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5 Fantastic Sports Careers For MBAs

Whether it’s the dynamic world of sports governance, or the strategy of sports merchandising, there’s a host of opportunities for MBAs looking for sports careers


Mon May 20 2019

The Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager, Billy Beane, are famous for one thing: Moneyball. A book, then a film, Moneyball showcased the team’s deeply-analytical approach, which helped them overcome a small budget and compete with the big boys of baseball.

Today, the term, Moneyball, is well-known in the sports industry. It highlights the way analytics, statistics, and a business mind-set are increasingly relevant in modern sport.

The prospect of making a career in sports is no longer confined to those directly involved in the game. As the business and market value of sport grows, so do the number of exciting positions available to those who see competition as something more than pure entertainment.

Here are five fantastic jobs in the sporting world for sports management MBAs:

1. Sports Governance


© Wikicommons / Anne Jea

Recent scandals involving the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have intertwined political and sporting spheres—such as the ban of Russian athletes at the Rio Paralympics and Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. 

Michael Tapiro, director of Sports Management School (SMS) in Paris, describes sport as a ‘social and political lever’; a kind of soft power.  Stretching across the world through vast international organizations, sport can often play as important a role as politicians in the diplomacy of nations.

Opportunities for involvement in sports governance can promise great political and economic influence, but only to candidates with the right management skills. Students on the MBA in Sports Management at SMS have access to courses on international sports governance and sports international relations, as well as organizations like the International Olympics Committee (IOC).

2. Sporting Goods Manufacturing


The Nike tick is one of the most recognizable logos around the world, and the Adidas trefoil has long been a hallmark of quality. Working at brands like Nike or Adidas, valued at $15.9 billion and $6.8 billion respectively, requires a combination of business know-how and a diverse understanding of sports, which a conventional MBA wouldn’t necessarily offer.

Students on the International MBA in Sports Management at SMS can choose from courses in marketing, licensing, and merchandising. Budding sportswear entrepreneurs can take optional courses in building new ventures.

3. Sports Charity Work


© VLADACANON via iStock

Have you ever been asked to donate for a sponsored bike-ride, or to participate in a fun-run for charity? This is just the thin end of the wedge of a huge world of sports charities which has expanded on a global scale.

Sports has been used as a tool for many things, including developing communities, encouraging wellbeing, and raising money. Look at: Kids in the Game. The US-based charity works within schools and community organizations to encourage children to get regular physical exercise. The charity has supported over 10,000 community projects and has reached over 300,000 children.

Finding jobs in a sports charity, and other sports jobs, can be challenging, but is helped through platforms like Sportyjob, where SMS graduate Rosalie Rulquin currently works. “I’m passionate about my job because I can take part in everything from a recruitment event to the first edition of a marathon.”

4. Professional Sports Clubs


© Aitormmfoto via iStock

In almost any country you visit, soccer shirts with the names ‘Messi’ and ‘Ronaldo’ written on the back are as universally recognized as a country’s national flag.

Today’s sports clubs—and sports stars—are global brands. The scale of money in professional sport—a lot of it from TV rights and sponsorship—is huge, with billions of dollars of investment flooding everything from soccer to basketball and football.

This influx of capital creates a need for management talent and a diversity of sports management jobs for MBAs. The International MBA in Sports Management at SMS prepares students for these jobs with courses on sports business communications and public relations as well as strategy, sports accounting, and finance. Students also get to take on real-life consulting opportunities and projects related to the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics. 

SMS graduates Nicolas Pernes, an account manager at French Ligue 1 soccer champions Paris Saint-Germain, sees the skills he picked up as indispensable to his current role. “[I still use] my skills of negotiation, management, and the ability to communicate with a global public,” Nicolas stresses.

5. Sports Journalism


© Daniel Ernst via BigStock

Almost half the world’s population—3.4 billion viewers—watched the FIFA World Cup in Russia online or on TV. Catering for this vast audience is a sophisticated network of broadcasting and media organizations whose job, ultimately, is to capture those moments for which millions wait with bated breath.

Consequently, media and journalism training make up a significant portion of the International MBA at Sports Management School. The program covers aspects of marketing strategy, which look at image and TV network rights, and student get to work on the delivery of upcoming French sporting events like the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Journalism isn’t a common career destination for MBA grads. But getting involved in sports journalism offers huge opportunities.