Networking and management models: students talk about their study trips

June 16, 2022

Networking and management models: students talk about their study trips

Johan Cruyff Institute students go on study trips to various European cities in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain with the aim of exchanging knowledge, networking and learning first-hand about the management of top-level sports organizations

Travelling is always a great opportunity to learn about different ways of life and work, and Johan Cruyff Institute has relied on this truism to generate enriching personal and professional experiences for its students. Barcelona, the Basque Country, Amsterdam and the German cities of Dortmund, Mönchengladbach and Bochum were the destinations chosen by the center to provide its students with an immersion in European sporting culture. The objective? To visit leading sports facilities and clubs to gain an insight into the ins and outs of top-level sports organizations, while strengthening students’ relationships and taking advantage of opportunities for networking and leisure time.

In terms of sport management, visiting the facilities of major football clubs or other sports entities allows students to exchange knowledge and understand how other leagues or competitions work. This is what the students who travel each year on the Johan Cruyff Institute‘s study trips have at their disposal. “There is a very important social and relational aspect. The venues become a hub where students from various countries travel and network,” explains Víctor Jordán, academic director of Johan Cruyff Institute.

Networking and management models: students talk about their study trips

Students of Johan Cruyff Institute Peru, in the modern stadium of RCD Espanyol.

Giorgio Barrera, a Peruvian student, enjoyed his study trip to Barcelona last March, and he highlights the value of professional relationships as the best experience of the trip. “The networking, sharing experiences with local students, foreigners, teachers who are currently working at sports institutions, is 100% enriching,” he says.

“The networking, sharing experiences with local students, foreigners, teachers who are currently working at sports institutions, is 100% enriching” – Giorgio Barrera (Peru)

From Johan Cruijff ArenA to Camp Nou

Some of the trips are organized in the Netherlands, where Johan Cruyff Institute has one of its campuses. In Amsterdam, participants can visit an intelligent stadium such as the Johan Cruijff ArenA, which is very attractive both visually and in terms of the technical and operational management of the facilities.

“The visit to this stadium allowed us to understand how different set-ups of the venue are configured depending on its intended use,” explains Alejandro Hernández, a student of the Blended Master in Marketing and Sport Management (Barcelona) and a member of the commercial team at the sports marketing agency CA Sports.

This is also emphasized by Federico Molli, who is currently studying the Master’s Degree in Marketing and Sport Management (Blended) and working in marketing and commercial management at Club Atlético Boca Juniors, when he states that “both the visit to the Olympic Stadium and the Johan Cruijff ArenA were extremely enriching. Getting to know first-hand the operational development of institutions of this magnitude provides you with many tools and knowledge.”

Networking and management models: students talk about their study trips

A visit to the Johan Cruyff ArenA, home of Ajax and the Dutch national team, is a must. More photos from the trip to Amsterdam.

In addition to visiting sports venues in the Netherlands, the students were also able to get to know initiatives that use sport to carry out social or charitable work. This is the case of the Only Friends Sports Club, a club for children and young people with disabilities that is an example of sport management away from competition. “Beyond the human value of what this institution does for these children, it broadens our professional range,” says Federico Molli. “If they have the necessary conditions, as is the case with this club, great results can be achieved,” adds Alejandro Hernández.

“Getting to know first-hand the operational development of institutions of this magnitude provides you with many tools and knowledge” – Federico Molli

The trip allowed the students to get to know institutions, people and projects that “in addition to working for inclusion and providing support to these families, need sport managers to carry out these plans,”, in the words of Molli. The trip also included a visit to the Cruyff Foundation, which supports and develops sports activities for children in need and with different abilities through sports projects.

The students were also able to take part in sporting activities such as squash and tennis, which helped them to network. “These activities gave us the opportunity to compete, work as a team and enjoy the experience,” says Yash Desaai, a student of the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona and Barça Innovation Hub.

Networking and management models: students talk about their study trips

There is also time for leisure and sports on the Johan Cruyff Institute’s study trips.

“The sports activities at the Frans Otten Station and the dinner at Humphrey’s helped the group connect. Being in a more relaxed environment, relationships flow more naturally,” adds Martín, recalling the leisure activities he enjoyed most during the trip.

The students of Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam also had the opportunity to go on a study trip this year, and Barcelona was the chosen city. Camp Nou, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya race track and the facilities of the audiovisual group Mediapro were obligatory stops.

Networking and management models: students talk about their study trips

Students from Amsterdam and Peru got to know the management of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Participants of the Latinamerican network also visited the Catalan capital. During their study trip, in addition to visiting the stadiums of FC Barcelona, RCD Espanyol and Girona FC, like the students from Amsterdam, they visited the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to learn about the management of another type of facility in the field of sport.

They also participated in masterclasses given by managers who have worked in large sports properties, such as Raúl Ciprés (former RCD Espanyol and Real Club de Polo de Barcelona), Cinto Ajram, who managed the sponsorship area of FC Barcelona and now runs the sports marketing agency CA Sports; Marc Pomés, project manager of The Ironman Group, or Jordi Viñas, managing partner and founder of Itik Consulting Sports & Leisure and academic director of the Blended Master in Marketing and Sport Management (Barcelona). Among the topics covered were the strategic plan implemented for the inauguration of the RCD Espanyol stadium, the keys to sport sponsorship and the management of sports facilities.

“The truth is that it opens your mind to different business opportunities in sport, especially in football. It makes you see that there is still a lot to be developed, especially in our region, and all this knowledge can be used to make better decisions,” says Giorgio Barrera from Peru. The students also had time to visit the Olympic Museum in Barcelona and the Barça Museum, and try some typical Catalan restaurants.

In the Basque Country, the experience was similar and the students of the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona and Barça Innovation Hub visited the facilities and stadiums of all the clubs that play professional football in the region: Deportivo Alavés, Athletic Club, SD AmorebietaReal Sociedad and Real Unión de Irún. In Vitoria they were able to attend a talk on strategic analysis of the sports sector given by Pablo Ortiz, business director of Baskonia-Alavés.

Networking and management models: students talk about their study trips

The visit to the Basque Country is made the most of. All the professional footbal clubs are visited, as well as basketball club Baskonia. More photos of the trip to the Basque Country.

At San Mamés, they were welcomed by Borja González, director of business and innovation at Athletic Club, while the visit to SD Amorebieta was led by deputy director Aritz Esteban, CEO Ibon Olalde and sporting director Asier Goiria, which allowed the students to receive different insights from each manager.

“What I enjoyed the most were the visits to the stadiums in the Basque Country, Amsterdam and the German clubs. Each one offers something different depending on their local history, culture, creativity and innovation of the stadiums to offer the best possible fan experience. They were visits that have given us many ideas about what stadiums are like,” Yash Desaai emphasized.

“Visits to cities in different countries broaden our view of the world by appreciating and learning about different cultures” – Yash Desaai

Another of the study trip itineraries of the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona and Barça Innovation Hub this year was the route through Germany, with visits to the facilities of Bundesliga clubs such as Borussia Monchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund and Bochum, as well as the PSV Eindhoven stadium, before departing for Amsterdam.

Study trips, a personal and professional learning experience

“These trips are a memorable and real experience of the subject we are studying, which is important for our future careers. Visiting cities in different countries broadens our view of the world by appreciating and learning about different cultures,” adds Yash Desaai. It is a view shared by Alejandro Hernández, who says that the main thing he took away from this knowledge exchange experience from a professional perspective was “understanding that in each culture or country there is a methodology for managing sport” and that “the most important thing to be able to work in this industry is to find a way to adapt your skills to this work methodology that already exists in order to exploit them to the maximum”. For Federico Molli, the main thing he learned from his experience in Amsterdam was “strengthening on a human level”.

In short, an opportunity for all the students of Johan Cruyff Institute to get to know first-hand how all types of clubs work, learn about their management tools and strategies and exchange knowledge in order to grow professionally and personally.

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