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We will create an ecosystem that aims to develop future leaders of our industry- Neel Shah

Written by: Punit Tripathi

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Besides expanding on the ethos of the project the experienced professional also elaborated on some of the finer details of the program.

He's done it all. From growing the football fan-base in the United States via Major League Soccer to supporting the professional development of the Indian football landscape via Libero Sports and DSK Shivajians, Neel Shah definitely has the experience of being a part of path-breaking ventures within the global sports industry.  

In a new endeavour, Shah is now part of a team of industry leaders that has established the Global Institute of Sports Business (GISB). The GISB has been created for anyone who aspires to build a fulfilling sports management career.

The institute offers a holistic educational experience that includes world-class curriculum, relevant industry engagement, faculty with extensive industry experience and career mentorship from the start. It has been built to ensure that students no longer have to leave India to get quality sports management education and to ultimately serve the growth of the sports business in Asia.

Established by India On Track, the program delivers a unique blend of classroom learning and real-world training. Shah got into a one-on-one conversation with Khel Now and opened up about the project in detail.

Talking about the aim of the project Shah said, "Through the Institute’s experienced faculty, case studies, guest lecture sessions, industry visits, live projects, internships and international study trip, all GISB-ISDE Certificate in Sports Management students will complete the 15-month program with a deep understanding of how the (Sports) industry functions."

How will a GISB graduate differ from any other sports management graduate in India? We wanted to get into the waters.

Shah, in a straightforward way, added, "Every GISB graduate will have strong verbal and written communication skills, which is essential when looking to build a career within the sports industry. This is in addition to all of the other soft and hard skills students will develop through our intensive Foundation course curriculum, which includes awareness & self-development, decision-making, organizational behaviour & culture and  Microsoft Office proficiency."

Shah believes that the GISB will not only help students develop a knowledge base of the many different aspects of the sports ecosystem, it will also train students to know how to apply this knowledge in any situation which is one of the abilities that differentiates sports industry leaders from the rest of the pack.



Having a wide range of eminent lecturers who've been part of the industry for a number of years was something that Shah focused on when creating GISB. "For any education institute to be impactful, it is essential that its faculty has industry experience and, more importantly, is committed to supporting students to reaching their full potential," he asserted.

The academic further added, "The individuals who have joined our faculty have not only worked in the sports industry for many years, but many have actually acted as pioneers in developing various aspects of the ecosystem."

Talking about the faculty that includes FIFA U-17 World Cup Project Director Joy Bhattacharjya and Delhi Daredevils CEO, Hemant Dua, Shah reiterated, "These are all good people who will be able to share their knowledge, wisdom, insights and anecdotes with the students while, at the same time, transmitting some of the soft skills that have supported their professional success and growth."   

Throwing little light on his own grooming, Shah shared his story. "I studied sports business as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Barbara and as an MBA student at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. I then worked in the US and Indian sports industries for the past 16 years. I've also served as a visiting faculty for a few sports management programs all around the world. It helped my understanding which has been validated by some of the biggest influencers within our industry."

It's an extensive program, Khel Now understands. Elaborating on its nature and scope Shah said, "The course will include over 700 contact hours. It is a full-time program and classes will take place Monday through Thursday, with Fridays and select Saturdays designated as industry engagement days.

In addition to ongoing face-to-face interaction with faculty, there will be a number of opportunities for students to interact with global industry leaders via video conferencing and online chats. We also have a strong career mentorship team that will lead individual and group sessions with the students as they look to prepare to enter the sports industry," said Shah.


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We moved on to the modules, that are key to any successful program and are a major tool in defining the careers of the aspirants.

Talking about “Awareness & Self – Development” and “Leadership," Shah opined, "While knowledge, intelligence, hard-work and experience all matter, the reality is that sports is a ‘people’ industry. This means that it is important to have the ability to connect with others both internally and externally in order to be effective within this landscape."

The second module talks about “Communication Skills” and “Organizational Behaviour & Culture”. Shah mentioned, "We must constantly work with others in order to achieve a common goal. This is easier said than done, especially when our teams are typically made up of people with different backgrounds and experience levels. The most successful people who I have come across in the industry in both the East and West, have had exemplary team-building and leadership skills."

On the module “Broadcast, Media & Communication," Shah said, "Broadcast, Media & Communication will be a 48-hour course broken up into three modules. Within this course, students will have the opportunity to learn about broadcast and media rights deals, the digital media platform, Public Relations and even get a crash course around sports broadcast production from one of the pioneers in the industry."

"The Indian sports industry is growing at a rapid pace and is set to be a $10b industry by 2025, research suggests. Most of the world’s biggest sports brands have either set up businesses in India or are currently working on their India-market strategies. While aspiring to work abroad is something that our students can always consider, there is a tremendous opportunity for sports management professionals to remain in India and make a profound difference to the growth of the industry right here at home." added Shah.

He is heavily motivated and looks determined to create a new working environment in the Indian sports industry. "I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to create an ecosystem that will support each GISB student to reach their full potential as future leaders of our industry," Shah signed off.

Published: Sat Aug 18, 2018 09:01 PM IST

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