Columbia University’s partnership with FC Bayern Munich is truly a win-win-win: a win for the school, a win for the team, and a win for students.

FC Bayern in 2015 announced a partnership with Columbia University’s Sports Management program that provides content for instruction while helping the team build its fan base in the U.S. market.

The tie follows the 2014 opening of FC Bayern Munich’s New York City office.

In edited comments below, Vince Gennaro, program director of Columbia University’s Sports Management program, discusses the thinking behind the partnership and how it adds value for the school, its students and FC Bayern Munich.

On the thinking behind the program  
The partnership between the MS Sports Management program at Columbia University and FC Bayern Munich is based on content for instruction and using the club as a case study.

Each party hopes to deliver highly relevant and engaging curriculum to students. FC Bayern provides the classroom with rich topics in courses such as Supervised Research Project or Digital Strategies. In the Supervised Research Project course, students spent the spring 2016 term researching and preparing a marketing plan for the U.S. leg of FC Bayern’s world tour.

With a New York City office, FC Bayern Munich representatives were available and accessible to provide context and information while students researched and presented their plan.

We have offered the Digital Strategies class twice over the past two academic years and plan to offer it again in the future. The course provided a step-by-step approach to utilizing research methods to define a digital media strategy for FC Bayern Munich. Students analyzed the organization’s social media accounts to share findings directly with the team. Students measured engagement to see if there were correlations to themes of posts (post-match, use of emojis, final scores, training, etc.)

Students have called the opportunity inspiring, exciting, and empowering. The experience went beyond what can be done in a day-to-day job and allowed them to distill data, put actionable recommendations together and share outcomes with executives of a global brand.

How the partnership enhances Columbia’s classroom offering
FC Bayern has a successful global business strategy and we are thrilled that our students have access to the executives of a world-renowned club. We strive to offer a compelling market-driven curriculum that helps our students secure top careers after graduation.

Students in the Columbia University Sports Management program hail from 23 counties. Matching our global citizens with a globally recognized brand instills in them that the world, especially the sports world, is more global than ever and will continue to get smaller by the day.

In August 2016, I sat down with Jörg Wacker, FCB board director for internationalization and strategy, and Rudolf Vidal, managing director of Bayern's New York City office, to discuss establishing and building a global sports brand. This event was open to students and alumni where they could hear the global strategy first and ask questions in a Q+A. Students could see that building a global brand requires an active and committed presence.

On the success of the program
By all measures, the relationship is working well for both FC Bayern Munich and Columbia. Both parties are realizing the benefits we hoped for and we continue to break new ground each year as the relationship grows.

Like all strong partnerships, we are constantly seeking ways to grow the relationship and have it be more innovative and productive for both parties, with a special focus on yielding benefits for our students. We are looking to find additional ways to immerse our students in the valuable lessons of a leading global sports brand—one that deals with a global audience across many different cultures.