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First incoming class for SPOAC by WHU

Sunday marked the beginning of the year for the first incoming class in the "Advanced Executive Program in Sports Business" (AEP) at SPOAC, the Sports Business Academy by WHU. The incoming students will complete a year-long continuing-education program for professionals, with course work designed for tomorrow's leaders in the sports business.

On their first day on the SPOAC campus at WHU in Düsseldorf, participants were first welcomed by the initiators of SPOAC, Prof. Sascha L. Schmidt (Scientific Director of SPOAC) and Philipp Klotz (member of management at SPONSORs). Under the title "Strategy in Action," the first case studies on "competitiveness" were discussed, based on participants' previous preparation via a multimedia learning platform. Prof. Schmidt drew on participants' professional experience as the group worked on solutions to the problems posed. This is a core element of the "Harvard Case Method" taught at SPOAC – Sports Business Academy by WHU. The AEP comprises ten three-day modules devoted to topics ranging from "Strategy" to "Sales" to "Leadership."

Participants in the first incoming class stem from all relevant areas of the world of sports business. They include representatives of world federations such as FIFA and FEI (the International Equestrian Federation); national organizations including DFL, DFB, Eintracht Frankfurt, and 1. FC Köln; and students from the sponsoring industry, including Deutsche Sportwetten, Fujifilm, and WWP. Former and current top athletes from sports such as hockey, tennis, and Nordic skiing have also enrolled at SPOAC.

During an evening dinner, participants had the opportunity to reflect on their first day together and to engage in lively discussion in a relaxed setting. The day ended with an escape game in which the participants had to solve puzzles and brainteasers together before they could escape from a room.

Among the highlights awaiting participants on the second day was a keynote presentation by German Football League (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert. Dr. Michael Vesper, CEO of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), is today's announced, guest lecturer.

The second three-day module of the AEP, on "Accounting and Finance," will follow immediately thereafter, beginning on Wednesday and ending on Friday. Participants will complete the remaining eight modules at the WHU campus Düsseldorf, meeting at intervals of four weeks each. The program concludes in early June with a study trip to Boston, where, among other destinations, participants will visit the campus of Harvard Business School.


First WHU on Finance Program successfully started

In April 2015, the new WHU on Finance Program started. So far, more than 70 participants from different institutions attended the program in the first 10 sessions including topics as Infrastructure of Capital Markets, Behavioral Finance, Asset Management, ECB and European Bank Union, and Financial Crisis. The program will finish at the end of July with two sessions on Alternative Investments (July 21st) and Wealth Management (July 28th). Registration for these two sessions is still possible.

The program is especially useful for executives with regular contact with financial markets. In 12 90-minutes evening sessions taking place in Frankfurt both fundamental and currently relevant hot topics of financial markets are covered. The program is very flexible offering the opportunity to book the whole series of 12 sessions or to choose only specific modules that best fit individual needs. Participants who attend at least 8 sessions have the opportunity to take an exam or to hand in a short thesis and receive a WHU certificate with up to 3 ECTS points.


Alumnus of General Management Plus Program visits learning center in Cambodia

In June, Peter Kleinhütten, alumnus of the General Management Plus Program at WHU, traveled to Cambodia to visit a learning center in the rural community of Tonloab. One year ago, he had established the learning center together with eleven executives and the social enterprise BOOKBRIDGE.

The mission for his visit in June was to celebrate the first anniversary of the learning center with the community and to create awareness of different educational topics together with Vannak Pen, who is the head of the learning center.

“I wanted to show Vannak how easy it is to learn new things and have fun at the same time. Thus I decided to shoot a video with him in the learning center”, says Kleinhütten. For him, this meant learning to write a screenplay in advance, bringing a camcorder, and being a cameraman, director, and mentor in one person. He had no experience in movie-making before.

In only 24 hours, Kleinhütten and Pen shot the footage for the 8-minute video, that Kleinhütten cut himself after the trip to Cambodia. “I had never done this before, so it was quite a challenge for me to look through the footage, cut it and find suitable music”, explains Kleinhütten.

The video shows the variety of Vannak Pen´s tasks in the learning center: He organizes IT and English courses for children and adults, plays and sings with the children, and manages all financial issues. The learning center has been set up as a financially self-sustained business. To ensure good sustainability rates in the future, Pen needs to develop new ideas to earn money with offers (e.g. IT and English courses, kindergarten) in the learning center and to raise awareness for the importance of education for children in Cambodia. He will probably offer new IT courses and also will commit himself to environmental issues, for example, rubbish disposal in the community.

The film project made Peter Kleinhütten step out of his comfort zone and go on a personal learning journey, as he had done during the 9 months part-time General Management Plus Program in which he participated from September 2013 to June 2014. While continuing to work full-time in a German bank, he enhanced his knowledge in strategy, finance, leadership, and entrepreneurship in lectures and sessions at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. But there was more than just sitting in a classroom and listening to professors: Kleinhütten and his teammates created a business plan for a social business – the learning center in Tonloab – in their spare time. “I really liked the program. The combination of lectures and sessions with excellent professors and the possibility to apply the newly gained knowledge right away in a business project were unique”, thinks Kleinhütten. During the last module of the program, the group traveled to Cambodia to finish the last renovation work of the learning center and to open it officially. Today, the program participants still have a close connection to Vannak Pen, the BOOKBRIDGE team, and to the learning center.


WHU and SPONSORS establish "Sports Business Academy" for future executives in the sports business

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, and SPONSORS, a leading information editor and conference organizer in the sports business, have established the "Sports Business Academy by WHU" (SPOAC) in Düsseldorf. The partners to the cooperation signed a multi-year agreement. In the future, the combined expertise of both institutions will provide needs-based, interdisciplinary, and practice-oriented education and training opportunities for executives in the sports sector.

SPOAC provides companies and institutions alike with a platform for recruiting and employer branding. It is designed to develop future decision-makers in the sports business who are equipped with the best that science and practice have to offer. Graduates of the "Sports Business Academy by WHU" join both the SPONSORS network of more than 10,000 contacts in the sports business and the WHU network comprising more than 4,000 contacts among students, faculty, and alumni.

"An industry with billions in turnover each year, sports are steadily becoming more and more professionalized. The resulting requirements in terms of the training and specialization of tomorrow's decision-makers pose major challenges to employers and employees alike. This leads to pressing demand for specialized, practical, and progressive education and training programs at the highest level, a demand we will meet together WHU," said Marco Klewenhagen, managing editor-in-chief of SPONSORS.

"The transfer between science and practice is especially important to us. We also provide outstanding access and opportunities for our students," added Professor Sascha L. Schmidt, Scientific Director of SPOAC. "We welcome the practical cooperation with SPONSORS and very much look forward to the network that this involves. Together we will provide the best possible preparation for the executives of the future as they face the coming challenges of the sports business."

Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann, Managing Director Executive Education at WHU, confirms: “We have been successfully designing Executive Education programs for executives from different industries for over 10 years. Offering such programs to executives in sports business adds a new industry to our portfolio and a new milestone to WHU’s impressive growth and track record of the past 30 years.

WHU and SPONSORS will soon announce the first well-known partners of "SPOAC – Sports Business Academy by WHU." Further details will be announced at the SPONSORS Business Summit 2015, which will be held February 9-10, 2015, in Düsseldorf.