Elite Sport Scholarship at EADA
EADA has launched a package of Elite Sport Scholarships for elite athletes who are currently active as well as those at the end of their sports careers, to help them prepare for their transition into the business world. All participants accepted into this scholarship programme will benefit from a 25% discount for any of the programmes available at EADA. They will also have access to a personalised training advisory service to jointly design a training plan that will enable them to achieve their goals during this new stage of their careers.
This addition to the scholarship programme is one of many offered by the EADA Fundraising Department to vulnerable groups – the unemployed, women with low economic resources from Africa and India – as well as other collectives, such as female entrepreneurs from the culture sector or professionals from other sectors who need to upskill, improve their competences or leadership skills to face new challenges in their company or workplace.
The Elite Sport Scholarship programme at EADA has been created to meet the needs of elite athletes who need to refocus their post-competition careers. Many of those who have studied at EADA chose the Master in Transformational Leadership, in partnership with the Centro de Alto Rendimiento (CAR). Based in Sant Cugat (Barcelona), top athletes train at the centre every day for World Championships and the Olympic Games. This link between EADA and the world of sport includes top athletes who have completed an executive or international master’s programme or postgraduate courses. The business school is also an international benchmark for its number of signed collaboration agreements with sports entities and federations in Catalonia.
6 success stories
To launch this new scholarship package, EADA has chosen 6 former EADA participants from different programmes and academic years, to act as ‘ambassadors’ for these scholarships.
Kasper Laumann, from Denmark, graduated from the International MBA at EADA in 2020. He is an elite athlete who has participated in various world and European championships, classifying in the Top 10 of the World Duathlon Ranking. He has always combined studying with competitive sport. In his opinion, “being an elite athlete means knowing how to manage your own expectations, knowing how to tackle complex situations and challenging yourself on a daily basis”, adding that, “running is a mental challenge that forces you to focus on what you are doing at that exact moment. In this respect, there are certain parallels between athletics and studying an MBA, because in both cases you need to focus, not only on the results that you can achieve but also the process and the evolution you go through to continuously improve, achieve personal and professional growth and increase your efficiency”. He attributes his sporting and business success to passion. “Without it, I’d never have achieved what I’ve done.” Kasper is currently an Executive Office Manager for Tryg where he continues to forge his professional career in consulting, which is his other great passion. During the International MBA programme, he was President of the EADA Consulting Club, an unforgettable experience that drove his decision to progress further in this area.
Gemma Mengual is an ex-Olympic swimmer and winner of 36 medals in various World Championships and Olympic Games. She graduated in 2021 from the Master in Transformational Leadership, deciding to study on this programme in order to refocus her professional career and discover new professional challenges. “At the end my competitive career of training between 8 and 12 hours every day, I wanted new challenges that would force me to improve my leadership capacity, especially those relating to team skills. So I started a process of self-discovery to find out my strengths and weaknesses”. She says that, “when I was competing I was a team leader but I wasn’t aware of it”. The Master´s programme at EADA helped Gemma to improve her communicative skills and increase her influence in team environments, deal with complex decisions and know how to distance herself from external issues. She first entered the business world when she opened Japanese restaurant Sugoi in Sant Cugat (Barcelona) with her brother-in-law Saulo, which arose from their shared passion for Japanese cuisine. After finishing the programme, Gemma launched Cannabity Healthcare, which sells CBD products specifically for athletes. She has become the first sportsperson in Spain to invest in the CBD market. According to Gemma, “this new business venture would not have been possible if I hadn’t studied the Master’s programme at EADA”,
Ibone Lallana is a world Taekwondo medalist, with various titles under her belt such as World Cup Champion 1998 and 7-time national Spanish champion. Ibone followed in Mengual’s footsteps by studying the Master in Transformational Leadership from which she graduated in 2021. In contrast to Gemma, Ibone had already redirected her career before starting the Master’s programme in her role as Director of Marketing and Communication at the Barcelona Olympic Foundation, a position she has held since 2009. She explains that, “bringing sporting values to the area of communication was one of her main objectives during her professional reorientation”. The main reason behind her decision to enrol in the Master’s programme was to improve her leadership skills in her current position. She describes how, “during the 10 modules of the programme, I learned how to unlearn different types of behaviour and discover new competences. I also experienced a process of self-discovery and personal transformation that prepared me for all types of personal and professional challenges”. Ibone also reflects upon her return to the Centro de Alto Rendimiento (CAR) but this time as a student. “Going back to CAR reminded me of the importance of maintaining a good level of physical fitness, good eating habits and knowing how to interact with others, not only in elite sports but also in business, regardless of your role”.
Chuso García Bragado is the athlete who has competed in the most Olympic Games in the world (8 Olympic Games from Barcelona 1992 to Tokyo 2020). Chuso started the Master in Transformational Leadership in 2022 as a new challenge to acquire the competences he needed to retrain as a sports podologist and an athletics coach for disadvantaged young people. While studying at EADA, Chuso joined Podoactiva, a leader in the design and 3D printing of customised insoles, another example of how technology is increasingly being used in sport. “It all started at CAR in Sant Cugat when they invited me to share my experiences of elite competition as part of the module for the participants on the Master’s programme. On many occasions, I learned a lot from the experience of other experts and in the debates with the participants. When they offered me the opportunity to study on the Master’s programme, I didn’t hesitate and accepted immediately.
Joshua Jové is a weightlifter and winner of various medals in Spanish Weightlifting Championships. He has just graduated from the Executive MBA at EADA, a programme he decided to study for his new role as Delegate at Nationale Nederlanden in Sant Cugat. “I had already gone through the transition process into the business world, but this Master’s programme has made me reflect on concepts from my life in elite competition that can be applied to business, such as teamwork or the definition of short-term goals to achieve long-term objectives”, adding that, “when you leave your comfort zone you realize how much you still need to learn.” Joshua explains that for him and many other elite athletes like him, there are some main challenges when making the transition from elite competition to the business world: “You have to start over again, giving your very best so you can start to grow. It is important to maintain your humility as you begin to forge a new path but this time in a different environment. Another challenge is your focus. When you compete, the objective is very clear and everything you do has meaning because of your goal. When you stop competing, you need a new dream, a new challenge to aim for and this is where the importance lies of focusing on what you are really passionate about”. After completing his studies at EADA, Joshua plans to set up his own business, possibly with some of the classmates he worked with on his final Master’s project.
Dani López Piñedo was goalkeeper for the Spanish water polo team for 15 years and at Club Natació Barceloneta, winning various podium positions in World and European competitions. Retiring from competitive life in 2022, he decided to study the Postgraduate course in Human Resources at EADA, to improve his knowledge and competences for his current role as head of HR at Club Natació Barceloneta. He explains that, “retired athletes need to explain to younger athletes that they must think about life beyond their sport; there are many training plans which will give them a career out of the swimming pool”.