Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

How My MBA Helped Me Land A Job In The FIFA World Cup

A sports business and ticketing professional currently working at the FIFA World Cup Qatar discusses his path into the business of sport, and how his Football Industries MBA helped him score his role


Fri Nov 4 2022

Shah-Zeib Ahmed found his passion when he worked in ticketing for the Brazil World Cup in 2014. Eight years later, with the help of a football industry-focused MBA, he has crafted a career in sports, which led to him launching his own consultancy and which now takes him to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup.

After his first taste of working in soccer, Shah set out to build his skill set and knowledge base, seeking out the Football Industries MBA at The University of Liverpool School of Management. There he gained an invaluable network of contacts that catapulted him into his dream profession, where he plays an essential role in world's largest sporting events, including this year's FIFA World Cup. 

Discovering a dream career at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Shah's journey to a career in sporting events was a slow burn. An Austrian Native, Shah (pictured) was first exposed to the world of sport during his mandatory military service when he was involved in hosting the winter military games. Then, during his undergraduate degree, he worked on a project with Red Bull on a market entry plan for Southeast Asia, focused on extreme sports.

However, he was still set on a career in Big Four Consulting, and it wasn't until he was working on the 2014 Rio FIFA World Cup that he decided that the sports industry was his passion.

MATCH Hospitality, the designated ticketing services for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, recruited Shah to take care of several key clients during the event, including the German Football Association (DFB) – whose team lifted the trophy that year. 

This position took him to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, where part of assignment saw him working closely with DFB's disabled supporters. During the France versus Germany quarter-final match, Shah checked to see if the disabled fans had made it into the historic Maracanã Stadium. 

"I approached the section where the disabled fans were seated as Mats Hummels scored the winning goal that sent them to the semis. I was embraced by random people all around, and one of those supporters said, ‘If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have made it to the game’.

"At that point, I realized this is much more than what it appears on television. And I wanted to make it a career," Shah explains. 


Finding the Liverpool Football Industries MBA 

After deciding that he wanted to launch a career in the sports industry, he took a step back to understand how to navigate it.

"My long-term aim was always to equip myself with an MBA because it gives you more leadership acumen, networking skills, and strong academic fundamentals to proceed with your career in a higher managerial position," Shah says.  

Many factors led to his decision to join the Liverpool Football Industries MBA over other sports management programs and generic MBAs, he says.

"First, the program was the only one worldwide geared toward the sports industry while providing a Russell Group Certified Masters in Business Administration.”

"Also, the strong alumni network proactively supports prospective applicants," Shah says. “They were very helpful in answering questions, talking about their journey, and how it helped them

The program’s global accreditations also drew Shah to apply. The Football Industries MBA is ranked 25th in the SportBusiness Postgraduate Course Rankings for 2021.


Gaining experience and resources at the Football Industries MBA

The Liverpool Football Industries MBA provides students with a transferable skill set and invaluable resources, such as a robust professional network. 

Shah prioritized networking with guest speakers, alums working in the industry, and industry veterans. 

"I made sure that everyone from the groundskeeper at Celtic Park knew my name all the way to Richard Masters [chief executive of the Premier League], who I met during my time at the university," Shah explains. 


Curating his sports industry career

Shah credits landing his first role as a ticketing manager for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to the extensive network he expanded at Liverpool and his academic achievements, particularly his work-based project. 

The MBA's work-based project allows students, over the summer, to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the program to an organization. Using management research and data collection methods, they explore an area of interest with their chosen organization.

Shah worked with FIFA and tapped into a research subject that was becoming increasingly popular at the time—women's football.

"I used that opportunity to meet previous colleagues who told me about a job that was coming up. I ended up applying for it and landing it before lifting my [MBA] scroll." 

His new role took Shah to Switzerland for over two years; he then relocated back to the UK and joined the Rugby League World Cup. Before the tournament began, FIFA approached him. 

"FIFA called me and said, ‘We need you. Do you want to come?’ I said absolutely.  

This also led to him launching his own sports business consultancy, glosancon-sports, specializing in ticketing.

Shah finds the skills he gained at the Football Industries MBA a constant asset, from critical thinking to professionally formulating arguments, and writing concisely. Liverpool also equipped him with an understanding of the dynamics of the sports business industry, which depends on adaptability and flexibility. 

"It's like no other industry because it depends on the competitive outcome of what happens on the pitch."

These skills and knowledge have put Shah in the best position possible as he heads to Qatar and roots for the English team to bring home the biggest trophy of all.  

"I think the combination of both the academic programs and networking opportunities—and quite a bit of a self-initiative—allowed me to equip myself with strong [business] fundamentals, allowing me to prosper."

Next Read:

Sports Management Degree Grads Are Landing Top Jobs In The Sports Industry—Here’s How

Main article image credited to @JukoFF with the rights of this license

Student Reviews

University of Liverpool School of Management




On Campus

My experience in UOL

Well I won't tell you about all the great things about this university. But I'll just tell you my honest experience about it. I have visited almost all the places here. This university knows how take care of their students. Be it any aspect, be it career and placement department, be it societies, be it organising committees, they know what all issues a student can face and they are ready with the solutions already. Professors here are so welcoming. You can literarily bother them ample number of times but they will still be so nice with you. They actually put a lot of efforts to make letures more fun. They try their best to focus on each and every student and check if they are comfortable or now. Coming to the offerings. They know that there will be a lot of international students and there will be a lot of issues they will face in adjustment over here. So they organised a lot of events, distributed a lot of free vouchers just to make students feel welcomed over here. Trust me if you are looking for a Uni for yourself or for someone, do add this one on your priority list.




On Campus

Fantastic school

The lecturers are incredibly experienced in their field of study, and it shows when they teach. They know what they are talking about, and that instills a level of trust that you have made the right choice coming to this university. They are supportive and charismatic - exactly how lecturers should be! The accommodation is all fantastic too. Homely, comfortable, so close to campus. Even Greenbank, which is a 15 minute bus journey from campus, has its perks (heavily discounted bus pass - from £400 to £60 and free gym membership). There are so many societies too! Literally one for everything. During the society fair, they were all so welcoming which is so great to see. The lecture theatres are all top-notch too. It feels so modernistic. It really feels like I have had a big step up from sixth form to university. I made the right choice by coming to UoL!




On Campus

Original RedBrick Review!!

The Marketing Course at this uni a great course with exceptional industry connections - for example a brand assessment centre from The Hut Group and an assessment centre at Anfield Football Stadium! The campus is great as it is all connected and everything can be found there - so whether you are a Starbucks or Cafe Nero kind of person the campus has everything. Freshers is great with campus tours, city walks and course talks to connect you with fellow coursemates. Halls was also a great experience - I loved the halls packs where you can get free tshirts, baking kits and we even got free dominoes pizzas!!




On Campus

Enjoyed every aspect of it!

My experience studying Marketing at the University of Liverpool has been amazing! All the lecturers and students have been so lovely and helpful. The management school building is my favourite place to study. I would recommend studying Marketing at the University of Liverpool because the content is so engaging and the assignments are creative.






Perfect learning methodologies and curriculums, the most i liked about my learning experience with University of Liverpool is the professionalism, in delivering the subjects and helping the students gaining more knowledge.




On Campus

Amazing course

The marketing course at UOL is great the lecturers are helpful and provide in-person and online resources to succeed in assignments, and the careers department is extremely helpful. The modules are all relevant and have expanded my understanding of the marketing industry and consumer behaviour, social media and so on




On Campus

The Best Experience

Currently in my Second Year studying Marketing at the University of Liverpool. Due to the big student culture in Liverpool, you soon feel completely at ease and at home. Staff are extremely helpful - there is always opportunities to ask for additional support/guidance. Each module is clear and well organised - this definitely helps in first year when it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with the new workload. It’s very easy to find your way around due to it being a campus university as everything is in close proximity. I lived at Greenbank accommodation in my first year and the staff are so helpful and make you feel very well settled. There is a huge community feel and the modules are interactive meaning making friends is much easier and a lot less intimidating. If you’re considering attending this university and I honestly couldn’t recommend more - you’ll have the best experience!




On Campus


One of my favourite things about this university is the diversity of its people. I met so many different people during my time here, from all different backgrounds and experiences. Not only did these people provide me with insight and knowledge into their own cultures and beliefs, they also allowed me to learn about and understand different ways of life that I would have otherwise never been exposed to. The tutors were also incredibly supportive on this course and allowed me to excel.




On Campus

Great university!

I did my undergrad in film studies at LJMU and I honestly could not recommend it enough. It has the perfect mix of practical and theory work that prepares you for any job possible in the film industry, from lighting tech to AD. The university lecturers were also very attentive, and I felt comfortable enough with them to seek their help if I ever had an issue or concern, academic or personal. LJMU gave me experiences I would not have got anywhere else, offering summer placements completely free that broadened my horizons. The fact the campus is interspersed around the city also makes it very convenient.

Related Content: