Studying Sports Management in the UK, by Simon Chadwick
In boxing there is an old saying that a fighter can punch "well above their weight." In other words despite being small, that fighter can contend with a much bigger opponent and hold their own.
Great Britain can be considered as having punched well above its weight in sport for years. Despite being only a small island we have a soccer league that is the envy of the world, and an Olympic squad that brought home no fewer than 19 gold medals, 13 silver and 15 bronze at the 2008 Olympics - and we are eagerly anticipating hosting the next games in London in 2012.
Beyond the field however, there is a juggernaut of talent without which the structure of global sport would grind to a juddering halt. Sport needs to be organised, from the smallest amateur club to the teams in the Champion's League. Undergraduate students who recognise the potential of sport management are increasingly looking at degrees that provide a solid grounding in all management skills and practices, which includes marketing, strategy, human resource management, finance and information technology.
However, growth in the sports industry is no longer restricted to developed nations such as USA, Canada and the UK. Significant opportunities in sport event management, sports broadcasting/media, sport sponsorship and other commercial developments are evident in emerging economies such as China, India and South Africa. With the UK's impressive sporting reputation - both on and off the field - we are in a position to offer the very best opportunities to students keen to enter these exciting careers.
Sports management and science courses provide students with specific knowledge and skills such as the developments and current trends in the sports and exercise industry that will inform your career choice.
Students receive relevant sports coaching certificates and work experience that will improve employability, and learn other skills - such as research and data analysis, communication and problem solving - that are easily transferable to other industries.
According to the UK graduate careers website Prospects, in 2008 50% of all sports science graduates went directly into full-time paid work six months after graduating, and around 10% into part-time paid work, with a further 10% combining study with work. Many graduates go directly into the sport and leisure industry with typical first jobs including fitness instructor, personal trainer, assistant sports development officer, and junior sports administrator.
The opportunities for sport management students are growing even in the recession, and in the UK we already have a culture of sport that acts as the foundation for turning out the best in sport management students.
A sport marketing or management degree could lead to manage an international arena, or strategic management for a sport organisation with a global reputation, possibly even organising an event that will be seen on the world stage.
Simon Chadwick is Director of Coventry University's Centre for the International Business of Sport