Amy Lee pursued the Football Industries (FI) MBA at the UK’s University of Liverpool Management School (ULMS) driven by the desire to work on the business side of the sports industry.
After it, she achieved her goals. She now works as a senior director of global media distribution for the National Basketball Association (NBA) in London.
While few business schools offer a sports specialization, the sports market value in North America alone is expected to reach $73.5 billion by 2019, according to research by PwC.
It’s a huge and growing industry with global reach and an influence that continues to diversify. More and more big tech firms—like IBM, Verizon, and Amazon—are now working in the field in different capacities.
The University of Liverpool’s FIMBA is SportBusiness International’s top-ranked sports MBA in the UK and top-ranked football master’s degree globally.
For Amy, the school’s reputation, extensive alumni network, and support system proved invaluable in her career progression. When looking for a job after graduation, her first port of call were the school’s alumni who helped open doors to more senior roles in sport.
BusinessBecause caught up with Amy to find out more.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at the University of Liverpool Management School?
When I was looking to pursue my postgraduate studies, there were not many programs focused on the sports industry, but the Football Industries MBA at ULMS stood out for several reasons.
First, it fit what I was looking for—a master’s program that would be a good stepping stone to enter the sports industry. Secondly, at the time the program was nearly a decade-old and had a good network of alumni in the industry, which still continues to expand.
Finally, the fact that the program is very business-focused was appealing to me. This was the side of the industry that interested me most.
How did your career progress after the MBA?
I first worked for a TV production company and about a year later, one of the alumni offered me an opportunity to interview with Sportfive—the biggest football media rights agency at the time.I spent six years there and learnt a lot about the media rights business. At one point, I found myself working with three other FIMBA alumni in the Sportfive office in Geneva!
The program has earned a good reputation in the industry and I have no doubt it helped my application to the NBA as well.
Why is business education in today’s sports industry important?
Corporate governance is of paramount importance to our industry and I believe MBA graduates all offer expertise, professional skills and knowledge that the industry can benefit from.
Never forget that the sports industry is not a self-contained one. The industry has always been and is working more and more with companies that aren’t just an apparel or equipment manufacturer, or a car brand or a bank that wants to be associated with a sports brands.
As our industry diversifies and expands, you need people with experience in developing areas like data management and technology to keep the industry evolving and moving with the time.
What’s the future for women in the sports industry?
It’s still a very male dominated industry! I’ve been lucky in this regard. When I first joined Sportfive I was working in an office with three female and two male salespeople, which is very rare for a company like that.
The NBA also heavily promotes equality, and we have a lot of women executives at senior level. So, I think I’ve been very fortunate throughout my career.
These days, a lot of people talk about promoting women in the industry. Still, I prefer to see people being judged by merit rather than because of positive discrimination.
What advice do you have for anyone considering an MBA?
An MBA is definitely worth it. Do some research on the program, and think about whether the program you’re considering will offer you the career path you want to embark upon.
The best thing I gained from the FIMBA was the alumni network, so definitely do a bit of research on that too. Try to interview some alumni of the program and ask them about their experience and their career development since graduation.
The University of Liverpool Management School teaching staff are amazing at connecting both prospective and new students with alumni.