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Center for Sports and Management

Welcome to the future of sports.

Our team

The Center for Sports and Management –
Meet the team.

Professor Dr. Sascha L. Schmidt
Director and Chairholder

+49 (0)211 44709 740
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Find out more about Sascha

Asst. Professor Dominik Schreyer
Associate Director CSM

+49 (0)211 44709 743
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Find out more about Dominik

Maria Dahl
Team Assistance

+49 (0)211 44709 741
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Find out more about Maria

Kerstin Forword
Project Manager

+49 (0)211 44709 746
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Find out more about Kerstin

Daniel Beiderbeck
Doctoral Student

+49 (0)211 44709 756
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Find out more about Daniel

Nicolas Frevel
Doctoral Student

+49 211 44709 755
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Find out more about Nicolas

Sebastian Koppers
Doctoral Student

+49 (0)211 44709 744

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Find out more about Sebastian

Harry Krüger
Doctoral Student

+49 (0)211 44709 747
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Find out more about Harry

External Doctoral Students


Several external doctoral students are currently writing their dissertations at the Center for Sports and Management

Find out more about them here

Alumni of Prof. Schmidt


Many of our Almuni find their way into the sports business after their dissertation. 

Find out more about our Alumni

News and stories

Read the news from the CSM –
Keep up with the latest events and activities.

Are you interested in an internship and possibly subsequent in a career with a Bundesliga football club? The internship program is your chance.

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As part of the series "Fußball im Wandel" ("Football in Transition") by Kicker Sportmagazin, Professor Schmidt has written a column in which he addresses the challenges that digital transformation poses for Bundesliga clubs.

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What will sport and football look like in 2030? Professor Schmidt talked about it in an interview with the newspaper Bild.

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Bundesliga club TSG Hoffenheim, DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga, the WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) successfully organized the world's first MIT Sports Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in Germany.

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Interview: Professor Schmidt talks with Deutschlandfunk about an electronic pill to protect athletes from exhaustion.

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WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management welcomes Felix Reuß to the Düsseldorf campus as part of the "Sprungbrett Zukunft" program of Deutsche Sporthilfe.

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The clubs and the DFL want to pursue new sources of revenue outside their home market. Their focus is on the USA where the competition among the various sports and international leagues is particularly cutthroat.

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CSM in the media

Are you in need of an interview partner or expert for sports business topics?

Media outlets of all kinds regularly ask the Center for Sports and Management and Professor Schmidt for their opinion and assessment of certain topics related to the sports business. Also, Professor Schmidt regularly writes guest contributions in national and international quality media. Have a look at our past contributions or get in touch!

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SPOAC - Sports Business Academy by WHU

You want a career
in the sports business?

With the part-time degree and non-degree programs SPOAC offers a range of development opportunities for professionals from the sports business industry: 
From subject-specific three-day "Excellence Programs" to the one-year "General Management Program in Sports Business" to the two-year
WHU Part-Time MBA Sports Business Track.

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SPOAC - Sports Business Academy by WHU

You want a career
in the sports business?

With the part-time degree and non-degree programs SPOAC offers a range of development opportunities for professionals from the sports business industry: 
From subject-specific three-day "Excellence Programs" to the one-year "General Management Program in Sports Business" to the two-year
WHU Part-Time MBA Sports Business Track.

LEARN MORE

Like to know more about SPOAC? –
Watch our video!

Topics

Topics around the future of sports –
What we are working on.

The "future of sports" is a central research topic at the Center for Sports and Management. On the following pages, we're presenting various topics keeping us busy at the moment. 

In China there has been a gold rush atmosphere for some time. The Chinese government is pursuing the ambitious plan to make its country a world power in football by 2050. By 2030, the first World Cup should take place in China, where Football is already the number two sport. The CSM is therefore intensively involved with the Chinese football market, including the launch of a study: "Dancing with the Dragon: The Quest for the Chinese Football Consumer".

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Nothing can stop the digital transformation, not even professional football. The typical professional club, as the germination cell of professional football, will be exposed to a diverse range of changes by the year 2025. The "Home of Professional Football" defines those fields of responsibilities in which clubs should be subdivided in the future.

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What exactly is this trend which has become increasingly popular for the last three years? eSports is the competitive playing of computer games which is followed by spectators via internet or live events around the globe. In 2012, this community of e-sports enthusiasts counted 58 million people. 2014 this number increased to 89 million, while for 2017 145 million, without considering occasional users, are predicted.

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As a leading business school, WHU has attracted numerous companies to campus for recruitment purposes, and our dedicated Career Center manages around 160 company connections. Our career services go beyond recruitment, however, with company presentations and workshops, three recruiting fairs every year, an internal job database, and one-to-one help with CVs or interviews.

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The venue for mega sports-events, such as the Olympic Games, is discussed intensively not only in the media. Within this debate, opportunities and risks for the host country are assessed ambivalently. An analysis of different perspectives is provided by the study "To host or not to host the Olympics - A transnational perspective" conducted by the CAMP BECKENBAUER competence team of the WHU.

Find out more

At WHU, but also in cooperation with the Harvard Business School (HBS), Prof. Sascha L. Schmidt, Head of the Center for Sports and Management (CSM), has published numerous case studies. Among other things, the cases deal with the expansion of FC Bayern Munich to Asia or the engagement of FC Schalke 04 in eSports.

Find out more

Partners

Our partners –
Working together toward a common goal.

Strong partnerships are the basis for all of our activities at the Center for Sports and Management. Learn more about our most important partners:

The Dietmar Hopp Stiftung (Dietmar Hopp Foundation) was founded in 1995 in order to support the implementation of non-profit, charitable projects. The foundation's assets consist mainly of SAP shares contributed by Dietmar Hopp from his private property. Since it was founded, the Dietmar Hopp Stiftung, as one of the largest private foundations in Europe, has distributed some 600 million euros (as of September 2017). The main activities focus on the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, to which Dietmar Hopp feels very connected. Upon application, the foundation may support projects of non-profit-organisations in the fields of youth sports, medicine, social affairs and education, in the Rhine-Neckar region only. In addition, the Dietmar Hopp Stiftung implements its purposes by charitable projects of its own. The so far biggest project encourages under the slogan "alla hopp!" all generations to engage in more physical exercise. This is why the foundation built and donated facilities for exercise to 19 towns and municipalities in the region for a total value of 45 million Euros. The Dietmar Hopp Stiftung is member of the Bundesverband Deutsher Stiftungen e.V. (Association of German Foundations), of the Verein Zukunft Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar e.V. (Association of the Rhine-Neckar region) and of the Sportregion Rhein-Neckar e.V. (Association of the sports region).

Since it was founded in 1967, Deutsche Sporthilfe has been a pioneer in the field of sports promotion and the first institution worldwide to bring together companies and athletes for mutual benefit. Today, this civic initiative is regarded as the most successful independent sports promotion institution in Europe. Sporthilfe provides material, non-material and social support to sportsmen and sportswomen who are preparing, performing or have performed for top sporting performances and who, through their appearance and willingness to perform, stand nationally and internationally as role models for the Federal Republic of Germany and its society beyond sport.

SPONSORs is the leading German-speaking information processor and provider in the sports business. Since its founding in 1996, SPONSORs has been open to all market participants as a service provider and, in addition to providing a unique, comprehensive range of information, also provides the leading platforms on which market participants can interact. The portfolio ranges from media preparation (print, online, TV) to congresses and corporate events.

Doctoral Program

Are you thinking of studying for a doctoral degree?

Are you an academically excellent and highly motivated student interested in pursuing research in sports economics or a related field?

We are delighted to receive applications from inspiring German and foreign candidates seeking to undertake doctoral studies at the Center for Sports and Management.

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Doctoral Program

Are you thinking of studying for a doctoral degree?

Are you an academically excellent and highly motivated student interested in pursuing research in sports economics or a related field?

We are delighted to receive applications from inspiring German and foreign candidates seeking to undertake doctoral studies at the Center for Sports and Management.

LEARN MORE

Research & Teaching

Research and teaching –
Find out more about our scientific work.

At the Center for Sports and Management, we examine the social and economic effects of sports. We argue economically, think beyond disciplines and act out of passion. In research, we want to break new ground and make teaching practice-oriented. In doing so, we orient ourselves to international quality standards. Find out more about our commitment to research and teaching.

Research

We focus on the development of a scientifically based set of methods for empirically recording and evaluating the economic effects and the so-called "return to society" of sport.

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Teaching

We provide our students with the newest research, a sound methodological basis, and the opportunity to apply their skills to tackle the most striking challenges of the sports industry.

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Publications

Our publications –
A selection of scientific articles and cases.

The Center for Sports and Management (CSM) regularly publishes scientific work. If you are interested in one of the publications, please contact us.

Professional football is a globalized game in which players are the most valuable assets for clubs. In this study, we explore the evolution of the football players’ transfer network among 21 European first leagues between the seasons 1996/1997 and 2015/2016. From a topological point of view, we show that this network achieved an upper limit expansion around season 2007/2008, thereafter becoming more connected and dense. Using a machine learning approach based on Self-Organizing Maps and Principal Component Analysis we confirm that European competitions, such as the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League, are indeed a “money game” where the clubs with the highest transfer spending achieve better sportive performance. Some clubs’ transfer market activities also affect domestic performance. We conclude from our findings that the relationship between transfer spending and domestic or international sportive performance might lead to substantial inequality between clubs and leagues, while potentially creating a virtuous (vicious) circle in which these variables reinforce (weaken) each other.

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Public referenda have recently put an end to the ambitions of several cities to host the Olympic Games. The outcome of referenda depends on two major decisions: a content decision whether to support hosting the Olympics and a turnout decision whether or not to cast a vote. Unlike the content decision, the turnout decision has received little attention in sports economics, even though it can distort the outcome of a referendum, lead to a misrepresentation of minorities, and reduce the acceptance of referendum results. We therefore examine the determinants of turnout at Olympic referenda using a population-representative data set from 12 democratic countries. Our findings suggest a nonlinear and robust relationship between individual support and voter turnout.

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In this article, we aim to contribute to the ever-growing economic literature on the determinants of football stadium attendance by exploring the increasingly important yet underresearched phenomenon of spectator no-show behavior. More specifically, we analyze a panel data set containing unique information on no-show behavior observed in the stadiums of 25 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs. Our results suggest that no-show behavior is primarily shaped by explanatory factors related to a football games’ quality aspects (e.g., an appearance by superstars, an away team rich in tradition, and geographical derbies). Interestingly, these effects seem to significantly differ across Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2.

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Season ticket holders (STHs) are an integral part of the sporting product. Interestingly, and contrary to the persistent interest in analysing the determinants of stadium attendances, sports economists have so far largely refrained from exploring the potential determinants of STH loyalty as expressed through regular stadium attendances. In this article, we address this notable shortcoming by exploring the potential determinants of STH stadium attendance demand. In particular, we examine the yet under-researched role of increasing opportunity costs resulting from larger home-stadium distances in STH stadium attendance demand. Our results suggest that STHs’ geographical location plays an important role in predicting STH stadium attendance demand. More specifically, we observe an unexpected, nonlinear distance–attendance relationship, indicating that behaviourally loyal STHs live either exceptionally close or far away from the stadium.

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This article adopts a comprehensive 2-step approach to dissolve recent confusion regarding the role of game outcome uncertainty in the TV demand for international team sports. Analyzing the German TV demand for 457 international football games broadcasted during 6 Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cups and 5 Union des Associations Européennes de Football European Championships and 287 international games played by the Germany national football team, this study reveals that solely the demand for friendly games is affected by increasing uncertainty regarding the expected game outcomes.

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Much of the research on how human capabilities contribute to labour market success focuses on traditional human capital predictors. However, researchers are becoming increasingly aware of the important role of personality traits in determining individual labour market outcomes, both positive and negative. Using data from young professional football players in Germany, this study investigates the relationship between individual personality traits and cognitive abilities on career success. Our results suggest that individuals who score low on the tendency to be principled but high on cognitive processing speed are significantly more likely to enjoy career success through job promotion.

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Public referenda have gained momentum as a democratic tool to legitimize public mega projects such as hosting the Olympic Games. Interest groups in favour of hosting the Olympics therefore try to influence voters through public campaigns that primarily focus on economic benefits. However, recent studies find no or hardly any economic impact of hosting the Olympics, instead providing evidence for a positive social impact. This raises the question whether citizens consider economic or social factors when deciding on hosting the Olympics. Based on representative survey data from 12 countries, our results suggest that economic factors can influence voting behaviour, although the influence of social factors is stronger.

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To explore the attitudes towards risky career choices of young people in highly competitive environments, we surveyed almost 1000 football players in the youth academies of German professional clubs (Bundesliga), who must generally decide early in their careers whether or not to risk quitting school to focus solely on a professional football career. Based on the survey responses, we empirically analysed which factors influence these youths’ tendencies to choose a high-risk career option over a lower risk one. Our results seem to indicate that such risk taking in competitive environments can be explained by potential benefits expected from this decision, as well as judgments about the likelihood of achieving the desired career. Risk attitudes towards career choices vary by differences in individuals’ estimates of the potential benefits and in particular, in their own assessments of the likelihood of success, which is an important driver of risk acceptance. We also found that opportunity cost considerations influence risk acceptance: the better the low-risk option, the less willing the individual to give it up for a high-risk alternative. In addition, both national origin and level of cultural integration play a role in attitudes towards risky career choices, with reductions in the latter increasing the risk premium of quitting school.

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Despite its prominence in the economic literature, our knowledge regarding the role of game outcome uncertainty (GOU) in spectator decision‐making is fairly limited. Even worse, studies testing the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis (UOH) by exploring TV demand for European football have further intensified the original ambiguity. In this paper, we revisit the role of GOU in spectator decision‐making by testing the UOH with regard to two different sporting products: (1) domestic league and (2) knockout tournament games. Analyzing TV demand for almost 1,500 German football games, we find support for the UOH in league, though not in knockout tournament games.

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This study looks at careers in professional soccer to investigate the determinants of human capital (HC) specificity. Inspired by labour market research, we formulate three hypotheses on how uncertainty about the usefulness of individuals’ (more productive) specific skills affects their investment in (more flexible) general skills. The empirical analysis is based on unique panel data on school grades, soccer evaluations, and sociodemographic characteristics of 90 elite players from the youth academy of a German Bundesliga club. We find that senior and long-serving players, who are comparably certain that their (soccer) specific capital will be sufficient to pursue a lucrative professional career, invest less in general HC at school. Expected soccer performance, in contrast, has a counterintuitive positive effect. Our results expand knowledge on the factors influencing HC specificity from the macro to the subject level and highlight practical implications for institutions that train gifted individuals.

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Despite the increasing internationalization of marketing activities by professional sporting clubs, previous research exploring the role of game outcome uncertainty (GOU) in spectator demand has been exclusively conducted within national contexts. As a consequence, very little is known about the preferences of international television (TV) spectators watching games from abroad. Hence, this study analyzes all 571 English Premier League (EPL) games broadcast in Germany between the seasons 2011-2012 and 2015-2016 in order to explore whether TV demand for transnational football games is affected by GOU. In line with the prominent uncertainty of outcome hypothesis, the results of this analysis reveal a significant and positive relation between German EPL demand and GOU. This result, however, is not consistent for male and female spectators.

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In this study we investigate the important but rather ambiguous role of game outcome uncertainty (GOU) in consumers’ demand for professional sports. Specifically, using a unique and strongly balanced panel data set containing information on individual physical attendance from 13,892 season ticket holders (STHs) of a German professional football club, we find evidence for a positive effect of GOU on two differing spectator decisions – both the decision to physically attend a game in the stadium and the decision on what time to enter the stadium, an aspect which has so far been neglected in the literature. Moreover, GOU seems to play an especially important role in the decision-making of one particular group: STHs with comparatively high coordination costs.

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Although identification is critical to organizational survival, knowledge on how identification changes and evolves over time is still limited. Not only can tastes and choices vary across both social context and time, but individuals can change or choose their identity, as well as their ideals, group loyalty and/or social category. Hence, in this letter, we examine the relation between organizational identification and age using five large sports consumer surveys as a snapshot of the age distribution of team identification. Our results provide evidence of robust U-shaped age profiles, with a probable turning point in the 40s.

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The purpose of this paper is to explore the future of professional soccer by 2025. Scientific foresight studies on this industry do not yet exist despite its current position at a crossroads: toward further exploitation of profit potential? Or clear commitment to the traditional European Model of Sport?

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This paper examines the effect of superstars on external stakeholders’ organizational identification through the lens of sport. Drawing on social identity theory and the concept of organizational identification, as well as on role model theories and superstar economics, several hypotheses are developed regarding the influence of soccer stars on their fans’ degree of team identification. Using a proprietary data set that combines archival data on professional German soccer players and clubs with survey data on more than 1,400 soccer fans, this study finds evidence for a positive effect of superstar characteristics and role model perception. Moreover, it is found that players who qualify for the definition of a superstar are more important to fans of established teams than to fans of unsuccessful teams. The player's club tenure, however, seems to have no influence on fans’ team identification. It is further argued that the effect of soccer stars on their fans is comparable to that of executives on external stakeholders, and hence, the results are applied to the business domain. The results of this study contribute to existing research by extending the list of personnel‐related determinants of organizational identification.

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of superstars (and other factors) on football fans’ attraction to competition (i.e. disloyal behavior).

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This article explores the pay‐performance relationship using a sports data set. The strength of analyzing such data is that sports tournaments take place in a very controlled environment that helps to isolate a relative income effect.

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Am Beispiel des Untergangs der Lusitania und der Titanic wird analysiert, ob und in welchem Maße finanzielle und physische Macht sowie soziale Normen über Leben und Tod entscheiden. In einem quasi-natürlichen Experiment werden multivariate Probit-Schätzungen von öffentlich verfügbaren Sekundärdaten der Schiffsuntergänge durchgeführt. Die Analyse kommt zum Ergebnis, dass es im Wesentlichen von der Zeitspanne zwischen der Beschädigung des Schiffes und seinem Untergang abhängt, welche Rolle physische Stärke, gesellschaftlicher Status oder soziale Normen in lebensbedrohenden Situationen spielen. In zeitlich eng begrenzten Extremsituationen verdrängen Angst und Stress wertbezogenes, rationales Handeln. Es kommt zu einem rücksichtslosen Kampf ums eigene Überleben. Bleibt jedoch in Empfinden und Wahrnehmung der Betroffenen ein größerer Zeitraum bis zum endgültigen Versinken des Schiffes, bestimmen in stärkerem Maße soziale und ethische Werte das Verhalten der Menschen.

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In this reply we show that the Nüesch (2009) comment paper to our initial contribution (Torgler and Schmidt 2007) has several shortcomings. He suggests that professional soccer wages seem to buy talent rather than motivation. We therefore provide a larger set of talent proxies and estimations to check whether this assertion is correct. Our results indicate that his conclusion is problematic. We still observe a strong motivational effect, and in some cases the effect is even larger than the talent effect. A further key problem in Nüesch’s contribution is the fact that he neglects to consider the relevance of the relative salary situation.

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Relative Einkommensunterschiede lösen innerhalb einer Referenzgruppe oftmals Neid aus und beeinflussen damit die individuelle Leistungsbereitschaft. In der ökonomischen Forschung ist bislang dieser Zusammenhang wenig untersucht worden. Unser Beitrag analysiert den Einfluss von relativen Einkommensunterschieden auf die Leistung von Fußballprofis der deutschen Bundesliga. Insgesamt werden 1040 Spieler über einen Zeitraum von 8 Spielzeiten zwischen 1995 und 2004 untersucht. Relative Einkommensunterschiede zwischen Mannschaftskollegen erweisen sich als entscheidender Einfluss auf die individuelle Leistung der Spieler. Eine Verschlechterung in der relativen Einkommensposition vermindert ceteris paribus die individuelle Leistungsbereitschaft. Eine höhere Einkommensungleichheit verstärkt solche positionsbedingten Externalitäten.

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The authors analyze the effectiveness of consulting courses in raising the self-efficacy of participants to cope with the kinds of tasks typically faced by entry-level management consultants. Using data from self-evaluation questionnaires completed by 130 students in three types of consulting courses, the authors find that these courses are significantly more effective than a nonconsulting course used for control purposes. Prior research has shown self-efficacy to be positively related to task performance and to other desirable outcome measures. Therefore, academic institutions can make an important contribution to preparing their graduates for their later roles as managers and consultants by raising self-efficacy through course offerings in relevant areas.

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Career

Take the next step in your career!

For many successful athletes - especially outside of professional football - the question of how to secure a long-term livelihood after the end of the career is essentially.

WHU in cooperation with the foundation "Deutsche Sporthilfe" offers scholarships for former athletes in its full-time and part-time MBA program. The "SPOAC - Sports Business Academy by WHU" also offers the opportunity for further professional development, not only to the junior executives of the sports business, but also to former top athletes.

Learn more

Contact

Get in touch with us –
We look forward to hearing from you.

Maria Dahl

Personal Assistant CSM

+49 (0)211 44709 741
maria.dahl(at)whu.edu