During the study trips, Johan Cruyff Institute immerses its students in different realities of the sports industry so that, in addition to learning and building new relationships, they can get a glimpse of where they want to take their professional future
Study trips are usually a memorable experience for all students at Johan Cruyff Institute, and the 2022-23 academic year has been no exception. The involvement of all the sports organizations and clubs we visited was at the highest level, both in Amsterdam and Barcelona, the two cities where Johan Cruyff forged his legend. The complicity that these trips help create between the professionals who run the sports industry and the students who aspire to it is, undoubtedly, a very important part of their success. The study trips are, after all, a journey into their professional future.
The dates of the trips usually coincide with the month of November, in the case of the Master in Sport Management students at Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam, who visit Barcelona, and before the end of the year, in the case of the students of the programs taught in Barcelona (the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management, the Master in Sport Marketing and Management – Blended and the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona – Barça Innovation Hub), who visit Amsterdam. “It was a fantastic few days, the best way to close 2022. I will always remember the emotions and experiences I had on a personal, professional and educational level,” said Kamil Jezierski, student of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management.
Last December’s program of visits to the Dutch city included presentations and activities at: the Only Friends headquarters; the Johan Cruijff ArenA stadium, home of AFC Ajax, including a presentation by Heineken‘s director of sponsorship; and the offices of the 433 marketing agency and of FIFPRO. All have unique management models that show the students the different opportunities that sport management offers and the sector in which they can pursue their careers. “It was an eye-opening day for me. I realized that I had very little idea of the challenges that people with disabilities face in sport. As future sport leaders, we need to have a 360-degree view of our society and make sport truly accessible to all,” said Timur Isakhov, a student of the Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona – Barça Innovation Hub, after learning about Only Friends, a sports club for young people with disabilities.
His classmate Nedim Hasanbegović was impressed by the visit to AFC Ajax. “Being in this amazing stadium, combined with the presentations, added a lot of value to this visit. The ArenA tour deserves a special mention. For me, it was the best I have experienced in Europe so far,” he said. This is not to detract from the learning experience on the last day of the study tour at the 433 and FIFPRO headquarters. “I learned a lot about social media management and players’ rights in professional football,” added Nedim.
If Ajax is a must-see in Amsterdam, the Camp Nou and the facilities of FC Barcelona’s La Masia and RCD Espanyol’s modern stadium are marked in red on the tour of Barcelona’s emblematic facilities for Dutch students. Miquel Puig, director of La Masia, is clear about what he wants to pass on to future sports managers who want to implement the management model of such a model academy: “My recommendation is that they always put the athletes at the center of their actions. This means that every decision they take should be aimed at making the athletes feel that they are being accompanied in their personal and sporting maturation process, without them ceasing to be the protagonists of their career; that they are looking after the athlete’s physical, emotional and mental well-being, and that they are trying to create the conditions for them to be the best version of themselves. The managers must generally put the collective interest before the individual interest and be very generous in the time they devote to their work”.
David Tolo is RCD Espanyol‘s historian, in charge of the stadium tours and of giving the Johan Cruyff Institute students “a first-hand experience of one of the most unique stadiums in LaLiga, the RCDE Stadium, inaugurated in 2009. We have state-of-the-art facilities and we are one of the most established clubs in the world of football. During the visit they will learn about the history of our fans and the reason for the feeling that makes us so special,” said David.
Their participation in an international sports industry congress such as SPORTBIZ EUROPE – Barcelona Edition, organized by the Good Morning Sports agency, was another highlight of the study trip for the students from Johan Cruyff Institute Mexico and Johan Cruyff Institute Peru. The organizer of the event, Patricio Baigorrotegui, believes that “the presence of students at SPORTBIZ is very enriching, as they bring a fresh and innovative perspective to the development of the sports industry. They are active participants, eager to network and they transmit a great deal of energy, taking advantage of all the opportunities offered by the congress.”
Richard Denton, academic director of the Master in Sport Management Amsterdam, has accompanied his students on these study trips for many years and knows the value they add to their education as future managers in the world of sport. “The study trip to Barcelona is an integral part of the Master in Sport Management at Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam. Every year we bring students here to build bonds and trust between them. We organize a series of visits and also invite various speakers to share their knowledge. It’s an invaluable part of the program and from here on we see the students working together more closely and effectively as they progress through the program,” says Richard.
The study trips are the turning point that combines learning, networking and leisure on the road to graduation. From there on, it becomes easier to keep striving towards the finish line.