More and more elite athletes get an education at our Academy
The number of students taking a special education for athletes has doubled since 2012. Among the students are two Superliga football players Mads Agesen from Randers FC and Kasper Risgård from AaB. With discipline and flexible teachers, they feel that balls and books can be combined.
Elite athletes from across the country come to us to do our especially flexible AP programme in international trade and marketing with a focus on sales. Since the start-up two years ago, the number of students has doubled to 17 athletes and eight others are interested in starting.
Professional football player and a bachelor by 2018
31-year-old Mads Agesen is one of the athletes who is studying and training at the same time. He has played professionally for the last five years for Randers FC. The last two years he has also studied, and for this, the goal is a bachelor degree. This will ensure that Mads has a professional career when he can no longer support himself as a football player.
‘The idea of studying alongside my football career occurred to me several years ago when I felt that I needed more content in my daily life and I had begun to see the end of my football career. It’s nice to be challenged and have some classmates who are in the same situation,’ he says.
Daily life as a professional footballer as well as a part-time student at the Academy means that he is busy. Five days a week he trains, with matches and even more training on the weekends. He also sometimes has mid-week European matches.
‘It requires discipline and planning, and I have to spend quite a bit of free time on it, but the teachers are good at supporting us and always take into account that our sport comes first,’ he says. He recently achieved 10 in his market analysis and marketing exam.
Come from afar
28-year-old Michael Eskesen is a professional ice hockey player for SønderjyskE. He drives all the way from his home in Odense for teaching in Aarhus and then directly on to training in Vojens. His fellow students also come from afar. Distance is apparently not that important if you really want something.
Michael has not decided on a career path yet. Probably a job in purchasing, sales or marketing, but right now he’s a full-time ice hockey player and a part-time student. The flexible and helpful teachers in combination with the opportunities an academy programme in international marketing and sales can offer, have been crucial for him choosing Business Academy Aarhus to do his education.
‘There is total understanding that we might have to push teaching days and exams to play in a match. This has great value to me as a student, as participation in the teaching helps me understand the curriculum. Several of us previously prioritised our sport higher than school and education, this has resulted in varied knowledge, but the teachers on this course are flexible and support us in the best possible way with balancing our professional sports with an education,’ says Michael Eskesen.
Does not collide not with sport
31-year-old Kasper Risgård is a Superliga player for AaB, a new father to two and a good example that balls and books can be combined. In the autumn, he helped his team win the Danish championship and he played in the Cup final. On Thursday, Kasper played a Europa League match in Portugal - his tenth game abroad this season - and today he’s in a classroom at our Ringvej Syd campus in Aarhus writing a market analysis of the game experience and spectator satisfaction at AaB’s matches.
‘As a footballer in Denmark one needs to think about what to do after football. It’s often difficult to figure out what you should do. I have not done anything except play football since I was 20,’ says Kasper. To be accepted into further education he had to take some evening classes. ‘This made me keen to start a higher education at the Academy. Football does not last forever. I am content knowing that I have at least started preparing for future now,’ says Kasper Risgård and praises the Academy for their good service.
‘Because I was busy, I have had a little trouble keeping up with the teaching this autumn. But I’ve caught up now by using Skype with my teacher. Without this flexibility, I probably would not have passed.’
Most athletes have a top-level career that only lasts for 10-15 years. As a 35-year-old, many top footballers have to call it a day and therefore need to consider what they can do off pitch.
Therefore, according to director Rasmus N. Haagensen from 4player, it is gratifying that more and more athletes have started studying. The Player’s Union has an educational project known as Study4player, which has, for the last seven years, provided study advice and helped elite athletes, primarily in football, handball and ice hockey, to start an education.
‘Education is on the agenda in many professional sports teams. The many flexible learning opportunities now available to elite athletes have clearly shown that sport and studies can be combined. I also feel that the country’s economic situation, where jobs do not grow on trees, has made more elite sportsmen think about taking a higher education,’ says Robert N. Haagensen, himself a former elite player in handball.
A sales job is just the ticket
Precisely an educational programme in business and marketing, which focuses on sales, is high on the list of priorities for many of the country’s elite athletes, says Robert N. Haagensen.
‘There are many athletes who would like to work in sales for their second career. They match several requirements for a job in sales. Athletes are used to being compared and evaluated according to their results’, he says, referring to a report from 2008, where sales as an occupational field was favoured for further educational and career choices.