International Centre for
Sports Studies

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2000 Neuchâtel
Tel +41 32 718 39 00


Mon. 08 March 2021


Sara Panizo

Current Position: Manager, Member Associations Americas Subdivision at FIFA

Year of graduation: 2017

Nationality: Spanish

What does your current role involve?

I joined FIFA’s Member Associations Division in October 2017, some months after graduating from the FIFA Master. Before joining FIFA, I had worked in various sports roles in different companies, mainly involving communications, public relations, media, press operations and sponsorship. My previous experiences had provided me with a big range of skills when dealing with various projects and stakeholders, working with different countries and coordinating with several subsidiaries.

After the FIFA Master, I joined FIFA as a Project Coordinator for the Member Associations Americas Subdivision, which manages the FIFA Forward Programme - our football development programme for the 211 Member Associations (Mas) affiliated to FIFA. Our department manages the programme for all the Americas region (from the USA to Chile) working closely with our FIFA Regional Offices in the area, and many other various tasks depending on the needs of the organisation. Since February 2020, I am a Development Manager for this Subdivision, focused in North, Central America and the Spanish speaking Caribbean.

Which aspects of the FIFA Master course have helped you most in your career?

Regarding the academic part of the programme, having a holistic view on how the industry works from the cultural, business and legal perspective is a privilege in terms of knowledge that can hardly be acquired elsewhere than at the FIFA Master. It is useful not only when looking for a job after graduation, but also to decide where to focus on: the sports industry provides so many opportunities, so understanding how it operates can serve as a guide in a very valuable way.

On the other hand, sharing a full year with people from different nationalities and backgrounds is another big asset of the course. The sports industry is diverse, and so are international organisations. Such experience is helpful not only when navigating multicultural situations, but also as personal growth.

What advice would you give to future students on the course?

Make the most out of it: it will go extremely fast; whenever you notice, it will already be your graduation day.

Pay attention to all the different lectures, from those talking about history to the finance classes to the densest legal cases: all the information you are receiving will be useful in your future career. Don't forget about everything you will learn from your classmates, be open-minded and be willing to discuss and change your opinions.

Don’t forget the FIFA Master alumni network: get involved as much as you can, it is unique in so many ways and a big asset of this course. It will give you the opportunity, during and after the course, to be surrounded by amazing professionals, who already play an important role in the industry.

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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