Have you ever wondered what it would take to launch yourself into a career in sport? Very often when you are beginning on a new career path, the most helpful step to take is to talk to and get feedback from people who were in your shoes not too long ago. Having the opportunity to hear what worked for them and what didn't can be an invaluable advantage when you are looking to supercharge your career in sport. Alex Thorpe (Top) and Kristian Dobrev (Bottom) are two highly successful young professionals making their mark on the business of sport but it took hard work to get there and a diversity of experiences. When asked what it takes to supercharge a career in sport Alex and Kristian described a winning combination of purpose, differentiation, passion, tenacity, and patience.
Alex Thorpe is a Consultant for the Deloitte Sports Business Group. He joined the Sports Business Group in 2010 having previously worked for Deloitte Consulting in London. During his time in the Group, Alex has worked on a wide range of strategic consulting projects Most recently he has worked extensively in the Middle East, assisting a number of sports organizations develop their operational and commercial strategies as well as assisting with the privatization process for one of the region’s leagues.
Alex describes the sport job market as highly competitive with demand far exceeding opportunity, particularly at the junior level. Given the crowded nature of the field, its important to have a clear sense of where you want to go and why. Really push yourself to think beyond just your love of the game to show a passion for sports as an industry.
And don’t be afraid to think beyond your borders when you are building qualifications that will make you stand out. The industry is globalizing and so should you. According to Alex, “International experience and language skills are ever more relevant to working in sport and can be a key differentiator. Whereas before our client base may have been UK-centric, the development of the industry sees us working across a much wider and diverse group of territories. Therefore, being able to show first-hand experience of having worked overseas gives a candidate valuable experience and can also show that they will be comfortable in what can be quite demanding and different working environments than we are used to do in the UK.”
Kristian Dobrev, an International Account Manager for Soccerex which runs events for the association football industry, also highlights the importance of channeling your passion for the field to into a tenacious pursuit while being mindful of the patience it will take to meet your ultimate goal. Prior to working with Soccerex, Kristian did internships with MediaPro and before that with Nike. In Kristian’s experience, “Once you’ve started implementing your passion and proactiveness it is your patience that will get you furthest. Not patience in the form of sitting on your couch and waiting for the phone to ring, but patience in the sense of embarking on this journey with humbleness, confidence and an open mind. It is ok to have certain preferences, but don’t think (and definitely never show) that you know it all or that you’re too good for a certain task.”
Kristian really highlights that your passion and your ambition will drive you through the periods where you really just need to role up your sleeves and get down to the hard work of proving your value in the space.
While you have your sights on the horizon, it’s also important to remain flexible. According to Kristian, “If you can’t get a position in the organisation or department that you really wanted to, take a step back and analyze which other opportunities might get you closer to your dream job. Give something else a try and don’t let preconceptions or stereotypes influence the breadth of your options. Think you’re not a salesman? Possible, but make that statement after you’ve undergone a trial period. You never know what might happen or who you might meet.”
Alexander and Kristian will be joined by Kevin Carpenter (sports lawyer for international law firm Hill Dickinson LLP and LawInSport) and Alexandra Chalat (the former executive director of Beyond Sport and Head of Social Innovation for Benchmark Sport International) as well as top industry leaders across leagues and clubs (including the English Premier League, National Football League, Rugby Football Union, and National Basketball League) at the Global Sports Symposium. These four young professionals will be participating in the Symposium’s "Supercharge Your Career in Sport" panel and workshop on May 15, 2014. Following a presentation by GlobalSportsJobs each will speak about their experience cracking into the sport industry. Each panelist will then sit with members of the workshop audience, take their questions, and offer guidance.
The Global Sports Symposium is the first annual student-run conference presented by the team behind the Ivy Sports Symposium (Sports Symposium, Inc.). The symposium promises to bring a 360-degree view of the Sports Business world, with talks and panels representing all aspects of the business. Established in 2006, Sports Symposium, Inc. is a student-run, non-profit organization that sets the standard for sports business education. For the past eight years the Symposium has rotated among Ivy League campuses in the United States and have featured more than 300 unique speakers from around the world representing all facets of the business of sport. This will be the first year that the Symposium is held outside of the United States, taking place at Emirates Stadium in London on May 15th, 2014.