Stefan Haudum: From the Soccer Field to Campus and Back Again

Bundesliga kicker Stefan Haudum was able to complete his studies at JKU thanks to a special support program.

SStefan Haudum, Photo credit: Maurice Shourot
Stefan Haudum, Photo credit: Maurice Shourot

Since the start of the year, Stefan Haudum, 26, and has been playing for SCR Altach in the national league, impressing teammates and fans alike with his talent and commitment. Speaking of talent and commitment, he also earned a degree in business and economics at the JKU "on the side". We talked with him about being a high-performance athlete while studying and what you need to do both.

Why did you choose to study business and economics at the JKU?
Stefan Haudum: I played soccer in Linz after finishing my alternative civil service and as I really wanted to pursue an academic degree, the obvious choice was to enroll at the JKU. Since I didn't want to commit to a certain career at the time, I chose business so I could learn more about business and economics and build on my expertise after my soccer career, depending on what I want to specialize in.

How was your experience at the JKU?
Stefan Haudum: Very positive. I really enjoyed spending time at the JKU and always felt very comfortable on campus. A student could want for nothing at this university. Naturally I checked out the one or the other JKU's summer parties.

Did anyone ever ask for your autograph?
Stefan Haudum: No. Whenever I was on campus, I was always just treated a regular student and not anything else. I'm glad about that.

The KADA program supports high-performance athletes during their academic studies. Did the program help you?
Stefan Haudum: KADA helped me a lot in some situations, especially when there were time conflicts with training and classes. KADA managed to find a good solution and I can definitely recommend it.

What do you plan to do with your degree?
Stefan Haudum: At the moment, I'm just very happy that I managed to finish my studies. I would like to concentrate on sports and do other things during my free time that I didn't really have time for during my studies. I am, however, already considering perhaps starting a graduate degree program in the near future.

What’s harder: Being successful in the Bundesliga or finishing your studies?
Stefan Haudum: That's a difficult question and I don't think there's one answer. Both of these things require enormous discipline, ambition, and stamina. In both areas, you work toward success and you also experience setbacks when both playing sports and studying. As an athlete, it's great to win matches and as a student, you work hard to pass exams. When successful at both of these things, it can give you a feeling of being over the moon.

High-performance sports are very time-consuming. How did you manage to find a balance between training and studying?
Stefan Haudum: When I first enrolled at the university, I wasn’t playing in the national league. After joining LASK, balancing my studies with soccer became harder, especially as we were traveling abroad a lot so there were times I couldn’t really be on campus. Still, I always tried to complete my courses and take exams and somehow, I managed to do this each semester. Last year, during the first lockdown, I began writing my Bachelor’s thesis. This semester I was able to complete my last set of courses online and graduate. I always tried not to neglect my studies and I am glad I have an inherent sense of ambition, even if it wasn’t easy at times.

The JKU’s University Sports Institute (USI) offers soccer and many other sports - and you don't have to be a professional to take part!

NEWS 17.02.2021