On a rare, sunny day in Manchester, England, at the iconic Etihad Stadium, several delegates on GIS' MSc Sports Directorship program shared why, exactly, they chose to pursue a Master’s and return to education after decades out of the system.

Attending a seminar for the finance module of the programme, individuals from all corners of the sporting world told us what it is about the programme that appealed to them in the first place. 

YouTube video

Andrew Webster, a football coach and former Scotland international, said: “This Sports Directorship course is great, in terms of the networking you get from it, the education. The people who come in to chat to the group who deliver the module are all of a high level also, so there’s loads of great learning in it and also loads of great learning amongst the cohort as well; I really enjoyed that aspect of it.”

Learning amongst the cohort is something that VSI and GIS, whom they run the course in conjunction with, encourage from the outset. From Premier League Champions to former professional gamblers, the range of experiences of those enrolled means delegates can learn in a way they rarely did at school: through their classmates.

In fact, not everyone on the course has a background in sport at all. Will Daniels, for example, is a Recruitment & Analysis Manager, having spent the majority of his career working in the finance. He, more than any other delegates, believes there’s unlimited knowledge to be acquired simply by sitting in a room with the impressive and diverse range of professionals he shares a course with.

Will said: “I got onto the course for a couple of reasons, really. As much a stamp of credibility, for someone who’s not worked within the football industry. Also the contacts and the people who you can learn from, and be connected with. There’s a lot of sports people on the course, I think having people from a variety of backgrounds helps the course and helps individuals because you can learn different things from different people.”

For Ben Stevens, who has been immersed in the world of sport his whole life, and is now Head of Recruitment & Analysis at Premier League club Crystal Palace, the course allows him to reflect upon his own position as manager.

He said: "The Sports Directorship course has been great, because when you find yourself in clubs there’s very little time to understand learning and self-improvement. Also, when you come in a situation where you’re managing people, our department has eight people, you never stop and think about ‘how is my management and my leadership assisting or aiding those people?’"

Ben added: “Reflecting on that and being on courses like that will help you, help your staff and help the club hopefully.”

Find out more about GIS' Master's programmes.