An athlete’s life is ephemeral and the percentage of those who earn enough money during their professional careers to live for the rest of their lives is very low. And no just those who choose minority sports. The competition years pass by very quickly and, once they cross that finish line, the challenge they face ahead is just as difficult or more difficult than the best years they devoted to the sport. Johan Cruyff Institute gives athletes the tools to continue to shine in their sport, but from the management perspective.
Athletes are used to performing under pressure. Today we’ll get into the case of Dominique Van der Pauw, professional rower and student of the Master in Sports Management. She wants to focus her future in event organization.
You received a scholarship from Aegon to study the Master in Sports Management. How did you get it?
I talked to the commercial director of Aegon, because the job he is doing right now it’s what I would like to do in the future, so I was asking him what his career path was, what did he do for studies, where did he worked before. And he just told me that Aegon has scholarships for studies (I knew from other rowers who did it years before) and he said, “I think you are really fit for it”. Then I had to go to a selection procedure because there were more rowers who wanted to do this course and they chose me, so it was a really good moment.
Which characteristics make an athlete competent for sports business?
Athletes are used to a lot of pressure, also put a lot of pressure on themselves trying to achieve the highest goal, they are very focus and know how to focus on the main points and leave the other things behind; commitment is very important and athletes are already so used to these values that it’s easy to take them out of the sports into the business world and it’s something that I’m surprised that not everyone has. I’m in a training session, surrounded by athletes and everyone is trying for the same, so has his values, you take it from guaranteed and I’m quite surprised that in the ‘normal world’ not everyone has. So it must be a special thing that we should value more.
What is your dream project?
As an athlete my main goal is going to the Olympics in Rio and as a student, what is a challenge this year is having more personal development. There are some things I struggle with the team, my rowing career, personal struggles and also within the team. I would like to get more inside on it because I think that if I don’t get these topics out, I will face them later on as a manager. Things like find a solution, how to deal with it, why I’m reacting in a certain way”.
Can you see your professional career in the future or not just yet?
Yes, I can. I would love to be in sports events, I love organizing, if I had to describe myself I am the girl with the paper notes, sticky papers with me, making ‘to do lists’, so I like organization and structures. If I could combine that with a sport event, it would be amazing.