The 2021 class of the Sports Business MBA by EB Institute has successfully graduated after going through 16 months of hard work.
Their efforts culminated in mid-January, when the students defended their final master theses in front of a commission led by Rita Bendaraviciene, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management at Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania. The panel also included all six module leaders and Euroleague Basketball representatives.
One of the students was Gediminas Navickas, a former professional player who is now coordinates the Zalgiris Kaunas youth program. He explained the value of the program, saying: "For me it was very important to understand the basic ecosystem of sports business. I see a lot of this in the Zalgiris office but the background of sports business, that's what I learned in the program. I needed this and it was really valuable for me."
The journey for this group of students started at Euroleague Basketball headquarters in Barcelona back in September 2019, with a week of sessions giving an insight into the daily operations of a major international sports league by interacting with Euroleague Basketball executives, including a roundtable discussion with Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO. The students also had their first contact with the module leaders, who introduced their respective online modules.
Christie Miliordou from Greece, who now plans to pursue a career focusing on mental health in sports, appreciated that personal touch, saying: "The most important for me was the people I met, people from different nationalities, different backgrounds. A lot of people from the sports world, experts, people from Euroleague, and I really enjoyed collaborating with these people because we did a lot of team projects."
After 15 weeks and completing three online modules, the students came together again for five days in January of 2020 at Vytautas Magnus University to present their term papers, receive lectures from Zalgiris Kaunas senior management and visit the Zalgirio Arena, one of Europe's most advanced sports and entertainment venues.
With last season being cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students were unfortunately prevented from meeting for the scheduled third in-person session at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Cologne, Germany.
However, the students were still able to complete their qualification through online sessions. The graduating class brings the total alumni to 251 students from 39 different countries since Euroleague Basketball launched the EB Institute in 2007, with its educational programs continuing to develop sports business professionals.
And Edgar Vargas, who currently works as the Marketing Director at the Puerto Rican Football Federation, had no hesitation in recommending the program.
"This is a life-changing experience," he said. "You grow not only as a professional within the sports business with but also as a human being. If you plan to elevate yourself to the next level in the sports industry, this is the place to be."