Sports MBA Students Pitch Ideas to Bundesliga International Americas

December 2, 2020
SMBA students present their ideas for Bundesliga International GmbH-Americas.

SMBA students present their ideas for Bundesliga International GmbH-Americas.

With its location in the thriving sports hub of southern California, SDSU’s Sports MBA program provides students numerous opportunities to intern, volunteer, and consult with local sports entities. As courses moved online for Fall 2020, program students in the Sports MBA program were presented with a unique industry-centric learning opportunity to participate in a consultancy project with a distinctly international flair.

Eight students, formed into two teams of four, seized the opportunity and spent the entire fall semester collaborating with a Toronto, Canada-based advisor on a marketing project for Bundesliga International GmbH-Americas, based in New York.  The client tasked both teams with an important challenge: develop a strategy to build the brand equity of Germany’s top professional soccer league in the U.S. market. The teams were Mansi Patel, Marcos Hinojosa, Macy Vrabel and Pierre Emmanuel-Caille in one group, and Joseph Márquez, Alina Núñez, Jared Ross and Gian Bajwa in the second.  

Though the students had a full online MBA course load this semester, they met periodically with the advisor and communicated with the client, while working diligently to exceed the client’s expectations. Both teams reviewed and analyzed a substantial amount of research on TV viewership and fandom, with one team going as far as conducting its own primary research.  The end results were sound and actionable recommendations that Bundesliga International Americas lauded for their efficacy.

SMBA Students present their marketing recommendations

SMBA Students share their research findings and recommendations to their client.

Canadian Vijay Setlur, a Marketing Instructor with Schulich School of Business - York University in Toronto, oversaw the project and marvelled at the work of the students. “The students did an outstanding job, organizing quickly and working diligently with a sense of purpose according to a tight timeline,” said Setlur. “Their strong recommendations demonstrated a depth of research and analysis that is very impressive and a testament to the quality of students in the Sports MBA program.”

Both teams went head-to-head in a case competition-style format pitching their ideas in a Microsoft Teams meeting on December 1. While one team will be announced the winner on Dec. 7, league executives Diego A. Pinzon and Eduardo Rivoldi told the students that ideas from both teams’ presentations will be shared with league headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, and other Bundesliga clubs.

SDSU Sports MBA wishes to thank Vijay Setlur as well as Diego A. Pinzón, Head of Content, and Eddie Rivoldi, Head of Marketing and Communications, Bundesliga International GmbH-Americas for collaborating with the students on this unique learning opportunity. Congratulations, also, to the teams of SMBA ‘21 students for their outstanding work.

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