Albion in the Community and American Express recently offered some of our business studies students a fantastic opportunity to spend a day at the Amex Stadium taking part in a Business Masterclass. Year 9 student, Laith Abbas, has written the following impressive account which we hope you will enjoy reading. Laith also took all the photographs – what a star!
“This was truly a unique opportunity that allowed us to see the inner workings, in every minuscule detail, which had kept this business just that – a business.
Not many people would look at a football club and take time to think what Brighton & Hove Albion really is, a business designed to make a profit. We as students had little to no exposure to an actual business and to how it functioned; a visit to the Amex was perfect to show us that something, that in most of our minds had resembled nothing but an extremely popular sport, was in fact a successful business.
Throughout the experience we had a sense of the immensely professional atmosphere that we were engulfed by. From the moment we walked through the doors we were no longer school children going on a leisurely tour around the Amex, we were business consultants, hired to assess the situation and inform the business-owners of the options for their upcoming fund-raising event. The atmosphere was purely work and concentration. Even lunch was a work-focused activity, they called it a “working lunch” which (as the name implies) was eating lunch and working at the same time, which most of us had never done before. Our task was to create a fund-raising event for the Amex, to out-perform the other groups and impress the qualified judges enough to win.
Looking back on it, the idea of having to make a presentation was quite a scary one, but knowing now (spoiler alert!) that we won, there was nothing to be afraid of at all!
During our tour of the Amex, I was struck by the sheer scale of the business. We saw all the ways that gargantuan amounts of money go in and out of a business (cash flow). Many thousands of pounds are being spent just on the grass to keep it in top condition and thousands more that “elite members” pay just to have pristine seating with a meal at half-time included. Then the millions more that companies pay to have a tiny box by the side of the pitch, where they could have meetings and watch football. We also saw the immaculate venues that we were told to take notes and pictures of so that we could discuss the possibility of using them during our fund-raising events.
We were lucky enough to sit in the very seats the managers sat in as they watch their games. I used to find it somewhat amusing how the managers always looked very glum during their games; I now know that to them football was no leisurely activity, it was their business; every goal for their team meant more cash in the bank and every score by the opposition was a loss for the business.
After we had completed our tour and taken our notes, everyone’s heads were down and you could sense the tension in the air – it was the rush. Everyone knew exactly what needed doing, but they now had to work out how they were going to do it. Had I done enough research? Was what I’d prepared enough? Questions whirred through my head as I tried frantically to work out the details of profit, revenue and costs. It was the estimating that took the longest: the number of people expected, with quantities and costs for food and drink to be sold.
In the end all that work was worth it; our group presented with confidence and clarity, with all the key information at hand answering all the judges’ questions (almost) perfectly. And to our surprise..…we won! But you already knew that.
Throughout the entire process I couldn’t stop comparing it to “The Apprentice”. Just as in “The Apprentice”, we were each fighting as a group for the judges’ approval, for whoever had the better idea and presentation. Even more similar to “The Apprentice”, is how we left the Amex – educated. Each of us, having won or lost, had all left more knowledgeable and feeling more accomplished than when we had arrived. I still look back on the day and how I feel grateful for having been invited to such an enriching experience. For me, this was definitely a day to be remembered.”