Sports Management, Economics and Finance

In this page you can find information about the field lab of Sports Management, Economics and Finance, available for MSc students at Nova School of Business and Economics. You can access a slide presentation on this topic, here (updated with all fall 2021 projects on 2023/04/28).

What is this field lab all about??

The field lab involves joint work with the Portuguese Football Association and a number of other partners that joined us in creating opportunities for our MSc students to work in solving real world problems, while immersed in an expanding industry for which so many are so passionate about! The end game is to create value: both for our students and the partner organizations.

The work involved should be the basis of the MSc dissertation that is to be defended by the end of the semester. It is important to remember though that the thesis is a means to an end. Nobody in the industry (this or other) will hire you to write dissertations. The fundamental goal is that through the interaction with leading partners in the sports world, you can find a way to create value, leveraged on the knowledge acquired during your undergraduate education and the support of Nova SBE faculty. That experience will be the basis of your dissertation and it is up to you and your supervisor (me or other Nova SBE faculty) to make sure that you are successful in writing and defending it, not the partner organization. In summary:

  • These partnerships are all designed having two purposes in mind: value creation for the partners and suitable projects that our students are passionate about.
  • The format (duration, number of colleagues, on site / remote etc) of the work to be done is entirely dependent on arrangements between the student(s) and the partner.
  • The only prerequisite is, again, that it creates value for the partner organization and that the work being done can be used as a basis for your successful work-project defense.
  • This means that it must involve a degree of critical analysis of the work context and the related literature and is clear about the contribution being made.

Who is this field lab for?

This field lab is available for any student from any MSc program at Nova SBE who would like to partner up with a leading sports institution, be it a sports club, association or corporation operating in the industry. However, it is important to be aware that different programs have different expectations in terms of the structure, methodological approach and format of the dissertation. It is very important that you are well aware of this right from the start to make sure that expectations are aligned. This being said, I see this opportunity being appealing mostly (but not exclusively) to students who want to invest in networking, solve real world problems and look for a career in the sports industry.

Who will be my supervisor? Are there any course pre-requisites?

This is a field lab with a strong emphasis in applied work and focused on building your network within the industry. The topics span pretty much all the topics in management, economics and finance. As such, it is impossible to assure you that any supervisor will be an expert in whatever topic you will choose to work with. Given your interests, I will try to make sure that your supervisor is someone who has a deep understanding of the topic of your choice. However, this is not assured and you should not base your decision upon the idea that this is the most likely scenario. As such, if you are a management student, it is strongly recommended that you will or have taken the Applied Qualitative and/or Applied Quantitative Methods course(s), in preparation. Also, it is very important to note that evaluation criteria differ across areas – management, economics and finance.

With which organizations can I work with?

Right now we have many organizations who have partnered with us. First and foremost, the Portuguese Football Association.It  is the largest national sports organisation and acts, in all its areas of intervention, in the awareness that it represents and serves the millions of portuguese people scattered all around the world. But the list is growing by the day. Some of the institutions we have as partners are the Associação Portuguesa de Direito Desportivo, the sports newspaper Record, 7egend, Addvice Strategy, Soccerex, Sindicato dos Jogadores, iWorkinSport, UEFA, Comité Olímpico de Portugal, Comité Paralímpico de Portugal, Field, the portuguese associations of handball, skating, basketball and volleyball; SL Benfica, SC Braga, Rio Ave FC and Vitoria Sport Clube. Thanks to the entrepreneurial mindset of our students, international partners such as AMF1, Hamburg SV and FC Barcelona have recently joined.

The list of partnering institution grows by the day but these are just the ones we approached already and opened the door to colaboration. If there is an institution that you are particularly fond of or with whom you already have contacts, you are more than welcome to propose that. Some students in the past have been quite entrepreneurial in reaching out to partners that later joined in as official partners. Bear in mind though that there is no way to ensure that you will work with your preferred partner/project or even that there will be a partner available for you to work with. So far, everyone who wanted to work with a partner eventually managed to do so, but it is impossible to ensure that it will be the case always, for everyone.


Do I have to work in groups?

No. We have a number of students who did their work individually and, at the end of the day, the dissertation is also an individual work. This being said. I strongly encourage you to work in groups  since, experience tells me, it provides a much smoother, comprehensive and pleasurable experience. There are very few positions (if any) in the industry where you do not have to be part of a team. This is a great opportunity to start getting in the right mindset. It is good to remember again, that despite the work you will share if working in a group, you have to submit an individual piece of work as your dissertation. Again, focus on creating value with your colleagues and the partner institution and use that as the basis for writing the dissertation. There is no group size that is predetermined. It will come down to whatever suits the partner’s needs and yours. All of this being said, if you want to work by yourself, it is totally fine and you will be given the same level of support as any other group.

I don’t really have an idea for what kind of project I want to do. Can I still apply?

Yes. A good number of projects are proposed by the partner institutions. It doesnt mean that if you choose one of the available projects that you will be able to do it. Some partners interview students or check CV’s before signing on a proposed team. But the likelihood is high. Key is to approach me as soon as possible to get the process going. And no, you don’t have to wait until May.


OK, I’m interested! Now what?

Great!! Let’s get to work!. I, by default, accept all students who apply to this field lab. However, experience tells me that waiting for middle May – when the final assignment of students to field labs is decided – is not the best strategy for this field lab. This is because typically sports organizations have a heavy calendar in June and July, because of international competitions and other factors. This means that many are not fully operational until early september. Even though technically this is when workprojects start, the fact that you are dependent on the organization’s availability means that their timings might not be the optimal ones for students looking to complete a thesis in two and a half months. Therefore, if you are certain that this is the field lab you want, I encourage you to come to me and start planning as soon as possible.