Ivo Todorov is a Bulgarian participant in this year’s International Master in Tourism & Hospitality Management at EADA. Besides tourism, he is also passionate about sailing and was awarded EADA’s Elite Sport Scholarship, aimed at athletes who are actively pursuing a career in sports and retired athletes.
In this interview, Ivo explains what made him choose EADA’s programme and how EADA’s unique Leadership Development Programme can help his performance on the sailing team.
As a member of the Bulgarian Sailing Team, Ivo will attend a one-week sailing competition in May. We wish him good luck!
What made you decide to study the International Master in Tourism & Hospitality Management at EADA?
I have always been passionate about Hospitality and Tourism and after I graduated, I was determined to develop my knowledge and skills by doing a Master degree somewhere where there is more emphasis on the learning by doing approach and the real life cases, instead of only on the theoretical methodology.
The reason why I chose EADA is that friends of mine who studied here recommended it as a very professional and practical place to continue your studies. Afterwards, when I did the research I found many other positive things about the programme that motivated me additionally to continue my education there, like the fact that it is highly ranked in Spain and the variety of specialized modules and of course the Leadership programme. Last but not least, I have been studying in Barcelona for the last three years and I love the city, the weather, and the culture, which also had its influence on my choice.
How will what you learn at EADA influence your career as an athlete?
If I am honest, there are so many aspects from the business environment that can be directly applied to sailing. Starting with the planning process for your sailing events, where you have to schedule, organize, and deal with logistics; then the communication skills, which are crucial when you travel and meet people from all around the world; and at the end during the race where you have both your tactical and strategic planning on how to win.
The whole nature of the sport can be compared to the dynamic ever-changing business world that EADA is preparing us for. In sailing, you have the constant wind shift and changes in weather conditions that you have to constantly pay attention to and be aware of, in order to adapt and extract the maximum out of the situations.
What aspects of the programme would you highlight and why?
I would highly recommend the Leadership Module in Collbató as it is something very similar to what many professional athletes do when they go on national training camps. The team building experience, combined with both the physically and mentally challenging exercises is crucial for our professional and personal development as individuals.
In addition to that, I would like to highlight the huge diversity in the groups, which is an excellent practice for your communication and teamwork skills, especially during discussions when different points of view and arguments emerge.
In your experience, what skills and/or qualities do a top athlete and a successful manager share?
In my personal experience, strategic thinking, self-awareness, and decisiveness are among the most crucial skills that helped me throughout the years to navigate through challenges and achieve my goals. I believe that each of these skills and behaviours play a fundamental role in both the athlete’s and the manager’s journey towards reaching their objectives, as they provide guidance whenever you face challenges or drift away from your vision.
How do you think that you can apply the leadership skills learned at EADA’s training campus in Collbató to the sailing team?
As I already mentioned, the activities in Collbató can be directly applied to the sailing environment, as you would be surprised how similar the issues on a boat can be to those in an office. The high pressure and dynamic environment in combination with people from different backgrounds and with different personalities is the perfect place for conflicts to emerge. That is where everything learned in Collbató regarding conflict management, working in teams, and creating high performing teams can be applied.
I have not tried it yet, but now when I think of the amount of problems and arguments that could have been avoided or solved with the knowledge from the leadership modules; I cannot wait to be back in the water with the team.
What advice would you give to young athletes who aspire to a career in business management?
I personally believe that sports can give you a great foundation in terms of skills, discipline and attitude towards challenges. However, if you want to be successful you need to constantly learn, adapt, and develop these competencies. Therefore, pursuing a career in business management is the closest you will get to match the intensity and competitiveness necessary to provide you with the right ingredients to challenge and develop yourself on a daily basis.