International Centre for
Sports Studies

Avenue DuPeyrou 1
2000 Neuchâtel
Tel +41 32 718 39 00


Wed. 13 January 2021

As one module ends, a new adventure begins for the FIFA Master 21st edition class

Greetings from Milan! Or should I say, saluti da Milano! The SDA Bocconi module on Sports Management officially began on Thursday, January 7th. Before we move all our focus to finance, strategic planning, marketing, (and pizza, panettone, and risotto!), let’s take a moment to recap the final events of the De Montfort module and reflect on our time in Leicester.

Our studies at De Montfort University (DMU) in the month of December were primarily focused on two topics: the communications module and our Final Projects. The communications module lasted two weeks and was led by Tim Payton, a senior communications executive, who leveraged his extensive experience consulting some of England’s top sporting organisations to teach the class the in’s and out’s of communications in the sports industry. The module’s lectures spanned everything from public affairs and crisis communications to corporate communications campaigns and managing a social media presence. Many of the lectures were taught by guest speakers, who balanced their lectures with equal parts core principles and real-life examples to bring the theory to life.

The real-life examples weren’t limited just to the speakers, as we had a great opportunity to put theory into practice and get behind the camera! One afternoon we went to the university’s television studio facility and did practice interviews. The television studio was set up just like a talk show set with sofa chairs for the interviewer and the interviewee and multiple cameras with specialist technicians to catch every angle. Staying true to form, our friends and fellow students were not only confident and comfortable in front of the camera, but they were extremely creative. Our fake interviews spanned the gauntlet from inspirational sporting stories to hilarious class inside jokes. It’s always so interesting to see how everyone in the class tackles the same assignment. With 25 students from a range of backgrounds (professional, nationality, or otherwise), there are always 25 creative and unique approaches to every assignment.

The other main focus during the month of December was working on our Final Projects. Each group works throughout the year on their thesis, eventually presenting this important project in July. Since the beginning of the programme each group has been brainstorming potential topics to research. On December 16th, each group presented the abstract for their proposed Final Project in front of the entire Scientific Committee. Thus, after weeks of brainstorming and discussing various potential topics, each group had to refine their topic until they had a concise and novel research question. With so many interesting and nuanced sides to the sports industry, fine-tuning our ideas into one focused topic was easier said than done. In the end each group presented their abstracts and received positive, constructive feedback from the Scientific Committee and fellow colleagues alike. It will be a pleasure to see how each topic morphs and each group progresses on our journey to the Final Project presentations in July!

Once we all presented our abstracts to the Scientific Committee, the DMU module came to a close, as did our time in Leicester. Many students headed home for the holidays and others chose to spend the two and a half week break in England. The end of the module was a surreal, bittersweet moment. While, the pandemic limited our ability to see Leicester in all its liveliness, we still found our favourite coffee shops and fish’n’chips restaurants, explored the city by foot enjoying highlights such as the quaint New Walk or Abbey Park, and spent countless evenings wandering the city centre which was all lit up in Christmas lights. However, living in Leicester will never be complete without watching Leicester City FC play! So, we will have to return one day to watch the Leicester City Foxes play at the King Power Stadium!

Even though we had only met three short months ago, we had all grown remarkably close. From in-person classes to virtual lectures, essays and exams, birthdays and movie nights, 5-a-side football matches to intense games of FIFA, weekend adventures and group dinners, to the uncertainty of covid and national lockdowns, we have gone through all these new experiences together. It’s so humbling to be surrounded by strong, smart, kind, funny, and ambitious people. I have no doubt that we will continue to support each other and grow closer as a class during our time in Milano and Neuchatel.

Finally, a reflection on our time at DMU would not be complete without a huge thank you to our Professors Pierre Lanfranchi and Martin Polley and our academic coordinator James Panter! Despite all the restrictions of covid, they did a fantastic job not only teaching us during lectures but providing us with Final Project guidance, general academic support, and most importantly, advice on where to get the best burger in town! On behalf of the entire class, Pierre, Martin, and James thank you for everything you have done and will continue to do in supporting us on our FIFA Master's journey!

Heather O'Keeffe and Idy Watt - Leicester 2020-21 Class Reps


FIFA Master - International Master in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, ranked No.1 Course in Europe 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 by the SportBusiness International global rankings.

Organised by CIES in partnership with De Montfort University (United Kingdom), SDA Bocconi School of Management (Italy) and the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland).

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