaco; Apostolos Tsagarakis, Technical Director of the International Swimming League and Ioanna Beriou, Director of Sponsorships & Corporate Communications for Onside.
“I really impressed with the first week of the Sports Business MBA.” said Oleksiy. “It overcame all my expectations. All week long from 9:30 until 6:30 we had a great opportunity not only to listen but also to share opinion and exchange experience with the Euroleague Basketball top management. The lectures and practice sessions that were given by the academicians were great. They have activated all my previous knowledge and let me read and analyze my previous experience totally from a new angle of view.” Iaonna said ”I had an exciting first week into the course! We have a great team of students with multidisciplinary and multicultural backgrounds, combined with an exceptional line-up of teachers made it a great learning experience.”
The opening session began with a welcome by Rita Bendaraviciene, Dean at the Faculty of Economics and Management at Vytautas Magnus University. University professors Giedrius Jucevicius, Vilija Biciunaite, and Ausra Pazeraite introduced, respectively, the sports business, sports communication, and the sports marketing modules of the course, while Renata Legenzova discussed with students their term paper requirements.
A roundtable discussion with Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO, let the students ask questions about the company. Among the other Euroleague Basketball executives who gave classes, Eduard J. Scott, Chief Operations Officer, focused on the Basketball Operations area; Rowena Younes, Director, Events, spoke about what goes into organizing a EuroLeague Final Four, one of the most significant sports events on the continent; Stephen Dobson, Director, Digital & Content Marketing, addressed the expanding field of sponsored digital content; Jose Luis Rosa-Medina, Senior Director, Corporate Partnerships & Licensing, explained the essential role of stakeholders in sports; Milos Nenadovic, Manager, Business Operations, talked about the evolution of ticketing; Luca Scafati, Director, Business Operations spoke about the EuroLeague Business Operations & Club Services; whilst Yolanda Jaramillo presented the Financial Stability & Fair Play Regulations.
A second session, to be held at the university in January 2018 will include a full day of learning from Zalgiris Kaunas staff at Zalgirio Arena in Kaunas, Lithuania. The students will regroup in May for a week's worth of classes with specially invited leaders in the sports business industry and behind-the-scenes access at the 2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain. The closing session brings the class back to Vytautas Magnus University in January 2020 to defend their MBA Thesis during a Viva and celebrate their graduation ceremony in a basketball heartland.