Off The Court: Niels Giffey successfully balances his pro career with academic excellence

Dec 10, 2023 | Home News, Media, News, Off Court

Pursuing a professional sporting career at the highest level and being able to successfully project beyond it can be quite a big task. It is a challenge that becomes more present with each professional athlete as the years go by. For Niels Giffey, this challenge brought him to a beginning of a potential solution. He took the opportunity and enrolled into the Global Master in Sports Management course, provided by ELPA’s partner ISDE Law & Business School. The narrow vision Giffey had of sports management helped the newly crowned FIBA World Cup Champion in his decision to enroll into the program: “I found the combination of sports and law quite interesting. I was interested in taking a deeper dive into it. I wanted to learn what different sports entities do, what structures they entail, how clubs are organized, how federations are managed, and by what type of guidelines they are being led. That is also where the “law” part of the course kicks in.”

Giffey was able to find the balance between his career, which he never neglected, and the program that he followed online over the course of many months. It required adjustments to his daily routine, but it was well worth it.

“I was trying to make a right schedule for myself. I was able to find time slots in my daily schedule and stick to them. For example, looked at the learning material when I was on the team bus, or on the plane. Instead of just watching Netflix, I found an academic chapter that interested me and then turned it into an entertainment – even though it was education.Because it was relatable to what I do and to what interests me, it was easy for me to just hop into it”, he explains.

Niels Giffey became the second ELPA member who graduated with a Global Master degree from ISDE Law & Business School after Tornike Shengelia did the same last year. Giffey remembered how he felt at the moment he graduated and how grateful he was to be able to celebrate this accomplishment alongside his family: “I was really happy that I achieved this.I wanted to prove to myself that I can do this while I play. I managed to make this type of academic progress even though I’ve been out of school for 10 years alreadyI consider it a really good off the court success. I invited my family to ISDE in Barcelona for the graduation and spent some time celebrating together with them.”

This academic success allows Giffey to see his future in a different and less stressful perspective. “It takes a little bit of pressure away from basketball and it gives me a piece of mind now that I have a plan B”. When you know you have a backup plan waiting for you, you can put all your energy towards basketball againI am over 30 now, but I know that a major step towards a successful second career has been taken. I am thankful to ELPA for the opportunity and I’m looking toward to the future in a much more confident and relaxed way”, concluded Giffey.

In addition to ISDE Global Master in Sports Management course, ELPA also started a newly designed Second Career Program, intended for those players who wish to approach their career away from basketball in a more structured game and professional way. The program helps ELPA members plan for their life after basketball and assists them in becoming just as successful off the court, as they are on it.

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