Center for Sports & Management

Top Athletes Start Their MBA Program

As part of the joint study support funded by the “Springboard Future” [“Sprungbrett Zukunft”] initiative of the German Sports Aid Foundation [“Deutsche Sporthilfe"], the 5th generation of top athletes has enrolled in degree programs at the Düsseldorf Campus of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.

With Christian Hochbruck, 2012 world champion in Plovdiv and multiple U23 world champion in rowing; and Ilja Immermann, member of the German national water polo team for several years as well as German champion and cup winner in the men’s and youth fields, two more former world-class athletes have begun the two-year course of study in the Part-Time MBA Program at WHU in Düsseldorf. Each year since 2014, two outstanding current or former athletes have been awarded a full scholarship to the Part-Time MBA Program at WHU. To continue to offer this unique opportunity for top athletes, the German Sports Aid Foundation and WHU are cooperating for at least another two years. WHU and the Values Foundation [“Werte-Stiftung”] share equally the financing of the two scholarships.

“As a top athlete, alongside sports, I had to devote the same kind of preparation to my future career. WHU’s Part-Time MBA Program offers the ideal opportunity to reconcile career and studies. I am proud of the opportunity to be part of this program and will bring the ambition and the discipline of a top athlete to the tasks that lie ahead,” said Christian Hochbruck with conviction as he began the program.

To which Ilja Immermann added: “Sports have had a very positive effect on my personal qualities, such as performance orientation and leadership. Now, the Part-Time MBA Program at WHU will provide me with a professional and unique way to integrate the qualities I have acquired in sports in the career world.”

“We are really delighted to welcome the fifth cohort of top athletes to WHU’s Part-Time MBA. We assume that our new scholarship holders will enrich our MBA class in much the same way as their predecessors, because it is always impressive to see what young professionals and top athletes can learn from one another,” said Professor Sascha L. Schmidt, Director of the Center for Sports and Management at WHU.

Kathrin Boron-Kölm is a four-time Olympic champion in rowing who spent more than 20 years as one of the best competitive athletes in the world in her discipline and is now in charge of the partnership as a representative of the German Sports Aid Foundation. As she knows from personal experience: “For former athletes, the Part-Time MBA at WHU is an ideal tool for future positions of leadership in the economy. Professional athletes go about their careers with the same kind of determination and motivation they brought to their sport.”