CÃ©line Starbanov started riding when she was just six years old. At 18, she began to participate in professional competitions, participate in international show jumping competitions and work with the Swiss Olympic-level equestrian Pius Schwizer.
But equestrian sports are expensive, and you need sponsorship to be able to compete. So Celine went to college, studying business in three languages ââ- French, German and English – at the undergraduate level.
Then, in 2015, she decided to pursue a MSc in Sports Business Management to International University of Monaco (YES). IUM’s Master in Sport Business Management graduates went on to work for Adidas, the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters of tennis and the Arsenal Football Club in the United Kingdom.
Less than a year after joining the program, Celine landed her dream job working for the FÃ©dÃ©ration Equestre Internationale (FEI) – International Federation of Equestrian Sports – in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Today, she works to increase the profile of equestrian sports in developing countries, in liaison with the national federations of South America and sub-Saharan Africa. One day she hopes to come back and compete professionally in the sport she loves.
How did the FEI position come about?
In March of last year, I started looking for an internship. In the end, I only sent two CVs!
I was still looking for the FEI site. I sent in my resume and was interviewed for a full time job in May. I had to wait a month for a response. In June, they called me, I had a second and final interview. I had a very good feeling about it. I finished the IUM last June, and started full time at the FEI in September.
How were you supported by the school?
Having studied at IUM has helped me a lot. When you say you study in Monaco, the name has such an impact it’s incredible. At IUM, I was in an international environment with many different cultures – working for an international federation is also very important.
I was really confident during my interview. I knew I would be a good fit for the job due to my studies in sport management and my experience with horses.
Why did you decide to pursue the MSc in Sport Business Management at IUM?
I wanted to do a master’s degree in sports management. The question was where. You have a lot of masters in France, but they are all delivered in French. I wanted to study in English.
Monaco stood out for all the sporting events that were held there, like the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters tennis and the Monaco Grand Prix – we worked on projects on both.
Besides, I have horses at home and my mare was pregnant – I didn’t want to be too far!
What emerges from your experience at IUM?
I would say that how lucky I was to work at the Monaco Grand Prix, you don’t have that kind of opportunity every day. I was working on marketing, and I was also in charge of the grid girls! I was on the grid when normally nobody can go – it was an amazing experience.
The multicultural environment was really good. I had that in undergrad, but IUM was even more international. At the FEI, we work with Iran. The IUM has taught you to behave with different cultures, to be diplomatic and to negotiate with them.