GIS Inter Miami cohort for the MSc Sports Directorship enjoyed their third in-person event of the year earlier this week, with exclusive access to a range of guest speaker sessions and networking opportunities. The event was one of four modules studied on the elite executive programme, which is designed to equip delegates with the skills to deliver the long-term success of sports organisations.

Nick Halafihi, Lecturer on the programme, summarised the day at DRV PNK Stadium

The week provided a very inspirational delivery mechanism in terms of content provision, assessment and guest speakers. Several students informed me that the week provided them with the best speakers so far and their engagement in these sessions as well as throughout the week was impeccable. The learning was extended far beyond the planned guest speaker sessions to include a series of activities and knowledge sharing that was led by the students via their questions and review of the material.

This led to a contact asking me to share his email with the students and all the students managed to design and develop from scratch a genuine recruitment model for use in their clubs and businesses with some delegates now looking for Mark to visit their clubs in the US. To have a live session from a co-founder of a Silicon valley IT company with a profile across the globe within the football industry as well as a current FA Executive at the forefront of his area-recruitment and talent ID, really did make the sessions highly informative and relevant.

We also put the students out of their comfort zone in Mark Cartwright’s session. Each student had to ‘argue’ in a live case-study role play. They presented their arguments and articulated their reasons and rationales on both sides of the scenario. A youth player contract involving the Head of Recruitment, The Manager and CEO and a Player Management scenario involving a players reduced form and perceived loss in value; this involved a Sporting Director, manager and CEO. Even though the students had to work really hard and were not in their comfort zones, they thoroughly enjoyed the session and it led to them advancing their key negotiating skills further.

The teaching content included a very heavy theoretical perspective on entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, which was balanced out with vocational examples around the assessment. Live case-studies included a focus on US sports and ‘big data’ and all presentations have been uploaded to the VLE for ease of access and continued reading. Most days, I deliberately provided additional content to extend the student learning and act as a further learning resource throughout the module. The F2F learning may have finished but the learning continues. The examples of previously assessed but anonymised work was very well received.

We spent a lot of time working on the students’ understanding of the assessment, while I was in the room, this allowed everyone to be comfortable about their own specific and unique nuances of their submissions. Each student worked all week on a draft submission outline and I held tutorials with them all to ensure their individual ideas were workable. Given the distance involved, this was also well received and you could have heard a ‘pin drop’ in the writing session such was the concentration.

The learning environment is outstanding and Cat and her team provided outstanding professional support throughout the week. I tried to keep extending the learning and we often spoke about the way GIS adds value to their learning experiences e.g. the way the students shared privileged information around the room with examples and extended points of view, the way students could articulate arguments to change the mind-sets of others, the wonderful visit to a live Inter-Miami game which was the real highlight for most students, the access to the training ground by one of the students (Darren) and the way students can reap the rewards of outstanding speakers for their own personal and professional development and network.

I have been delivering Master’s lectures and seminars for over 20 years but this week, with this group, has by far been my most enjoyable and most productive-such is the high calibre in the room.

Catherine Garrido, GIS Regional Director for the USA, added: “With employment in the entertainment and sports industry predicting record growth over the next 10 years, I feel extremely proud that we at GIS are educating the current and future leaders of the industry.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of the journey of our students, and a blessing to hear discussions about impactful leadership, innovation and technological advances that will help them succeed.”

Find out more about GIS’ MSc Sports Directorship programme.