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Nicolas Garski

Nicolas Garski

The good thing about business is that it can be joined with most other passion to create both and interesting and lucrative prospect. From the Ringling Brothers to Steve Jobs, the business world was built on the shoulders of people with passion and vision. Nicolas Garski graduated from European University twice, with a BA in Sports Management in 2006 and later an MA in Banking and Finance in 2010. He recently spoke to journalist Dr. Till Kraus about one of his greatest passions: sports.

You studied sports management. There is a saying: Sport managers are failed sportsmen. Any comments on that?

I was a true soccer fan when I was younger. I played right midfield in my school team, but that was ages ago! Somewhere around that time I realized that I am a better manager than a sportsman. I wanted to work in sports but soon realized that my true talents lie elsewhere. So I wanted to be a manager of a soccer team.

If you could choose: Which team would you like to manage?

Hertha BSC Berlin. Even though they are having a tough time right now.

Why did you decide to study sports management?

It was the economic side that interested me most. And the whole culture that surrounds big sporting events. I was lucky that Germany hosted the FIFA world cup in 2006 – and even luckier that I got an internship at FIFA at that time. I worked at the Berlin office and helped to organize the opening ceremony.

I am getting jealous. This sounds like the best job ever.

It was great. The German government allocated 40 million Euros for cultural events, some started way before the actual soccer matches. There were exhibitions, events, the whole country was going crazy for soccer – and I was at the very heart of it. But the best thing was the special reward that I got for my work: Tickets to see the sold out opening match in Munich. Perfect seats, flags and party everywhere. When Philipp Lahm scored for Germany I had goosebumps all over my body. The beginning of the famous German Sommermärchen. And I had my university degree. I really had all reasons to celebrate!

You went to work in sports?

Yeah, I worked at my favorite team Hertha BSC – I was working in hospitality management and took care of the VIPs. Days started at 7 am and ended at midnight.

Like a training plan for athletes?

Yeah, quite busy times!

Sports and management – where do you see the parallels?

There is no success without sacrifice, like in any other discipline where people want to succeed. You need to be very good and competitive to be successful – in sports and in business. In a 100-meter tournament is not about reaching the finish line – it is about the time you need and the power you can rely on.

So was your time at the European University like a constant marathon?

It was also a lot of fun. At school we were more like a team, not competing against each other. But being motivated by each other’s success. We are not professional athletes – so we could also party. The right balance between fun and work is the key.

Now you work at a Swissbank – what have you learned from sports that helps you now?

We are a young team – we are all younger than 35. So there is a lot of competition, energy, we are all motivated like a good sports team. And we know that we can only score together as a group.

Any sports you do to keep you focused?

I really like golf. In 2010 I was taking part in a golf tournament in the Swiss region of Villars. My university co-sponsored it, so there were eight people from the European University. The most difficult golf course I ever played on. It goes up and down like a ski-slope.

What sports are the Swiss really good at?

Ice hockey. Their teams are world class. And after the Swiss beat the German soccer team in May 2012, I had to cope with a lot of jokes from my colleagues. I guess that happens when their soccer team is winning. It does not happen often, but when it happens, they love to make fun of you. Oh my. Whatever. Due to my time at the European University I have friends all around the world – so someone’s team is always winning.

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