IN MY VIEW: How to start a successful career at a global sports brand
Published: 19 Feb 2014
The Sports market – specifically focusing on activities such as football, basket-ball, running, biking, skiing, trekking and mountaineering – is booming globally. Despite the current global economic downturn, this is one market that is definitely not suffering and one that remains desperate for talented young individuals who want to work in the industry.
However, qualified individuals are hard to find. Sure, there are lots of young people who are passionate about sports and who would love to work in the industry – but there are not enough who have the skills and knowledge required to enter the industry and make a difference.
The sports industry is a global market – dominated by international brands such as Nike, Adidas, Salomon, The North Face, Patagonia, Under Armour, Quiksilver etc... These companies are thirsty for young talents with a global outlook who have both management skills as well as a deep understanding of the industry.
Finding candidates willing to work in Sports is easy but being able to spot the best ones, multicultural and able to truly understand the industry, is much more complex.
I have personally worked in the sports industry for most of my career and recruited more than a hundred graduates looking to start a career in the sports industry. Most of the time, the graduates I recruit are passionate about Sports but know very little about the sector (only what they have read or seen in the media). It takes a year to teach them the fundamentals in order for them to acquire the essential skill set to start in the sports industry and become efficient.
As a result, one thing that I see the industry crying out for is a way to develop and nurture leadership talent that really understands the mechanics of the sector.
Many “sports specific” programmes at universities and business schools focus on the industry from a corporate perspective. This is fine if you want to work in sports marketing for a company like Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble or Havas Sport – but if you really want to create an impact, take the lead in this exciting sector and shape the future of the industry as a whole, it isn’t enough.
This is why, together with EMLYON Business School and the Outdoor Sports Valley, I helped set up the MSc in Sports Industry Management.
This is a 16-month specialised master programme with the aim to train tomorrow’s leaders of the industry by giving the students in-depth knowledge of the sports industry, with a special focus on Outdoor Sports, and providing students with many opportunities to meet and work with some of the biggest brands in the sports market.
Another key element of the programme is its global exposure, as the students start classes at EMLYON Business School (Lyon), travel to the home of outdoor sports in the Alps (Annecy) and end the programme in Shanghai where students experience the industry from one of the world’s fastest growing international markets. Students spend three months in each location where they benefit from the expert knowledge of industry players and have excellent access to individual and sector specific careers services.
For example, students meet with Franz Julen, CEO IIC-INTERSPORT (#1 sports retail group worldwide), a successful entrepreneur and a sportsman himself. He presented to the class his company’s strategy and shared his overall experience as a business developer. Students were very enthusiastic to learn how the company was set-up and how it operates today. Other guest lecturers include the BtoC VP of Amer Sports Group, the Founder and CEO of Hoka (and ex CEO of Salomon), the Marketing Director of Cannondale Europe, the Financial Director of Patagonia Europe , the Founder and CEO of Sporting Goods Intelligence, the Marketing Director of Columbia Europe, the International Sales Director of Millet/Eider, the CEO of AS Adventure and many other Sports Industry professionals. Students also have the opportunity to attend the ISPO tradeshow in Munich, the biggest sports show in the world and to visit Chamonix as well as several sports companies like Salomon.
If you are looking into a career in sports management, this programme will get you where you want to go. Thanks to the worldwide sports industry network it provides you with and the unique international learning curve you go through, you will definitely be prepared to meet the high expectations companies like Salomon or Patagonia have and work towards a successful career in the sports industry.
By Pascal Aymar, Programme Director of EMLYON’s MSc in Sports Industry Management, Director of the Sport Business Unit at EMLYON & Vice-President of Outdoor Sports Valley.