How is MBA in Sports Management

Sport fascinates the masses. This can be seen regularly at major events such as the Olympic Games, World and European Championships, when people flock to the stadiums. It is therefore hardly surprising that many are trying to gain a professional foothold in the field of sport. Germany's universities are responding to this interest and are offering MBA courses in the field of sports management. The University of Bayreuth was the first university in this country to offer the MBA Sport Management, that was in 2010. "The sport industry has numerous special features; general management knowledge cannot simply be transferred one to one," says Guido Schafmeister, one of the two course directors. One of the peculiarities is the unpredictability in competitions. Even if team A wins against team B and B against C, A can lose against C. "This uncertainty about the outcome of the game makes sport something special," says Schafmeister. In addition, strong competitors are necessary in sport in order to achieve maximum performance in competition. This attracts interested parties from different areas in the Bayreuth MBA: on the one hand, for example, coaches, athletes and sports scientists who want to gain further qualifications; on the other hand, for example, lawyers or logisticians who want to create a professional foothold in the sports industry.

Excursions, events and networking play an important role in this special MBA

The course program of the four-semester part-time MBA in Bayreuth stipulates that the students develop a business model in the sports business in the first semester - for example to digitize a professional football club or to market fan articles - or, if they want to set up their own business, their own business model. In the second semester, the students devote themselves to strategic questions: How can a club deal with the topic of e-sports? How can a company sponsoring sports? How can mass sport be promoted when hardly any people want to get involved in voluntary work? Before the master's thesis is due in the fourth semester, science comes to the fore in the third semester. "The MBA is heavily integrated into the law and economics faculty and is supported by numerous professors who specialize in sports management," says Schafmeister.

At the University of Economics and Environment (HfWU) Nürtingen-Geislingen, André Bühler relies on the MBA International Sports Marketing. "The MBA degree is increasingly in demand in this sector, for example in rights marketing, in the sponsorship sector, in media and leisure companies or in clubs," says the marketing professor and academic director of the MBA. The course lasts four semesters, is predominantly German-speaking despite the name and is offered as a distance learning course. Most of the participants already work in the sports business and want to make a career there. "The MBA is a career driver," says Bühler, referring as an example to a graduate who rose to become an authorized signatory of a sponsoring agency the day after his certificate was handed over. In the course of studies, Bühler relies on a high degree of practical experience, as is characteristic of universities of applied sciences. "Most of our professors have already worked with sports organizations and associations," he says. In addition, you work with external lecturers from practice. For example, a speaker from the world football association Fifa was able to be won over for the crisis management module. The two excursions offered to prospective managers are also important. One of them went to Switzerland for a week last year. There the participants met the managing directors and marketing directors of sports associations. In conversations with the former Fifa boss Sepp Blatter, they learned how decisions are made in the sports industry. This year, at the invitation of the Austrian Ski Association, they took part in the official outfit for the ski team for the World Cup in Kitzbühel. "Such events and meetings are important because a network with good contacts is essential in the sports business," says Bühler. In addition, such events provided an authentic insight into the scene.

Teachers, IT specialists, trainers, lawyers - the participants have very different professions

Industrial engineer Bettina Reuter also wants to offer her students this authenticity. The place of study for the four-semester MBA in Motorsport Management at the University of Kaiserslautern is at the Nürburgring, the legendary motorsport race track in the Eifel. "It's sometimes a bit noisy here, but the conditions are excellent for us on the racetrack," says the MBA course director and university professor. "There are many courses that deal with the engineering aspects of racing cars, but none on organization and management in motorsport - apart from ours," she says. In the first two semesters, management basics are primarily taught. "Motorsport is expensive and has to be financed extensively, which is why our graduates need in-depth knowledge of financing, accounting and marketing," she explains. The third and fourth semesters are specifically about motorsport management.

During the training, the focus is on the topics of personnel and team management. Many racing teams have a permanent staff of four to five employees; at racing events such as the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, the team swells to up to 50 members: technicians, logisticians, marketing and public relations employees, engineers, drivers. You also have to coordinate with the race management and tire manufacturers. "Everything has to fit, that's why everything depends on good team leadership, professional team management and the right motivation," emphasizes Reuter. The MBA was originally designed for technicians and race engineers who want to lead teams. According to Reuter, many students come from the motorsport departments, for example from Audi, Porsche or Mercedes. Surprisingly, however, teachers, agricultural engineers, computer scientists or marketing specialists would also choose this course. "You are extremely interested in motor racing and want to know how it is organized and managed." That's why they dared to change careers.

Another MBA course in the field of sport is the MBA Sport / Health Management at the German University for Prevention and Health Management (DHfPG). The university offers four elective focal points in the four-semester distance learning course; The strongest demand is for the subject of occupational health management. Above all, sports scientists and physiotherapists choose this, but also pharmacists and business scientists who are already responsible for the health of employees in a company or who work as service providers. "With this MBA, our graduates are able to develop strategic concepts or to lead corporate health management in a medium-sized company," says Roman Spitko, lecturer in the management department at DHfPG. The demand for such specialists and managers is great. In addition, the issues of health and prevention are becoming increasingly important for companies. This also has an effect on the MBA of the DHfPG: Since last year it has not only been offered at the Saarbrücken location, but also in Cologne.

A selection of courses leading to a Master of Business Administration degree in the field of sport and health: MBA Sport Management (part-time), University of Bayreuth, www.uni-bayreuth.de; MBA course in sports management (part-time), University of Jena, www.mba-sportmanagement.com; MBA Motorsport Management (part-time), University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern, https: //mba.bw.hs-kl.de; MBA Sport and Health Management (part-time), German University for Prevention and Health Management, www.dhfpg.de; MBA Sport Management (part-time), IST University for Management, www.ist-hochschule.de; MBA International Sports Marketing (part-time), Nürtingen-Geislingen University of Economics and Environment, www.hfwu.de; MBA Sport Management (part-time), Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, www.hs-koblenz.de