Friday, 20 March 2015

87% for Introduction to Sport Management CW1!

There are two ways to look at this:
  1. "It's only the first year and the grade doesn't count for much."
  2. "It's a great foundation to build on and I'm really proud of it!"
I'm opting for the second one! I was really chuffed and could hardly believe my eyes at first. I know it's only Year 1 and the thought briefly entered my mind, but I quickly decided that I'd much rather take pride out of the grade and use it as a foundation going forward, rather than being disappointed that it's only Year 1 and what I'd give to get that mark in Years 2 and 3 and maybe beyond! Of course I'd want it then, but who's to say I can't? Getting a good grade now should be an ideal foundation to build upon and I'm keen to do so! That's why I believe it's best to give just as much attention to Year 1 as any other ear going forward - certainly in my case. Yes, the work load will undoubtedly get bigger, which makes putting in the effort in the first year, and gradually climbing the steps, even more advisable.

I love the feedback structure the university follows. There'll always be three good points and three suggested areas that need improving. the feedback given to me on this assignment is that it's pleasing to see that I've taken the advice from previous assignments and applied it well, which is pleasing in return. The structure also makes it possible to be aware of further areas I can improve on, which, providing I carry on doing the things I do well, should continuously develop my writing and improve me as an academic student going forward. I think there's a certain element of evidence in the fact that my grades so far has increased on each occasion (64%, 65%, 74% & 87%). Long may this trend continue or at the very least be maintained!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Marketing Photos

The university's marketing team decided to take some photos of a few students in action at the iPro Stadium last night, and Grace and I were asked to assist in showing them around. Apart from the honour of being asked after being recommended by DCFC, it ended up being great fun!

Grace and I met up with Sarah and Angela from the Marketing team as well as Matt Jones, the photographer, at the stadium a couple of hours before kick-off. After collecting our all access passes we first visited the ticketing office where Matt captured Soren in action as a few last minute tickets were being sold.

We then made our way up to the Pedigree Suite where Josh was welcoming guests and I got the feeling that Sarah and Angela would have been quite happy to settle down in the comfort of the suite with a beverage or two but we had to stick to the schedule!

Leaving Josh to keep his customers satisfied we went pitch side and on the way showed Matt where Lukas was positioned as a steward. Lukas also works in the ticketing office but on match day he enjoys the extra responsibility which comes with being a match steward.

By now, most of the stadium was filled up and while both Derby and Middlesbrough were out in the middle warming up, we watched Jonny, who normally would take on the massive responsibility of putting on the Rammie suit, helped co-ordinate the children accompanying the players as they walk out on to the pitch for the start of the match.

Being part of the action and working pitch side when the stadium is packed and the crowd singing away always gives me a shiver down the spine! I keep having to pinch myself thinking just how fortunate we are to be getting this experience from the outset. I remember watching English football from a young age back in South Africa and never in my wildest imagination did I ever think that one day I'll be standing pitch side and being part of it!

Derby unfortunately lost 2-0 and the fight for an automatic promotion place is becoming an uphill struggle. Let's hope they pick up the form they've shown for most of the season and clinch that Premier League spot!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Applicant Day

It doesn't feel all that long ago I visited the University of Derby on an Open Day. In fact it was only a year ago! Now I have the pleasure of helping other students make that decision. I guess my circumstances was a little bit different to most other students but I was pretty certain that the University of Derby was the best choice for me. The biggest decision I had was to choose between Journalism and Sport Management. Less than a year later, I have no doubt I made the right decision! Nothing against journalism, in fact I think the UOD offers an amazing course, but Sport Management has not only offered me a wonderful experience and opportunities, but has already developed me personally. And I've made some great friends already along the way!
Lukas sharing his experience

Sharing this experience with others is a privilege of being an ambassador of the Sport Management degree. Today we took 5 candidates to the iPro stadium on a tour followed by a presentation and small group task. I think it is a great added bonus to hear the experience directly from the current students, who themselves were in the candidates shoes less than a year ago.

I thought Lukas did a great job as well. The beauty about it is that we don't have to cold sell the course - the passion and experiences we're sharing speaks for itself!
It was great talking to potential new colleagues and I'm sure they'll have an equally amazing experience should they be accepted and decide to join us. Thank you Sid for doing a great job showing the applicants around and Emily for offering up her time and hosting us.

Back at Kedleston Road, an enjoyable day was topped off with a bit of lunch and mingling with the students and their parents answering some questions.

Would be great to have these candidates on the course next year!
Good luck to you all in your decision making!

Friday, 13 March 2015

52 Academic weeks to go!

It is hard to believe there are only 52 weeks of academic lecturing left! It feels like only a few weeks ago I stepped onto Kedleston Road Campus and registering as a first year student. I guess the old saying "time flies when you're having fun" certainly applies to the Sport Management degree - at least at this stage!

Although the time has flown by there is no doubt the experience so far has been nothing short of incredible. The teaching has been great, the support endless and the opportunities provided through work placement have been amazing.

As I'm halfway through our final assignment for the year, I have to pinch myself to realise the first year is nearly complete and that it's not a dream. University is nothing what I expected - It's a million times better! I've made some great friends along the way, hopefully lifelong ones and let's hope the remaining few weeks of the year and the last couple of years are just as great.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Where do we find the time?

Time Management

I guess we all struggle at times to fit everything we want and need to do into our day. Perhaps one of the keys to managing it are two words in the opening sentence. "Want" and "Need". If we can differentiate our tasks between those that "need" to be done as against those we "want" to get done, it might be easier to prioritise things and plan your day.

"Prioritise" and "Plan" are two other important elements forming part of successful time management. No matter what sport we play, we'll go out there with a game plan. The same should apply to our day to day routines. Without a plan, there can be no sense of direction or purpose, which is a recipe for disaster. Remember, "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail".

Once we've established what we need and what we want - and it's important to find a balance between the two because we all have wants and want to enjoy ourselves - we need to plan our day by prioritising those tasks we feel need to be completed first or those which are most important.

Some tasks will have a deadline. This makes it a bit easier but sometimes it's hard to differentiate between the importance levels of some. Sometimes we're faced with a heavy load and we find ourselves jumping from one thing to another without completing anything.

I read a very good article the other day suggesting that a good way to tackle a problem of that nature, is to break the list down. Find the most important 3 things on the list and focus only on those until they're completed. Then move on to the next 3 things you feel are most important and so on.

I've already applied that to my weekly schedule and it certainly seems to be working. It's amazing how much time can be freed up to do the things we want once effective planning and prioritising has lead to the successful completion of those tasks that need to be done.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Ticketing Department - Derby vs Birmingham City

Soren working in the ticket office
Today I was given an opportunity to spend the day behind the scenes of operations in the ticketing department on match day. Customer service and good communication is vital within the department and it was good to see the likes of Soren, Daveids and Sam engage very well with the customers.

The actual game was only about 500 short of a sell-out but the majority of sales were season ticket renewals. I managed to get a good insight on how the system works as well as the communication needed between various departments and other staff within the department as well as customers.

Unfortunately Derby conceded two goals in stoppage time, finishing 2-2 which has left 4 teams tied at the top of the league, Derby 2nd on goal difference.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

An Evening with Sam Rush

Sam Rush at a Q&A event with students from the University of Derby

Sport Management and Business students were treated with a question and answer session with Sam Rush, CEO of Derby County Football Club, at the university yesterday. The event gave us a great insight into what it takes to be a successful leader and I managed to take quite a few handy tips away with me. It was hosted by Ian Roberts, Head of Derby's Business School, done in a very relaxed atmosphere as if they were chilling in the lounge.

Having met and listened to Sam Rush on a few occasions now, I get struck each time by how humble and down to earth he seems. In many ways he's no different to the ordinary guy on the street, your friend, one who enjoys a good laugh, but behind all of that is someone who has already achieved a great deal and a highly respected leader.

Mr Rush was voted as the FA's Chief Executive Officer of the Year recently by his fellow peers, quite a remarkable achievement! He put his success down to a few things, one of which is hard work! I think it's no secret that success and hard work go hand in hand. During a recent  talk by Keith Loring, ex-CEO of DCFC and consultant of Derbyshire County Cricket Club, emphasis was also put on hard work being the key to his success.

Mr Rush also mentioned what an important role his team around him plays. He believes much of his success is down to them and the fact that it's vitally important to have the right people for the right jobs. Everyone focussed on achieving the best results possible and all have a positive attitude in reaching the same goal.

Another key to his success is the fact that he listens to others. In his first 100 days as CEO of DCFC, Mr Rush said he focussed on meeting as many people in the business possible and listened to what they had to say.

Sport Management students and Lee with Sam Rush
I think those three points in itself serve as a great foundation to be a successful leader going forward. Hard work, employing the right people and listening to others are three attributes I certainly want to adopt which will hopefully help me become a successful leader too.