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Q&A: High performance Sport for high performing student

Q&A: High performance Sport for high performing student

April 18, 2023

ICMS Dean’s List student Mark Ray is boosting his already high flying career in high performance sport through pursuing a degree in this exciting field.

Mark is studying an ICMS Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) while working fulltime in multiple roles within high performance sport as well. He started with an ISCA Diploma in Sports Management (High Performance) before transitioning to the bachelor degree, and will graduate this year (2023).*

Mark’s path as an ICMS student has been out of the ordinary, having chosen to pick up tertiary study in sports management while already succeeding in the industry.

We asked him a couple of questions around why he went back to studying, how he manages to juggle everything so successfully – across continents and time zones, and what his plans are for the future.

Q: As an older student who already had work experience in the sporting sector – what prompted you to pursue tertiary study?

A: It has been an interesting journey for me as a mature-aged student with extensive experience in the sports industry. The loss of my job as a result of the Covid pandemic motivated me to finally pursue tertiary education.

It was during that period that I realised I wanted more and greater opportunities for myself, because of the impact it had on our lives. It is through studying that I can gain a broader understanding of the concepts that contribute to the success of sporting events, competitions, athletic competitions, and business.

Q: You started your studies with an ISCA Diploma of Sports Management (High Performance) – why did you pick this course? And why did you decide to transition to complete a Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) at ICMS?

A: For me, school has always been a mental block since my high school years weren’t very memorable. For example, I sustained significant physical injuries during my secondary and adolescent years.

As a result of these injuries, I was restricted in my mobility. I experienced negative learning experiences and anxiety surrounding learning due to these external influences and injuries. It was therefore ideal for me to commit to learning in stages such as beginning at the International Sport College of Australia (ISCA), after thorough investigation and consideration I believed if further education wasn’t for me, I could leave after one year with a Diploma in Sports Management (High Performance).

It was the allure of the combined hands-on activities paired with comprehensive assigned subjects that attracted me to the diploma opportunity at ISCA. Throughout my time at ISCA, I loved the challenge and the betterment of myself.

My newfound sense of purpose made me absorb my lecturers’ knowledge like a sponge, and my ISCA courses could be transferred to the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) degree.

As a result, I have enjoyed my time at ICMS, and I have made the Dean’s List a few times.

Q: You are currently working full time in a high-performance sport role – as well as studying. Can you explain what do you do in a usual day?

A: Aside from studying full-time at ICMS, I work full-time and part-time in multiple roles within high performance sport as well. In addition to serving as the Global High-Performance Lead for Mobii Systems, I am also the Judicial Liaison Officer for SANZAR Pty Ltd (Super Rugby Pacific and The Rugby Championship) and coach/advise a few sporting codes.

My days are quite hectic due to work and study commitments. I could get up at 3am to have video calls (spanning the UK, US, and Africa) or catch up with senior colleagues in Cape Town before starting my regular workday at 6am, as an example.

I will then spend time with my family over breakfast and complete urgent tasks that assist colleagues. As part of the day, I will participate in ICMS classes, and I will also manage additional planning and implementation meetings with computer developers and designers.

In the evening, I will have further meetings and work (if Super Rugby/The Rugby Championship/World Rugby judicial hearings are required, I will assist with them).

After that, I will spend time with family before reconnecting with South Africa and ending the day with university assessments where necessary.

Q: What does a career in high performance sport involve and what other opportunities have you identified in high performance sport?

A: A career in high performance sport involves working with elite athletes and teams in order to help them reach their maximum potential. Getting into the high performance sports industry requires education, experience, networking, and a combination of skills. Coaching, sports science, medicine, nutrition, psychology, performance analysis, and management are all part of it.

The first thing you’ll do is earn a degree in sports related areas, like the ICMS Bachelor of Business (Sports Management), or via the coaching route.

By interning, volunteering, or getting an entry-level job, you’ll get practical experience. As a result of volunteering, I climbed the corporate ladder through hard work. It’s also helpful to make contacts in the industry for career opportunities.

From my experience over a decade, a career in high performance sport might have a different day every day.

For example, a Coach may work with athletes or teams, design training programs, and analyse the opposition’s performances.

Or something I know well: a Performance Analyst analyses game footage and gives coaches and athletes insights on how to improve tactics and strategies. They do this by researching, analysing data, and coming up with new ways to boost athletes’ performance.

Either way, understanding sports business and management will elevate your role and ability to execute practical work. Working in high performance sports generally means long hours, irregular schedules, and a lot of pressure, but if you’re passionate about sports and want to help athletes succeed, this is a fantastic career.

Q: What other opportunities have you identified in high performance sport?

A: Currently, I am studying Sports Governance (SPO303A) and Project Management (BUS304A) with Kristen Beck and Deji Okuneye respectively, two outstanding lecturers in the field of business and sports management.

Professional sporting organisations can achieve higher and more meaningful performance by combining these two subjects (as an example of identifying the correlation between ICMS study and real-life), which in turn results in more impactful decision-making.

Q: How will your degree help you in your career?

A: By studying a business degree with a sports management focus, I can expand my business knowledge, learn the fundamentals I need to succeed, and enjoy my career.

Also, employers will know that I am committed to obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Business (Sports Management). Being dedicated means working hard for extended periods of time and having a vision for the future, which is a good sign that I will be a great addition to their company.

Q: What has your experience been like studying Sports Management at ICMS?

A: Since I have been traveling internationally, working full-time and studying full-time during the duration of my study, my experience may differ from that of other students studying ICMS.

During my time as a student, I have attended both online and physical lectures. I am glad to note that impactful leadership has been promoted throughout. My cohort has been moulded with realistic experiences and knowledge through ICMS.

Q: You are a Dean’s List student. What does this mean? And what advice would you give to fellow students about making the most of their studies?

A: The focus I have placed on myself has been solely on self-development. I have not chased awards or meant to stand out among the crowd as I believe my studies have improved my broader abilities. As a bonus, I have consistently achieved the Dean’s List and done well.

In short, I advise other students to focus on themselves. If you really put effort into learning, you will become a better employee or manager, regardless of your achievements.

Success is the result of your moment-to-moment efforts.

To connect with Mark Ray, click here.

For more information about ISCA Diploma of Sports Management (High Performance), click here.

For more information about the ICMS Bachelor of Business (Sports Management), click here.


Bachelor of Business (Sports Management), News