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How to Break Into Sport Management

How to Break Into Sport Management main image

Sponsored by emlyon business school

While it’s true that the Olympic medal winners and elite sportswomen and men will always be the ones dominating the back pages of the newspapers, you don’t have to be a star athlete or coach to have a successful career in sport. This is an industry bursting with excellent jobs on the sidelines for new recruits who are passionate about sport and business in areas like branding, digital marketing, sales, public relations, to name but a few. You don’t even need to specialize in a particular sport to flourish professionally in the industry.

Of course, competition for entry level jobs can be fierce, but the industry’s not lacking in graduate vacancies for those of you looking to get their foot in the door. Here’s how you can get started in sport management.

Get a professional qualification before you do anything else

It’s definitely a misconception that you don’t need to go to university to work in sport. Actually, a relevant qualification from a prestigious university will carry a lot of weight with brands and teams and help you gear up for industry challenges.

There are quite a few specialized master’s degrees out there which are specifically designed to help students kickstart a career in the industry. Recognised as a world leader in the field, the French business school emlyon business school runs a prestigious 16-month MSc in Sports Industry Management split across their Paris and Shanghai campuses, which covers the international sport market and gives students the specialist management skills they need to break into sport management. The MSc also includes field trips to London, Munich and the French Alps in the first few months of the program.

Actually go to relevant events organized by your university’s career team

From day one of your degree, it’s important you familiarise yourself with your university’s career team and all the workshops, company visits and services you think might be relevant to you. For example, students of emlyon business school can attend a sports week in Shanghai for the chance to meet hundreds of recruiters and sponsors such as Adidas, Lafuma, Patagonia and The North Face.

Reach out to senior alumni on your school’s alumni network

Once you’re studying, take advantage of your lifelong membership to your school’s alumni network. It would be silly not to. Students of emlyon business school have access to 29,000 alumni working in over 118 countries, including mentoring and tips on career development from former students now working in the sport industry. Alumni include Laurent Colette, the chief marketing officer of football team AS Roma, Sophie Morel Guillon, director of communications and engagement for the Paris 2024 Olympics Bidding Committee and Laurent Rizzo, the site director of PSG Merchandising at Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.

Apply for work experience with a sport brand or team

Of course, doing a degree with a placement semester could make the task of securing an internship much simpler because approaching recruiters is much less intimidating and unnerving when you have the help and backing of a prestigious university.

emlyon business school’s program features a four to six month internship. Past students have obtained fabulous placements in France, Germany, Italy, China, the United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands with companies such as Nike, Adidas, the Professional Football League in Paris, Olympique Lyonnais, the French Federation of Tennis and Quechua. Find out more about the degree here.

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