Emil Devis earned his Master's degree in Finance from EADA Business School this past academic year, and was also a professional field hockey player at FC Barcelona. Before attending EADA, Emil studied at KU Leuven in Belgium and played hockey at Braxgata HC in Antwerp. Emil says that in his free time, he enjoys playing board games, playing padel, and spending time with friends. Being a student athlete comes along with many different challenges, especially time management. Any student may experience the difficulty of juggling your school, work, hobbies, and family.
In the following interview Emil Devis shares his experience at EADA as an athlete, and gives a few tips on how to be successful as a student and as a professional.
1. What made you decide on Barcelona and to study the International Master in Finance at EADA?
I had developed an interest in finance during my bachelor degree in Business administration at the KU Leuven in Belgium. I was looking for a city where I could combine playing sports, studying and having fun. Barcelona was a great option. I got in touch with some of the local clubs and looked into some schools. EADA came out on top through its central location and the help they provide when combining high level sports and studies.
2. As a professional field hockey player, how do you manage to balance your master’s studies with your field hockey training and competitions?
Both school and hockey expect you to be 100% committed. When there is an overlap, good communication and understanding of all the parties involved is important. In EADA, this worked out really well as I had flexibility when necessary from my respective programme directors. Furthermore, time management is crucial, sometimes you have to be a little creative.
3. How do you stay motivated and focused on both your education and your athletic training as a student-athlete?
As a student-athlete, staying motivated and focused on both my education and athletic training requires discipline, resilience, and the ability to adapt. To achieve this, I employ several strategies. First, I set clear goals for both academics and athletics, providing me with direction and motivation. By breaking down these goals into actionable steps, I can stay focused on my progress. Additionally, seeking support is essential. I actively engage with coaches, teachers, teammates, and mentors who can provide guidance, encouragement, and assistance when needed.
But the most important thing is to try to find a balance.
I enjoy both studying and playing sports. But I can see a pattern in my life where I could be more tilted to one than the other. Before going to university, my focus was more on the athletic side. Now I am focusing more on studies. I am still trying to find an optimal balance where I could be the best version of myself all of the time at both things.
4. How do you think you can apply the skills learned at EADA to your career as a field hockey player?
As a field hockey player, my Master in Finance programme at EADA equipped me with valuable skills. Strategic thinking allows me to develop game plans and analyze opponents. Leadership skills help me motivate teammates, foster teamwork, and make sound decisions. Effective communication and negotiation abilities aid in conveying strategies, negotiating contracts, and collaborating with stakeholders. These skills enhance my performance and contribute to success in field hockey.
5. In your experience, what skills and/or qualities do a top athlete and a successful manager have in common
Determination: Both top athletes and successful managers possess an unwavering determination to achieve their goals. They demonstrate relentless drive, pushing themselves to overcome challenges and strive for excellence. This determination fuels their pursuit of success, allowing them to persevere even in the face of obstacles.
Effective communication: Clear and effective communication is essential for both athletes and managers. They understand the importance of conveying their ideas, strategies, and expectations in a way that is easily understood by others. Strong communication skills enable them to inspire and motivate their team members, foster collaboration, and build strong relationships.
Charisma: Top athletes and successful managers often exhibit charisma, which enables them to influence and inspire others. Their charismatic presence commands attention, and they have a natural ability to engage and connect with people. This quality helps them build strong teams, rally support, and create a positive and motivating environment.
Accountability: Taking accountability is a shared trait between top athletes and successful managers. They take ownership of their actions, decisions, and the outcomes they produce. They accept responsibility for their mistakes and learn from them, striving to improve and grow.
Growth mindset: Both athletes and managers embrace a growth mindset, constantly seeking opportunities for improvement. They have a strong desire to learn, adapt, and develop their skills. They view challenges as opportunities for growth and approach setbacks as learning experiences, rather than being discouraged by them.
Vulnerability: Another common quality is the willingness to be vulnerable. Both athletes and managers understand that vulnerability fosters growth and connection. They are open to feedback, willing to acknowledge their weaknesses, and receptive to new ideas and perspectives. This allows them to continuously improve and stay adaptable in their approach.
6. Can you share any insights on how the leadership development program at EADA Business School has helped you to excel in your field hockey team?
In the residential Training campus in Collbató we examined what kind of leaders we were, we discovered our weak and strong points and had to go out of our comfort zone by doing certain presentations, shows, acting, dancing, … This all to help us grow as a person. When you grow as a person you project this energy in other parts of your life, which happened when I stepped on the hockey pitch.
7. Can you give any examples of how the teamwork and international environment at EADA has expanded your understanding of collaboration and leadership in both academic and athletic contexts?
At EADA, the teamwork and international environment expanded my understanding of collaboration and leadership in both academic and athletic contexts. Working with diverse classmates on academic projects taught me how to effectively communicate, delegate tasks, and integrate diverse perspectives to achieve shared goals. In the athletic realm, being part of sports teams with athletes from around the world enhanced my ability to coordinate strategies, adapt to teammates’ strengths, and work collectively towards sporting objectives. The multicultural setting at EADA also allowed me to develop cross-cultural leadership skills, fostering inclusivity and bridging cultural differences. Additionally, I gained valuable experience in conflict resolution, learning how to navigate disagreements and maintain productive working relationships. The international environment provided a valuable network of connections, enabling me to build relationships and explore new opportunities in both academic and athletic spheres. Overall, my experience at EADA has broadened my understanding of collaboration and leadership, equipping me with valuable skills for future endeavors.
Emil has signed at a Mid-Market private equity fund in Brussels next year, and hopes to continue to find an optimal balance between his two professions: field hockey and banking. Emil is very clear with the fact that his professional career does come before his sports career.
EADA wishes Emil all the best on his new adventures, and we hope to see you on the field again very soon!