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 were 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.