As Founder and CEO of Chicago City FC, Nick Mulvaney began to debate the next steps of his career. Settling on a Sport Directorship role, he admits GIS' course, designed specifically for that purpose, didn’t initially cross his mind.

Speaking exclusively to GIS as part of the 2022 Miami Summit, he said: “Everyone was like go to Harvard if you want to do your Master’s, or go to Northwestern in Chicago. But then I had the first interview with Andy [McIntyre] and it just absolutely blew me away. The way he spoke about the cohorts, the people they bring in – I didn’t even think I’d get accepted!”

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Fast-forward several months, and Nick found himself enrolled on the MSc Sports Directorship program, which launched at GIS Miami Campus earlier this year. Immersing himself in the world of sport may be something he’s long used to, but the academic aspects, Nick laughs, are proving quite a shock to the system.

Reflecting on the start of the course, he said: “The first two days, everyone has just been so open, sharing ideas. We’re all back to school after 20, 30 years out of academia - it’s like, where do we start!”

But with the support of Andy, the Program Leader, and his coursemates, Nick is confident that he’ll adjust to being ‘back at school’ in no time. More importantly, he recognises that it’s a necessary requirement to propel his career to the next level – something he’s determined to accomplish.

He continued: “For me, looking at it as a Sporting Director in the future, I need to understand more from the players' perspective. How they perceive a Sporting Director, based on their own good and bad experiences, will only elevate my knowledge and skillset to be able to provide that for my club and my players.”

The first lesson, however, was a return to the real basics – and very much like a return to school. With the delegates on the programme primarily consisting of successful leaders who have made a habit of managing people, they were reminded of the importance of hearing what others have to say, regardless of their position.

He finished: “The lesson was to listen a bit more and prepare a little bit more. We expect our players to warm up before they go onto the field; what’s our warm up before we go into a meeting, and what’s our cool down at the end of it?”