MK Dons chairman, Pete Winkelman, took time out on Monday to speak to budding entrepreneurs as part of the University of Bedfordshire’s Leadership Futures series.
Speaking at the Luton campus, Mr Winkelman reflected on his career in the music business, as a CBS Records executive, and the formation of MK Dons.
Following his move from London to the Milton Keynes area in 1993, Mr Winkelman recalled the moment that inspired him to form the Dons.
“My son was part of the Wycombe Wanderers Academy when he was younger and we had to drive through Milton Keynes to get to Wycombe,” he said.
“I couldn’t fathom why a city of that size didn’t have a football club, especially as a stadium was in the original plans when MK was first built in the 1970s.
“After relentless work over many years, we now have a football club playing in a fantastic stadium, giving the community something to be very proud of.”
Having worked with the likes of Jamiroquai and Victoria Beckham during a highly successful music career, Mr Winkelman revealed nothing could quite match the excitement of football, although he did warn students of the pitfalls of owning a football club.
He added: “Football is a crazy world to be in but the difference a club can make to the local community makes it worthwhile.
“Also, the buzz you get from negotiating deals for players happening in 24 hours is quite something in comparison to music deals, which can take a year to complete due to all the legal complications.”
During his lecture, the enthusiastic music mogul-turned-football chairman was keen to encourage the Business studies students.
Mr Winkelman concluded: “Over my career I have learned that the more things you try, the more likely you are to succeed. That is one of the key characteristics of becoming a lasting entrepreneur.”
Dr Sonal Minocha, Executive Dean of Bedfordshire’s Business School, said: “It was a real pleasure to have Pete Winkelman speaking as part of the Leadership Futures series at our University. His lecture and the practice he brought to our students have meaning to the kind of business education we believe in.”
The University awarded Mr Winkelman with an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration last year in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the life and community of Milton Keynes.