Interview: FAU Alumnus Niels Rossow, commercial director of 1. FC Nürnberg

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Niels Rossow studied business administration at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen Nürnberg (FAU) between 1998 and 2002. After many years working at Adidas, Rossow, who is originally from Nuremberg, is now the commercial director of 1. FC Nuremberg (also known as “the Club”). In our interview, Niels Rossow shares some insights into his work at the Club and also reports back on the kick-off of the cooperative degree program run in partnership with FAU at the School of Business, Economics and Society.

Mr. Rossow, you studied business administration at FAU. Why did you decide to study at FAU?

I was born and brought up in Nuremberg, so FAU was the natural choice. Before I started studying, I wasn’t really sure which direction to take. However, I was persuaded by the wide range of subjects offered at FAU in the area of business administration and the international aspects covered by the degree program. I think I made the right decision.

What do you especially remember about your time at FAU?

There was a great sense of community, I met lots of new people. One thing I particularly remember is the guest lecture by Uli Hoeneß. It was held in the largest lecture hall at that time, H4, and it was crammed full. Everyone hung on Uli Hoeneß’s every word as he talked about the exciting topic of soccer.

Roughly two months ago, 1. FC Nürnberg and FAU signed a partnership agreement introducing a new cooperative degree program that integrates commercial and sporting aspects. The first lecture was held at the beginning of May by you and your colleague Dieter Hecking. What were your first impressions?

At the beginning of our Club seminar I felt transported back in time to when I was a student and attended a seminar held by Adidas. We invited students to meet us in the Max Morlock Stadium, there was a great atmosphere. The students asked a number of interesting questions, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with and taking the next steps. FAU has a great line-up, with its students and staff.

Our region is home to so many champions, FAU, Adidas and FCN are just three examples.

You are mainly responsible at the Club for finances, marketing and press and public relations. What exactly do you do?

That’s fairly easy: I take care of everything that is not directly related to sport. In other words everything from business administration to dealing with everything concerning the Club as a brand. I am also involved in topics such as security concepts for our matches. I have a very wide range of tasks. I am involved in the business administration of a medium-sized enterprise, it’s a really exciting place to be.

To what extent did studying business administration at FAU help you in your successful business career?

My degree covered a wide range of different topics and gave me a really good grounding in the world of business. During my advanced seminar, I made initial contacts with what become my first employer, Adidas.

Talking about Adidas: You worked there for more than 15 years before moving to the Club. FAU also has a successful partnership with the sportswear manufacturer. What are the advantages of this “trio” for the metropolitan region?

First of all: Our region is home to so many champions, FAU, Adidas and FCN are just three examples. However, I am very pleased that we can work together as a trio to make the most of all the opportunities available to us to encourage research and innovation, including the chance to take a more unorthodox approach to certain projects in the future.

Which tips would you give current students for achieving a healthy work-life balance?

You should always retain control over your own agenda and schedule and not let too many appointments be added. It’s also really important that you consciously schedule time off for yourself. It’s good for you, and it’s good for your employer too.

I was persuaded by the wide range of subjects offered at FAU in the area of business administration and the international aspects covered by the degree program.

Are there parallels between the 90 minutes on the soccer pitch and studying at university?

There is no end of parallels. At the beginning you need to find your feet, settle in. The right tactics and the right preparation are crucial. As is taking time out to recover and look after yourself. At some point, everyone stumbles and falls. When that happens, it’s important to get up again quickly, dust yourself off and carry on. The important thing is that you keep your optimistic mindset. You can’t always just travel in one direction, but the end result is crucial.

Are you still in touch with any of your former fellow students and professors?

I am, yes, including some former fellow students who have settled abroad. Here in Nuremberg you invariably meet people who have studied or have some other connection to FAU, and I often find myself talking about how I studied here.  I am proud to be an alumnus of FAU, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to work together with others in the region and make something special happen.

Thank you very much for the Interview, Mr. Rossow!

(Interview: Sebastian Schroth, Juni 2022)

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