Friday, 30 January 2015

Preparing for Student Presentation

Derby County hosted Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday which offered us with a great opportunity to capture some of our students in action at the match in order for us to use towards our talk and presentation on Saturday to potential new students for next year.

I managed to arrange a press pass for myself and Alex, a friend of Lukas, who had the duty of being cameraman, through Colin Gibson, Head of Media at DCFC. Having previously spent a week on work placement with Colin in the Media department certainly helped not only getting permission to gain access to areas around the stadium normally not accessible on match day, but certainly with putting together a little promotional video we'll be showing the guests on Saturday.

Alex took some pictures of Soren, Lukas and other Alex in action as stewards and working in the ticket office as well as around the stadium and the match. He also recorded interviews I conducted with Alex and Lukas before getting me to say a few words with the match in the background! It hasn't actually come out too badly and I'm hoping to link it to my next post.

Derby ended up winning 2-0 and regained 2nd position in their fight for promotion! Go you Rams!!
Stewards getting pre-match briefing
Alex in action!
Soren in the ticket office

SMART Objectives

It's hard to believe another week has gone! It's actually been quite an eventful one leading up to being a student ambassador tomorrow, hosting potential new students with Alex, Alison and Lukas and talking to them about our experiences thus far.

Monday's Introduction to Sport Management covered Strategy, in particular the setting of objectives within an organisation or department. One needs to bare in mind several factors when setting these objectives though and an easy way to remember some of them is to think of the acronym SMART.

Whether an organisation is brand new or have been in existence for a long time, financial success is one of the main goals for most of them. Therefore, when setting objectives, it need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time constraint. An example of this is a Football Club wanting to increase its season ticket holders by 10% by the start of the following season.

Not all objectives are aimed at financial gain though. An example may be a leisure centre wanting to introduce a fitness class, aimed at 16-18 year old girls from a specific area, and to have at least 10 of them regularly participate on a weekly basis by the end of the month. The main objective in this example focusses on introducing and developing community participation in leisure activities.

Our task on this subject for the week is to address the theory behind the formulation of objectives by writing a 200 word report which will form part of our essay required for our assignment at the end of the term.

It's proving quite a challenge to fit it all in to 200 words it seems!!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Commercial Department - Derby County vs Nottingham Forest - 19th January 2015

On Saturday I had the privilege to work alongside the commercial team during one the biggest derbies in England. It doesn't come much bigger than Derby County vs Nottingham Forest and to be working behind the scenes on match day is something special.

I could feel the atmosphere from the moment I arrived at the iPro stadium shortly before 8am. There was excitement hanging in the air, but in a way overshadowed by quietness, perhaps giving a sense of respect and the importance of this fixture. On this day the position in the league table doesn't matter, it’s meaningless. So too the 5-0 drubbing the Rams gave their neighbours last year or beating them with 10 men in 2011. Today all the pressure is on the men wearing black and white!

Meanwhile behind the scenes, pressure of a different nature had to be absorbed. Entertaining corporate guests and ensuring they have an unforgettable and trouble free day, is what’s top of the agenda for the commercial team on match day. Personally, my duties today didn't require much brain activity, but having experience in customer service in the food and beverage came in handy as I welcomed guests at accompanied them to their tables in the Pedigree Suite.

Much of the morning was spent putting a match programme on every seat of every corporate box and suite as well as the home and away changing rooms and match officials rooms. Today also offered an opportunity for one of DCFC’s partners, Purpose Media, to run a competition by gathering guests’ data and I helped their team collect the competition entry forms. Three lucky winners received an iPad, signed shirt and set of golf clubs handed out by Jake Buxton, DCFC’s man of the match, in the Toyota Suite after the game where he was also interviewed by ex-player Marc Edworthy. 

Unfortunately Derby conceded a last minute goal, handing Nottingham Forest a 2-1 victory, leaving the 30,000 home supporters in shock and disbelief after having had a half time lead.
Despite the result, albeit a bitter pill to swallow, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Although it didn’t require or involve any management skills, it still gave a great insight into what it takes to entertain guests and the process that’s involved in laying on an event of this nature. I also think it’s important for any manager to have an understanding of all the departments and how it operates at all levels throughout an organisation. And I managed to watch the game for free!! #Bonus

I’m having another couple of days in the commercial department in a few weeks’ time and I’m looking forward to see and be involved in the work that goes on away from match days.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Joining Uni at the tender age of 37!

Being asked for ID on a night out I guess doesn't normally occur in the life of your normal middle aged bloke, but when most of your class mates are half your age and you're joining them at a students only event, it's hardly surprising the doorman stops you and says "Sorry mate, students only"!

Becoming a full time student at the age of 37 isn't an easy decision and I was pre warned about the commitment it takes. Throw in to the mix fatherhood and doing a job on top of it, I never thought it would be a walk in the park and party time every night either, but it was a risk I was prepared to take.

It certainly wasn't a decision taken lightly and it is a commitment I'm willing to offer up, hoping to reap the rewards further down the line, hopefully making those who've given me the support, proud one day. Of that I can be very grateful for, the support of not only my friends and family, but tutor and lecturers too have been incredible.

It's early days of course, and we've only just finished our first semester, but I can confidently say I think it's one of the best decisions I've made! If making the decision to put my career on hold and take on full time education in pursuit of a degree wasn't difficult enough, I was then left with deciding between journalism, hotel & resort management and business management, having been offered a space on them all. After the 1st semester though, I have no doubt I made the right decision.

The practical experience we've gained from working within an organisation like Derby County Football Club since the first couple of weeks already, have been second to none and is what sets this particular course aside from the rest. I'm hoping to share my experiences on a regular basis and I hope to be able to give you an insight in to just how valuable this partnership with DCFC and other sport organisations are to us as students and ultimately the industry later on in our careers.

For now, let's get behind the Rams as they're taking on neighbours Chesterfield in the FA Cup fourth round.