Pep Talk from the Grand Master of Football Management

Pep 4Visiting Pep Guardiola at City’s top-secret training complex, the students were afforded nearly two hours to grill Pep about his journey from footballer to managing the most iconic sportsmen in the world. He explained that he learnt that you must not always follow the crowd but sometimes trust your gut instinct. A surprising confession from a man who is meticulous about every detail and facet of his team.

Pep also believes that you have to trust the people who work for you, alongside you and those who employ you; if trust diminishes then the manager must take action and remove any ‘snakes’ so that a positive working environment is constantly achieved.

The Masters students, studying towards a MSc in Sports Directorship, stated that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit a global sports brand, experience a futuristic training complex and seek advice from a football manager at the peak of his powers. The programme aims to educate the students on how global sports organisations operate and how vital the role of a sporting director is ensuring there is continuity and a clear structure of operations within the organisation. Dr Jonathan Lord, Senior Lecturer, commented “This was an amazing experience, Pep was down to earth, answered all questions and provided some invaluable advice for the students. Improving the student experience is a key aim for any academic and this real-world experience has enabled students to gain a tangible insight into how a top leader operates in a very demanding industry. The students will be talking about meeting Pep for decades to come and it will hopefully increase their employment prospects through providing confidence in their own abilities.”

Tony Faulkner, Managing Director of VSI Executive Education, who arranged the visit, stated Our goal is to develop tomorrow’s leaders in sport through our executive education programmes. VSI create a real-world learning environment that focusses on knowledge vs application. Throughout the programme we expose the delegates to experiences that are not readily available. Having the opportunity to have a personal debate with Pep Guardiola, one of the greatest managers across sport, is credit to the delegates on the programme. Pep was humble, passionate, full of energy and had an interest in the delegates’ experiences – a hugely inspirational afternoon”.

For a long time, Manchester was renowned for having one successful football team. The emergence of City winning major trophies in an attacking and entertaining style is lesson for everyone that no organisation can stand still and not continually develop as well as innovate. The students will take this as a key lesson from an amazing, unique experience.

For more information on the VSI MSc in Sports Directorship contact and follow VSI on @MasterSportDir