Can a professional basketball player succeed in hospitality? For BBA student and Vevey Riviera star Adam Kejval, it’s a question of balancing his two passions.
Many of our students pursue extra-curricular sporting activities while studying at Glion, but few manage to do so at a professional level. The issue for most would be how to balance the time needed for study with the dedication required to excel in sports.
It’s a question Adam Kejval had to ponder before deciding to enroll on our BBA in International Hospitality Business – but one he’s answered with flying colors.
“My driving forces? They’re my twin passions,” Adam shares with a smile. “Right now, letting go of either basketball or hospitality just isn’t an option for me; I’m infatuated with both. Sure, a time will come when basketball takes a backseat and hospitality becomes my main focus. But at this moment? The chance to juggle both is just too rewarding to pass up.”
Adam currently plays for local professional basketball team Vevey Riviera, who are currently riding high in the Swiss national basketball league. Quite remarkably, he has managed to fit this around his studies.
“At first, I was highly skeptical about balancing high-level basketball and studying at Glion, especially since I knew there was a strict limit of 20% allowed absences. However, this experience taught me that we often have more time than we realize. In fact, that 20% absence allowed me to participate in both national and international competitions, such as the under-20 European Championship.
“I always had the drive to get rapidly back on track with my studies, and a big part of that is just how captivating I find the classes and the subjects at Glion.”
Hankering for hospitality
So, what is it about studying for a hospitality degree at Glion that appeals to someone who has already carved out a successful early career in professional sport? According to Adam, the motivation lies in his belief that our life’s purpose is to develop our strengths, striving to become the best possible version of ourselves.
“This led me to recognize the value of making my strengths my assets, rooted in a finely tuned attention to detail from an early age.”
“At first, I was highly skeptical about balancing high-level basketball and studying at Glion, especially since I knew there was a strict limit of 20% allowed absences. However, this experience taught me that we often have more time than we realize. In fact, that 20% absence allowed me to participate in both national and international competitions, such as the under-20 European Championship. I always had the drive to get rapidly back on track with my studies, and a big part of that is just how captivating I find the classes and the subjects at Glion.”
Photo by Didier Charles
“My parents would often make fun of me when I was a child for being picky,” he says. “I always placed high importance on details and was meticulous about them, which is also why I chose Glion. Once I found out about hospitality, I knew it was the right thing for me.
“Hospitality gives me the chance to apply my innate abilities and the leadership qualities I’ve gained from playing team sports and vice versa. And sure enough, it has become a passion. I was intrigued by it as a child, but as I grew up, I became attracted by the abundance of opportunities it offers.”
Once he had decided to stay in Europe to pursue his basketball ambitions due to Covid travel restrictions, Adam then set about running the rule over the hospitality schools on the continent.
“Glion immediately grabbed my attention,” he says. “Not only because is it considered one of the best-ranked hospitality schools in the world and because I was impressed with the professionalism of the faculty, but most importantly I explored Glion’s program and it was just what I wanted.”
Jumping through hoops
Studying for a BBA at Glion is no easy task when you are a full-time student, so the challenge is even greater when you are trying to establish yourself as a basketball player. Fortunately for Adam, he has a razor-sharp focus on what he wants to achieve.
“Following your passions outside of school can be challenging at times, especially at Glion where life is so enjoyable and comfortable,” he says. “But, if you have true belief in yourself, are filled with determination, and genuinely relish what you’re doing, I firmly believe that success is within anyone’s reach.
“I’ve really honed my time management skills. My days are a whirlwind: school, then basketball practice from 18:30 to 22:00, and weekends are a blend of games and study. Sure, free time is scarce, but the thrill of pursuing two dynamic careers and valuing every second with family and friends makes it worthwhile. Keeping my eyes on the prize helps me stay motivated, especially when I’m hitting the books while my peers are out socializing.”
What has also helped Adam achieve success on court and in the classroom, where he is consistently getting grades of above 80 and managed to achieve above 90 on his Bachelor thesis, is the fact the skills required for success in hospitality and basketball are often complementary.
“It’s really interesting to see how many similarities there are between basketball and hospitality,” he says. “Leadership and handling pressure are common to both, but one of the biggest things is the importance of mental strength and discipline.
“It’s mainly about consistency. In basketball, for example, you need to play well all the time and not just in the odd game because your coach needs to be able to rely on you. That’s the same with hospitality, where you need to establish a certain reputation and then surpass it. That’s why discipline and being able to apply yourself is so important.”
“The other similarity I’ve noticed is that success is down to hard work, not luck. When you put in the work, the results will come – on court and in the classroom. That’s been my motivation and it’s why my grades have been good. It reflects how hard I have studied or practiced, not how lucky I’ve been.”
Adam is no stranger to the vagaries of luck in his basketball career, having already experienced the highs and lows of professional and international sport at such an early stage.
“I got my first contract with Vevey Riviera last year, which is great because once you have signed, your career can truly begin,” he says. “And I’ve been picked to play for my country too, representing the Czech Republic in the Under-20 European Championships at the end of semester 4.
“What’s more, I was selected for the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games. Unfortunately, I got injured just four days before departure, which meant I was unable to go. But my teammates won and that was truly inspiring. It also made me feel confident I can compete at the highest level because I was chosen to play with them.”
While clearly experiencing mixed fortunes on the basketball court, Adam has learned how to handle setbacks and to be resilient. He has also been blessed with better luck on his International Hospitality Business degree program, managing to secure an internship position at the Crowne Plaza in Belgrade, where his two worlds happily collided.
“My internship really brought my two passions together.”
“My internship really brought my two passions together,” he says. “At the time, I was training with Euroleague team Partizan Belgrade, which allowed me to learn from one of the world’s best coaches, Željko Obradović.
“I also learned a lot about hospitality. The Crowne Plaza hosted large gatherings and accommodated many notable sports players, from basketball teams vying for Olympic Games qualification and the Serbian Cup to international superstars such as Novak Djokovic. This experience was fascinating for me. I got to see how hospitality venues cater for elite athletes and to witness how their needs compare with those of ordinary customers.”
So as someone seemingly excelling in both academic and sporting fields, does Adam see his future in hospitality or basketball? True to form, he is calm and confident about what’s to come.
“For the time being, I want to pursue basketball when I graduate as I believe I have more experience to gain from it,” he says. “What’s more, it’s a sport from which you retire early, so I want to enjoy playing it as long as my body allows.
“In the future, I hope to use my education in some relevant field. The dream is to be able to leverage my background as a professional athlete to my advantage in the hospitality industry and eventually start my own business.”
Make a jump towards your global career
Our Bachelor’s in International Hospitality Business provides a perfect springboard to an exciting career that could take you to any country you desire.