Why is studying in China essential to boost your career in the sports industry?


As one of the world’s largest sporting goods markets with significant growth potential, an understanding of the management of sports in China is of vital importance for future leaders in the international sports industry. That’s why students of the MSc in Sports Industry Management get the unique opportunity to spend 4 months studying the industry of sports in China at emlyon business school’s Asian campus in Shanghai.

MSc in Sports Industry Management students study the specifics of this complex market, whilst at the same time working on an In-Company Project with a leading sports brand to gain practical experience and develop their professional network in this booming sector. The time in Asia also gives students the ability to develop their intercultural skills whilst navigating different business and cultural environments.

Starting the semester with a dedicated Sports Week

Once the cohort arrives to Shanghai, all students benefit from an induction week called the “Sports week” where they get to meet industry professionals, go on a mystery retail shopping tour and attend different lectures about the Asian business environment and the challenges the region is currently facing.

After receiving a welcome speech and an overall presentation on how this semester will unfold, this year’s intake first attended a lecture on sociology of sports in China given by Mr. Chenault, lecturer and researcher at East China Normal University. After that, students met with Sandrine Zerbib, CEO of Fulljet, a sports consulting firm based in Shanghai, and former President of adidas in Greater China. With a 13 year experience at adidas and as current CEO of a growing consulting firm, Sandrine took time to explain to this year’s MSc in Sports Industry Management students how Chinese consumer behavior is evolving.  The same day, students also had the opportunity to meet Yue Xiao, Country Brand Manager for Ski and Hiking footwear for Decathlon China, who talked about distribution in Asia during a presentation.

To get students into the field, the programme also organised a Mystery Retail Visit during which students had to go to different sports stores in Shanghai. After that students continued to build on their networking skills by meeting with both Stéphanie Tham, Marketing Director of Wolverine/Merell and May Ping Chan, Head Hunter at Key Talents, who explained how human resources and talent management worked in China. At the end of the week, students had the chance to attend the F1 Grand Prix Qualifications in Shanghai and met with the organizers!

VIDEO: see what Kurt S., current student of the MSc in Sports Industry Management, and Programme Director, Pascal Aymar, have to say about the sports week!”

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Focusing on the Asian business environment

China and its neighboring countries are flourishing within the sports market. Helen Soulsby, Director for Asia for Sports Recruitment International, a leading firm dedicated to the constant and growing demand for executive and management talent in sports claims that “in 2015 one thing became clear: China led the way in sports business growth across Asia. New entrants, new commercial arrangements and new investors flooded the broad sports business landscape. The China sports industry promises more growth in 2016 and the war for talent is getting fierce. Smart companies know that great people will give them the edge.” This is why it’s important for MSc in Sports Industry Management students to fully understand the ins and outs of the sports market in China and in Asia in general. Asia has a flourishing sports market and the young generation of sports passionate must be in line with market trends!  

With courses including Internationalisation Strategies of Firms, Purchasing, Supply Chain Management, Asian Business Environment, Market, Marketing and Retail Specificities in Asia, students truly gain a broad overview of what key market trends one must take into consideration when it comes to the sports industry in Asia.

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Benefiting from hands-on experience with an In-Company Project

Eric Bruzzone, emlyon business school Professor and Coordinator of the MSc in Sports Industry Management during the students’ semester in Shanghai, China, explains that In-Company projects (ICP) are part of the main added value of the student’s semester in China. […]As the coordinator of the programme in Shanghai, I am the permanent tutor for all the Sports In-Company Project’s so during my classes, I create a discussion on the main issues that students are experiencing with their companies as well as how other companies have resolved similar issues by using landmark case studies. To complete the mix, I invite top sports managers in China to our class so students can exchange ideas with them.”

Previous students have worked on In-Company Projects for international sports organisations including Decathlon, The North Face, Oakley, Sporting Goods Intelligence, Fred & Farid Shanghai, Salomon, Julbo and adidas China. The opportunity to work on a real-life project allows students to combine their academic knowledge with practical industry experience. In-Company projects could include developing the market strategy of an Asian organisation, building qualitative market research on Chinese consumers or helping companies with their strategic expansion plans.

Want to know more about the MSc in Sports Industry Management, click here!

To discover more about the programme community and understand key trends of this highly coveted sector, go on the programme’s blog!

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