Sports Management Alumni: Tom Wheeler’s experience and professional achievements
I decided to embark on a Master’s in Sports Management when, during the pandemic, I had somewhat of an epiphany, realizing that I wanted to make my passion my profession. As an avid sports fan, I was increasingly interested in the business side of football and decided a perfect point of entry would be a sports management degree. But then the question came: which business school would be best for me?
I had already lived in Barcelona for a few years and thus I was happy to find there were a few business schools offering sports management master’s courses in the city. If you’re reading this and wondering if Barcelona is a good city to live in, I can assure you it is!
Having carefully studied the opportunities at each school, I decided ESEI would be the best fit. It was a brand new course, though headed up by an experienced course tutor in Frank Hendrickx. A conversation with him before I decided certainly helped me choose the school, though it was also the admissions staff of ESEI who really swung it for me. They made me feel very welcome as soon as I stepped foot inside the school, getting to know my ambitions and objectives, and how they matched with each of the ten modules I would be taking.
I must also say that a big factor was the price. After all, taking a master’s is a considerable financial investment in yourself. I really had to be certain that what was being offered was going to give me value for money. ESEI’s pricing (comparatively very affordable) definitely helped me make a decision, and I can safely say that I feel I got plenty of value for money.
The Learning Experience: ESEI Sports Management Master
Overall I had a great experience with the teachers on the course: they were supportive both in and outside of the classroom, and would often lean on their networks to bring great guest speakers to class. The modules themselves were quite varied in the sense that
There was a real variety in people’s backgrounds as well as their career ambitions. My classmates were from all over the world, with every continent represented. The diversity of backgrounds introduced a variety of perspectives on different themes. Overall, there was a good level of engagement from all in class, which helped create a fun learning environment.
A lot of the assessment is done in groups using the ‘Project-Based Learning’ methodology: that’s to say that we were often working on ‘real-life’ situations, just as if we were already doing the job. Creativity and entrepreneurship are encouraged along the way, rather than simple essay writing being done on an individual basis.
It’s a methodology that I have been the beneficiary of twice, though I’ll save that for another blog post!
How I used the skills I learned to enter into a professional career in sports management
Having initially looked to pursue a career as a football agent, I soon realized it wasn’t for me. That realization was in large part owing to the opportunity to speak to football agents during my course.
Instead, I realized I was very open to a number of other careers in what is a very broad sports industry. I was fascinated by innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability, and commercial partnerships in equal measure. Arguably the hardest part of embarking on a career was deciding which strand to follow!
I ended up writing my thesis on environmental sustainability within football, which in turn allowed me to produce research for a renowned NGO: Sports Positive. This later produced an opportunity to work with Recipric, a sports sustainability agency, where I gained valuable experience in both sustainability and commercial opportunities in sports.
Concurrently, I started to work on a new type of football business education, first in the form of Sports Talent Network which has now evolved into Football360.
Starting a business from scratch is not something I ever saw myself doing before my master’s, though the entrepreneurial skills I learned really helped me along the way.
If you want to find out more about what I have created, click here!
If you would like to keep updated on my progress and the growth of Football 360, check out my LinkedIn.
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