Australia’s rich sporting heritage and the increasing credibility of a career in sports administration are the driving forces behind one of the most unique partnerships in Australian management education that may even get you face-to-face with some of the biggest stars in the world.
Torrens University’s Master of Business Administration (Sports Management) course is one of a number of specialist MBAs provided by the university and is made possible through a partnership with the Madrid-based Real Madrid Graduate School and Universidad Europea de Madrid (UEM).
Through the partnership Torrens has created a dynamic program that delivers advanced education in all disciplines relating to sports marketing, the unique challenges of management in sport, venue management, community engagement, health and communications through to leisure and recreation.
“It made sense to strike a relationship with them because of Australia’s sporting culture,” Torrens MBA Program Director Dr Justin Pierce said.
The Sport Management MBA, according to Dr Pierce, benefits students by being a ‘dual sport degree’, where MBAs are treated to the local knowledge of Australian lecturers while also learning from the course content crafted by the expertise of sport professionals in Madrid.
The degree also provides a unique opportunity to maximise graduate employability, as Sport Management MBA students will graduate with a joint degree, recognised both locally and internationally, from both Torrens University and UEM.
Dr Pierce said the icing on the cake for students was the opportunity to take part in a residential program which sees students travel to Spain for two weeks to undergo an immersive experience at the Real Madrid Football Club.
“They get a live case study, a tour of the facilities as well as lots of other surprises,” Dr Pierce said, cheekily.
The two week trip also includes the opportunity to participate in Madrid’s ‘White Week’ – an event where professionals of the sports industry gather with the years’ MBA students.
Dr Pierce said UEM has partnerships with other universities as well, resulting in an event like White Week attended by around 200 MBA sports management students from all around the world.
“It’s a marvellous opportunity for our students to get together, network and learn everything they can from one another.”
Both Torrens and UEM are part of the Laureate network of universities, which was created in 1997 and currently includes universities from 25 countries. The network was designed to deliver greater student outcomes by providing an outlet for the countries within the network to work off each other’s strengths.
Torrens makes use of the network by connecting with other Laureate universities to broaden their student’s horizons.
“We’ve set up ties with institutions in Thailand, South Africa, Indonesia as well as the one mentioned in Madrid, giving us the capability now, if the student wants to be mobile, to provide cross-institutional credit after a trimester in Australia,” Dr Pierce said.
“Students can go off to Johannesburg or Bangkok, and do the whirlwind tour of South East Asia, Africa and other continents and do their MBA in a very worldly fashion.”
However, Torrens University and many others within the business sphere believe the idea that networking and contacts, more than anything, play a vital role.
Dr Pierce believes universities are not vital for content, but are necessary for like-minded individuals to come together and create networks. He suggested that universities play the role of collating and gatekeeping learning.
“The most valuable and enduring part of an MBA is actually the people you meet and the networks you foster,” he said.
“Those are the things that are life-long.”
“Some of the material you learn may become outdated, but what will never be outdated are those networks and the ability to think critically and contribute to society at a higher level.”