By Joel Downings

This summer UCFB held the inaugural International Management Games academic summer programme at Wembley Stadium. International students from as far as the Philippines were given the chance to put their management skills to the test during this unique one-week programme.

The programme, led by Neil Doncaster, the chief executive of the Scottish Professional Football League, places participants in realistic management situations centred around crisis management, negotiation skills and media handling. These scenarios are based on real problems within sport and provide incredible insight to help students develop their business and leadership skills in a supportive, positive and fun environment, all while simulating the pressure of real world situations.

Alongside this, students were given the opportunity to explore London and the surrounding areas, including a field trip to the picturesque and historic city of Cambridge. These extra-curricular activities gave the group a chance to get to know each other and develop a relationship outside of the classroom. This is especially important when working with a group of international students, many of who had not ve visited the UK before, let alone the iconic Wembley Stadium for a week of engaging and intensive education.

The group gelled over the week, with their new relationships enabling them to work better as a team, as well as build individual confidence and feel comfortable with their peers. The mesh of different nationalities and backgrounds allowed the group to see things from different perspectives and examine cultural differences they may not have been aware of before.

For many of the students in attendance it was a chance to gain a first look at UCFB Wembley with a view to attending in the future. The programme provides unprecedented access to the unique institution and the world-class facilities on offer, as well as the opportunity to work closely with a key figure from the football industry in Neil Doncaster. It isn’t hard to see why this programme would be inspiring, but even for those students who were returning to their homeland, and to work, the knowledge gained across the week was undoubtedly invaluable.

The week culminated with a media skills workshop where the students saw their hard work over the previous days pay off in front of their very eyes! Each student was grilled by Neil under the glare of the spotlight and cameras in UCFB’s state-of-the-art media studio, all while their peers watched on. While high pressured, it was a chance for the students to see just how far they had come and put what they had learnt into practice. Each student was supported by their peers and it was plain to see, despite the high pressure environment, just how much fun the group had together.