What can you do when you find yourself in a foreign country, unable to speak the dialect, unfamiliar with the culture, yet still need to communicate with your team? The answer, according to legendary footballer Thierry Henry, is simple: Just say 'Yes.' This invaluable piece of advice was imparted to 17-year-old Cesc Fàbregas in his first days as a player at Arsenal. However, this advice was merely a stepping stone in his illustrious career as a professional football player, coach, and individual.

During the 'Meet the Manager' discussion on April 16, students convened in the Student Lounge at the McNeely Center of Ideas & Imagination to hear from football coach and former player Cesc Fàbregas. He shared insights into the essential skills and lessons that propelled his success at top football clubs including FC Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea, and AS Monaco. Currently, he is striving for promotion with FC Como. Achieving this milestone would mark FC Como's return to the Italian top division, Serie A, for the first time in 20 years. Beyond his impressive achievements on the field, Fàbregas and his wife Daniella Semaan have devoted themselves to philanthropic efforts off the field. They shared their involvement in refugee aid and other charitable activities, using their experiences to inspire the students. Echoing Thierry Henry's advice to a young Fàbregas, the speakers encouraged the students to adopt a champion’s mindset—urging them to embrace each new day with determination and to pursue their most ambitious dreams without hesitation.

Despite being a World Cup champion with Spain, Fàbregas’s journey was filled with challenges and learning experiences. His career trajectory mirrors that of many students at Franklin, requiring adaptability across diverse environments and roles. From his early days as a promising 17-year-old talent at Arsenal to his current role as an inspiring coach, Fàbregas has navigated his path with humility, eagerness to learn, and a profound respect for all members of his team. He credits much of his personal and professional growth to the influence of those he has worked alongside, who he considered were often more skilled, thereby fostering an environment of continuous personal development and team cohesion. Students departed this session with a better understanding not only of the life of an elite athlete like Cesc Fàbregas but also the motivation to inspire and achieve greatness within themselves.

'Meet the Manager' is an event series fully supported by the students of the Next in Management program at Franklin University Switzerland, under the direction of the Division of Business and Economics. The series is designed to provide students from all disciplines with the unique opportunity to engage with industry leaders in a relaxed yet informative setting, enhancing students’ understanding of the contemporary work environment and offering direct mentorship from professionals who are deeply familiar with the industries they discuss.

The Next in Management program is for Franklin’s most promising student leaders united in advancing their academic community through student-led and focused initiatives. The team includes Jesse Fioranelli, Samantha Elam, Alexandria Fraser, Vitória Gomes Araújo, and George Whittaker Curry, who are responsible for overseeing this, among many other events from its initial planning stages to its final execution. Their efforts exemplify one of the many opportunities provided by Franklin University Switzerland for students to acquire practical skills and gain confidence in areas such as digital marketing, event management, and team leadership.

Written by Samantha Elam and Jesse Fioranelli Jr.