The figure of Johan Cruyff and his academic legacy take center stage at the Johan Cruyff Institute 2021-2022 graduation ceremonies held in Barcelona and Amsterdam
The sports industry is preparing to welcome its new management leaders. Throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, 140 students have been trained in the classrooms of Johan Cruyff Institute in Amsterdam and Barcelona, or online, and regardless of the modality chosen, all have completed their studies with the ambition of becoming an asset to the sports industry.
That was the feeling at the graduation ceremonies held in Amsterdam and Barcelona, and the feeling that will be revived again in October with the graduation of the online students. The graduation ceremony in Barcelona was held at the Torre Glòries, an emblematic building located at the northern entrance to the Catalan capital, where around 250 people gathered in person, joined by a streaming audience of more than 600 viewers. In Amsterdam, the Jakarta Hotel and the Frans Otten Stadion were the chosen venues.
The legacy of Johan Cruyff, present at the graduation ceremonies
The end of the academic year is a good time to remember those values that made the founder of this institution, Johan Cruyff, a great example to follow. And three of them, in particular, the general manager of Johan Cruyff Institute, Mariël Koerhuis, wanted to highlight for the new graduates: courage, awareness and engagement.
“Johan Cruyff was a courageous man. He dared to act, to decide and to embark on new adventures. He had the courage to simply try and discover new things. He dared to fail, without judgment, without fear. He understood that failure is the path of learning,” Mariël explained. Regarding awareness, she commended them for their curiosity and interest in learning and remarked on the relevance of knowing one’s limitations. “Knowing and accepting yourself is the path to success,” she said.
“Johan was a courageous, aware and committed man; I hope his legacy will continue to inspire you all” – Mariël Koerhuis
The general manager ended her speech by referring to engagement and took the opportunity to thank Johan Cruyff Institute‘s collaborators, such as the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and FC Barcelona, for their trust and involvement, while encouraging students to commit and fight for what they consider most important. In short, she called for the legacy of Johan Cruyff to continue to inspire everyone “for the good of sport and society”. On behalf of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Judith Panadés, dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business, and Ricard Esparza, academic coordinator of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management, both on-campus and online, took part in the ceremony, while FC Barcelona was represented by its vice-president Rafael Yuste.
The event was attended by the new graduates of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management in collaboration with the UAB, on-campus and online, the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelonaand Barça Innovation Hub, and the Blended Master in Sport Marketing and Management (Barcelona).
The 2021-22 academic year once again demonstrated the open and multicultural character of Johan Cruyff Institute, with the presence of students from all over the world. In fact, in the case of the master’s programs taught in Barcelona, the headquarters of the institution, about 70% of the students are international, originating from countries as diverse as the United States, Germany, South Africa, Argentina, Mexico, and the most repeated: the Netherlands and Spain.
Jordi Viñas, director of the Blended Master in Sport Marketing and Management, assessed the course of the academic year and concluded that “satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the achievement”. For his part, Ricard Esparza, academic coordinator of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management, congratulated all the students present and those who have taken the online master’s degree from other countries and continents. “Our program is relatively young, but it is entering a phase of maturity, and you have helped us to improve,” he said.
One of the students, Oscar Traver, values the importance of sharing the journey with both fellow graduates and professors. “We have been fortunate to have great teachers who did not limit themselves to explaining the different content, but went beyond that in everything and, through their experiences, tried to explain where this industry is going,” said Traver, a few days after graduating.
Johan Cruyff Institute, training the leaders of the sports industry
As its core value and mission, Johan Cruyff Institute has the passion to train the leaders of the future of the sports industry in different areas, from facility management or event management to strategic management, or as agents in sport marketing and sponsorship. That’s where Traver sees himself now that he has completed his studies. “I would like to work in the most operational part of a sporting event, and if it is in an area related to swimming or football, even better,” he says.
Two graduation ceremonies also took place in the Netherlands. Graduates of the Master in Sport Management – Amsterdam gathered at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam for the presentation of diplomas, while graduates of the Master in Coaching closed the academic year with a ceremony at the Hotel Jakarta in the Dutch capital, attended by Celine van Gerner, a former student and Dutch gymnast, and Marcel van der Kraan, sports director of De Telegraaf.
For Stephan Rieff, student of the Master in Sport Management – Amsterdam, it is important to highlight “the interest and help of Johan Cruyff Institute in building relationships with people and expanding my network of contacts.” Therein lies one of the intangibles that the institution provides: the possibility of building relationships with peers and future colleagues in the profession.
His classmate, Shay Sade, appreciates the need for “working with a plan and in an orderly way in any organization and, of course, in the world of sports”. She also emphasizes the proximity promoted by the institution. “You have access to all the professors and special treatment from the staff,” Shay notes. Stephan is a commercial assistant at Almere City FC, and Shay is co-founder of FIRSTEAM USA, a company that supports dual careers for athletes and helps them combine fooball with their studies in the United States.
“The most important thing now is to contribute everything you have learned, to have the ambition to improve every day and surround yourselves with people who will always help you. I wish you all the best” – Jordi Cruyff
Jordi Cruyff also wanted to be present at both graduation ceremonies, although his schedule with FC Barcelona did not allow him to be physically present at both events. Jordi wished the new graduates his best in a recorded video message. “The most important thing now is to contribute everything you have learned, to have the ambition to improve every day, and also to look at yourselves critically to better understand what you can improve,” he told them. “And, of course, surround yourselves with people who will always help you, who are positive and who contribute their strengths, which may be your weaknesses, and make a strong team to improve and grow every day. I wish you all the best.”