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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.


When management theory results in the creation of a learning center - General Management Plus Program

November marked the second edition of the General Management Plus Program of WHU Executive Education. Designed for executives in middle management, this continuing-education program combines general management expertise with practical implementation. Over a period of eight months, program participants take part in three modules of theory at WHU and apply what they have learned to a business plan for a learning center in Cambodia. In the fourth module, the participants travel to Cambodia themselves, where they lend a helping hand in building the learning center.

One program participant had this to say about the first module:

When management theory results in the creation of a learning center

The several-month General Management Plus Program (GMP+) at the WHU Campus in Düsseldorf began with a five-day module devoted to the topic of Business and Strategy. Nine other participants and I can look back on an intense week of seminars, discussions, and personal coaching, and on the launch of our "Business Impact Project" in Cambodia.

What sets WHU GMP+ apart from other executive programs, and what makes it very special for me personally, is its extraordinary combination of theory and practice: Together with other professionals from different industries, I will apply what I have learned to developing and implementing a social business designed to improve education in "the world out there."

In its effort to plan and implement the learning center in Cambodia, our team is assisted by BOOKBRIDGE, an NGO that builds bridges between people and cultures. During one intense day of the workshop, BOOKBRIDGE familiarized us with Cambodia and instilled a keen interest in our intercultural learning challenge. Initial video conferences directly networked us with our local project partners in Asia – so the first bridges have already been built.

Backed by the concentrated expertise of our team and the new knowledge we have gained and spurred on by motivation and inspiration of so many, I am looking forward to our joint learning journey – and to Cambodia itself!

Ann-Kristin Montino, Stiftung Mercator GmbH

Read more about the General Management Plus Program.


CIO Leadership Excellence Program at WHU

The Executive Education team welcomed 19 IT managers to the WHU Vallendar Campus from October 20-24. The agenda of their WHU continuing-education program focused on extending general management expertise and leadership skills. The CIO Leadership Excellence Program, which is organized in cooperation with the CIO Magazine and with the support of Hewlett-Packard and the CIO Foundation, has been held each year since 2012.

During the five days of the program, executives dealt in-depth with the topics of strategy, leadership, and competition. Specifically, in a business simulation led by WHU Professor Thomas Hutzschenreuter, participants assumed the role of a CEO and were then required to pass through several lifecycle phases of a company as they managed their imaginary businesses. In addition to an exchange of ideas at a substantive level, the CIO Leadership Excellence Program offered a wide array of opportunities to make new contacts in the CIO community, e.g. during a joint evening cooking project.

Most of the participants, who work in well-known companies such as SMA Solar Technology, EON SE, BMW Group, or HP Deutschland GmbH, will see one another again next year: participants seeking certificates of successful completion attend not only the basic module in Germany but also a module abroad, in India or China, focusing on intercultural management; they also complete and submit a thesis. About 20 managers already spent one week in Shanghai and Beijing in May; this will be followed by a visit to Mumbai and Bangalore in India in the spring of 2015.


Looking for the local hero

Executives open learning center in Cambodia

On May 2, 2014, ten managers entered a yellow-painted building in Cambodia, about 10,000 kilometers from here: Düsseldorf, Germany. They were surrounded by hundreds of children, who also wanted to see the building from the inside, which resembles a library: long rows of shelves filled with books sorted by topic and language. What connected them was their curiosity to discover the recently opened learning center in the rural town of Tonloab, Cambodia.

Education is valuable, but unfortunately not very common in the rural areas of Cambodia. Bringing education to one of these areas has for nine months been the ultimate goal of the General Management Plus Program participants, and became reality this May with the support of social enterprise BOOKBRIDGE, which builds learning centers in Mongolia and Cambodia. In the first three modules of the program, the participants gained knowledge on strategy, leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. With this knowledge they created a business plan, generating a learning center that would be self-sustainable within one year (Business Impact Project). The fourth and final module was about implementing this concept in real-life on-site.

During the first module in September 2013, Carsten Rübsaamen, founder of BOOKBRIDGE, gave a short introduction to Cambodian culture. This was the starting point for establishing conference calls on a regular basis to discuss the status of the Business Impact Project. “First, we split up into working groups that would focus on different topics”, Rebecca Stallbaumer says, who participated in the program. “It was necessary to find out what the community needed. One team looked for the ´Local Hero´, who would be responsible for the learning center in the future. Another team was responsible for finding a suitable building and the third team focused on marketing and communication.” Making time in the evening for the conference calls after a long day of work in their full-time jobs required discipline and organization from each participant. During the preparation period, the group experienced the ‘investor pitch’ as one of the highlights of the project, presenting their business plan successfully to their investor ´UBS Foundation´. Another highlight was the message coming from Cambodia three weeks before the opening, that they had won Vannak Pen, who is a small businessman from the area, as Local Hero for the learning center.

“It was quite a team challenge for us when we were in Cambodia”, Stallbaumer admits. The participants had only met and got to know each other during the modules on the Campus in Düsseldorf; one week together in Cambodia with oppressive and hot weather, different hygienic conditions, and a strenuous agenda would be something completely different. “Though, we worked together well as a team, because we knew each other’s strengths. For example, we had a designer and a civil engineer in our team, who then took on the job of planning structural modifications for the inside of the building” Stallbaumer says.

The learning center is located in a school building in Tonloab in the province Takeo and gives access to books in English and Khmer, the official language of Cambodia, and to computers that were donated by the company of a program participant. The local ministry of education helped the participants with finding an adequate location. Moreover, it was not always easy to cope with the different cultural values – the team was set up very informally: every team member had much autonomy in their respective area of responsibility. But when dealing with local contacts, hierarchy, and protocol often played a large role. “This became clearly visible during the opening ceremony”, tells Stallbaumer with a smile. “About 300 guests listened to the speakers, who were allowed to talk in a certain order, and there was a strict seating plan.”

The implementation of the Business Impact Project in an emerging economy and the trip to Cambodia was an unforgettable learning experience for the program participants, who come from South Africa, Germany, Mexico, and Brazil – not only for their personal lives but also for their future leadership tasks within companies. To conclude the project in full, the project team still has two tasks to complete: to hire a librarian and to arrange fundraising for scholarships for children and adolescents of socially deprived families, so they can enter classes given at the learning center.