December 7 - The latest crop of budding sports leaders have begun their professional path following their graduation from the Academy for Sports Science and Technology (AISTS) after completing a one-year "Sports Administration and Technology" masters course.
AISTS was founded in 2000 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in partnership with other local and university organisations, with the mission "to apply multi-disciplinary knowledge to the study of sports".
From their Lausanne base, they focus on the three pillars - of postgraduate education, continuing education and research - with the masters course an integral component of this.
In total, 38 future sports managers from 25 countries received their diploma, and within their number are individuals who have already gained administrative experience as well as those who have moved over from a different field.
The graduates had the perfect inspiration in the form of South Africa's 13-time Paralympic gold medal winning swimmer, Natalie Du Toit, who was present to give the key note speech.
Du Toit, who completed in open water swimming at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in addition to her Paralympic success, gave a moving and heartfelt message about overcoming adversity and the power of self-belief,
"Today you graduate - it's a new step with new opportunities," she told the students, before advising them to "grab the opportunity and fly with it."
"Aim high, dream big dreams," the South African added.
Since 2003, the AISTS has educated more than 300 sports managers, representing over 100 countries from all continents.
The attractiveness of the programme lies in its unique and multidisciplinary approach, which integrates knowledge from the fields of technology, law, sociology, and medicine, it is claimed.
Another speaker was a former student on the course in Anne Gripper, who before taking her current post as chief executive of Triathlon Australia, was best known for introducing the biological passport to cycling.
This has been hailed as one of the most important development in combating the doping culture over recent years.
The ceremony was presided over by AISTS executive director Claude Stricke, and President Jan-Anders Månson.
Masson spoke about the need for professionals in sports management, and argued that in the current climate "the value of your degree has never been higher than now."
Similarly, Stricker described how the graduates will not join "over 300 existing AISTS MSA alumni working all over the world who are making a meaningful impact on the world of sport."
As if to emphasise this point, the IOC sports director, Christophe Dubi, who will be replaced in the role by Kit McConnell after Sochi 2014, echoed these words within the example of the IOC.
"AISTS delivers not only a great programme but also individuals," he said.
"Over 10 per cent of the IOC are MSA graduates and many opportunities will arise in the IOC over the next few years.
"Since we have these new transformation and new ideas, we'll need to have exceptional people."
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
November 2013: Nick Butler - Technology has, overall, changed sport for the better
November 2013: "We are working with IOC to create best sports administrators" claims AISTS director
November 2013: We owe Olympic survival to embracing technology, admits taekwondo chief