The latest edition of the Sports Business MBA by EB Institute got underway last week in an online tip-off meeting, with 18 students from 10 different countries starting a journey that will conclude in June 2022.
The start of the 2020-22 program, which works with Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania to equip students with advanced professional knowledge and skills in the field of sports business management, was postponed due to the Covid-19 virus but is now fully up and running.
At Monday's first session, Rita Bendaraviciene, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management at Vytautas Magnus University, welcomed the students, who were then introduced to the program structure, grading system, timetable and the e-learning platform.
The students then had the opportunity to ask questions in a roundtable discussion with Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO, as well as interacting with Euroleague Basketball senior executives who delivered presentations. They included Roser Queralto (Chief Business Officer), Alex Ferrer (Marketing & Communications), Jose Luis Rosa-Medina (Corporate Partnerships & Licensing), Luca Scafati (Business Operations) and Abi Martin (Corporate Social Responsibility and Development).
One of the students is Akeem Vargas, a former ALBA Berlin guard and ex-German international who is still playing in Germany with BG Goettingen. He is starting to look forward to his post-playing days by taking the Sports Business MBA, and said:
"It's a multicultural program that's built on great networking experience and the knowledge of a great university. The first week has been absolutely amazing. Great content, great knowledge, and what I liked most about the video conferences is that you can ask questions, dig deep and, when you really want to know something, they will always have an answer that they are willing to share with you."
Another member of the playing community is Lea Favre, who is studying the program while recovering from injury after playing college basketball in the United States. She said: "The first week was very interesting. It was dense, a lot of information, but they did it so well with all the presentations. They made sure it was interactive, we could speak, ask questions, we had some videos to watch. Overall it was very good and I'm excited to start."
Many of the other students are hoping to use the program as an entry path into the sports industry, such as Philipp Roedel from Germany who said: “If I dedicate so much of my free time after work to studying I think it should be focused on a topic I’m really passionate about, which is the case with sport and particularly basketball. That’s why I decided the program by Euroleague Basketball Institute and Vytautas Magnus University would be the right one for me. My hope before I started the program, and I think it’s a realistic one, is that the program will enable me to move into the sports industry in the future. I think the program will definitely provide me the tools that are needed to be successful in this industry.”
Similarly, Alex Volanti from Italy noted: "The presentations were really in-depth, going into details, and they were super-eager to answer our questions. I was impressed by the organization they have, by the roadmap they have, how they are taking the key points and going to the direction for a bright future. They are taking a new generation, a new digital approach. I really liked the direction things are going in and I think it will be very successful."
The students will now continue to interact with Vytautas Magnus University professors, guest academics and industry experts over the next 15 weeks to complete three online modules and prepare a scientific-research-applied project.
The second session will then take place in Cologne during the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in May, when students will defend their term paper, attend presentations from industry leaders and gain a unique behind-the-scenes experience at one of the biggest sporting events in Europe.