At the beginning of April, UCAM MBA Sports Management programs from Murcia and Madrid travelled together to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for an educational trip of a lifetime to visit world-class facilities that included Master classes at the Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit, La Liga MENA, Dubai Sports City and the International Cricket Council.
To start the trip, students had some leisure time and were able to go on a desert safari through the outskirts of Dubai. Travelling through the sands in 4-Runners, taking pictures with camels, and eating dinner with a belly dancing show was just some of the fun activities throughout the trip.
The first educational visit was the following morning to Ferrari World on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, where students attended a Master class from Steven Fulton, Rides & Attractions Manager. He spoke of Ferrari World’s marketing objectives as a theme park, the impact of Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi and surrounding areas, and some of the major events hosted at the Ferrari World year-round to bring in new and repeat consumers. Students had the unique opportunity to learn and put into perspective the business of operations at the first ever Ferrari-branded theme park, which also happens to have the fastest rollercoaster in the world as an attraction.
Further into the week, the class visited the world’s largest multipurpose sports facility in the world, Hamdan Sports Complex with a tour from Assistant Manager, Tan Yen Chong. Sports such as badminton, basketball, karate, swimming, tennis, volleyball and water polo, can all be accommodated within the complex. Hamdan Sports Complex is known mainly for hosting some of the world’s most renowned international aquatic events, including 2010 FINA World Swimming Championships. Outside of aquatic sports, the olympic-sized pools can be covered and transformed to host other major sporting events such as the final games of the 2014 FIBA Under-17 World Championship and the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Men's U23 World Championship. UCAM students were able to tour the facilities, check out the press room, media rooms and get an overall feel for day-to-day operations of the sports complex.
Later in the day, students visited Dubai Sports City, which included viewing the International Cricket Council and its facilities along with the Spanish Soccer School where UCAM MBA Sports Management alumni, Jordan Kotsopoulos was able to sit down and chat with the group about his experience and insight in interning and now working in the sports management sector.
To round out the educational visits, La Liga MENA (Middle East & North Africa) offered a master class in The Sevens Stadium facilities (home of the Emirates Airline Rugby Sevens team) where Head of Development, Jose Maria Arrabal and La Liga coach, Rafael Gil spoke of La Liga expansion and training development plans in the MENA region. Afterwards, students headed to Abu Dhabi one last time to check out the Yas Marina Circuit, the home of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix motor race. As an added value, the circuit is open to the public during the week for various fitness activities including, biking, running and group fitness. Our students were able to take a few laps around the Formula 1 track on bicycle. The following morning, students took their last visit to the Dubai Creek Golf Club to get a tour of the facilities and learn about the overall management of a world-class golf course. Facilities including seeing the course, gym, simulator room, pro shop, academy and new tank for cryotherapy which is a new technology used for athlete recovery. One of our golf-avid students, Samu Rasila shared his experience, “The golf course itself was amazing and one of the nicest golf sites I have been to. I was selected to demonstrate a shot in the golf simulator and it was a lot fun. The course itself was well maintain, and clearly a very organized and well run club.”
In between Master classes, the MBA Sports Management class had the pleasure of visiting fun local attractions including the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, the world’s largest mall, Dubai Mall, and Skydive Dubai in Jumeirah Beach, for a thrilling experience in the world’s largest and tallest wind tunnel.
Some of our students shared their favorite parts of the trip with us:
“I enjoyed the Yas Marina Circuit because we learned about the marketing strategy used to advertise the race in Abu Dhabi. They not only advertise the circuit as part of Formula 1, but also as a multipurpose track open 365 days a year to bicyclists and runners. They spoke of their objective to bring in more tourism to the city of Abu Dhabi and how it would be achieved. I had a wonderful time personally riding a bike around the circuit after the master class.” - Jaike Jaison
“The most impressionable experience for me was the Dubai Sports City Complex. The way it was structured with the football pitches on the outside and the pitches indoor were surrounded inside with a bar, TV’s, and open windows in order to watch the games from anywhere. The most valuable lesson I learned from all the masterclasses combined would be the overarching theme to make the most of your experiences and to network as much as possible. This includes putting yourself out there to classmates, professors, lecturers, and alumni, and to continue to work hard for what you want.” - Sarah Folio