From jerseys and suits, to board rooms and pitches, it seems sport and business share nothing in common. However, Belgian football star and MBA graduate Vincent Kompany is determined to bring these worlds together in order to make them stronger.
In the midst of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Association of MBAs (AMBAs) released an interview with Kompany, in which he revealed his time as the Captain of the Belgium football team taught him valuable skills like organisation, teamwork, leadership and resilience.
During his studies at Alliance Manchester Business School in the pursuit of an MBA, which he obtained in 2017, Kompany realised his on-field skills like leadership and resilience were of great use in business. It did not take him long to realise that the sporting industry, and football in particular, could similarly benefit from fundamental business ideals.
“It is easy to pretend that football is just entertainment,” he told AMBAs.
“But it is so much more than that.
“Although I want to continue to play football for as long as possible, I may look to use this combination of academic learning and years of playing experience in the future.”
Kompany has already put his combined experience to use by writing a dissertation which approached sport with a business eye, and how such a perspective could help boost engagement and profits for Premier League football clubs.
According to AMBAs, Kompany began his dissertation by interviewing 25 top-level international footballers and his results led to the conclusion that clubs “could benefit from home advantage by cutting ticket prices”.
“Fewer empty seats lead to a better TV product but also better atmosphere which, in turn, affects testosterone levels and territorial behaviour in players, therefore increasing home advantage. There’s financial value in every added league point too,” Kompany wrote.
Alliance Manchester Business School MBA Programmes Director Xavier Duran agreed with his former student, telling the AMBAs that an MBA’s lessons in management give students skills that are transferable to any industry.
“Sport needs a professional management approach,” he said.
“The MBA helps people … so they can keep climbing in their organisation and will also allow them to step away from their comfort zones and be more innovative in solving problems.
“We are seeing more and more money being invested in professional sport through sponsorship, ticket prices and TV rights, so sports teams and organisational bodies are increasingly being managed like any other business.”