American University in the Emirates will launch a Master's degree in sports management.

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DUBAI // The country’s first Master’s degree in sports management will become available this autumn, reflecting the growing demand for locally trained professionals in the field.

For this term, the federal Higher Colleges of Technology launched a Bachelor’s degree in sports management, run in association with Automobile Touring Club UAE.

Now, the American University in the Emirates (AUE) is working with the sports councils of Abu Dhabi and Dubai as it prepares to launch its specialised Master’s degree.

“What they will learn is everything they need to know to manage international sporting events, national and private teams, start new ventures and skills such as marketing and sponsorship,” said Dr Christopher Mangham, director of MBAs at AUE.

“With Doha getting the World Cup and the growth of international events in the UAE from the horse racing to the Formula 1, people are crying out for competent managers. In any given term, I can send 20 MBA graduates into the work force but they don’t have the sports focus.”

While the college of business administration will run the course, the sporting expertise will come from Dr Min Soo Kim, who earned his PhD at Florida State University in sports management and has worked for the Korean National Olympic Committee.

Much interest for the course has come from those already in the industry.

A key component of the course will be a 360-hour internship.

“Because of the partnerships we are working with, we will guarantee to place anyone who needs help getting internships,” Dr Mangham said. “Those already in sports-related companies will stay within their own organisations.”

He said having those in the industry among the cohorts of students will add value to the knowledge shared in class.

“There is so much going on here, from the tennis in Dubai to the rugby sevens and the Race to Dubai golf, so there are lots of organisations for us to work with and we need to create the educated graduates to be able to go to the private and public sector,” Dr Kim said. “It’s particularly important for the students to have the connections and support.”

The majority of the private university’s students are Emirati, and Dr Mangham said the college was proud to be “able to create the first cadre of sports leadership”.