Student Sporting Insight #06 – Shivani Laddha

Following the completion of her undergraduate studies at Shri Ram College of Commerce, Shivani embarked on her professional journey as a Business Research Analyst at American Express. After dedicating two years to her role at the esteemed financial services corporation, Shivani transitioned to the world of sports by joining the India Super League as a League Manager.

Following a three-year tenure at the India Super League, Shivani resigned from her full-time position to pursue an MBA in Football Industries at the University of Liverpool.

In our latest insight, we delve into Shivani’s motivations for returning to academia, her experiences and insights gained from her time at the University of Liverpool, as well as the exciting prospects that have come her way since obtaining her MBA.

Student Profile

Name: Shivani Laddha

Nationality: Indian

Institution: University of Liverpool

Degree: MBA in Football Industries

After 6 years of full-time work experience, why did you decide to return to full-time education?

There were multiple reasons for this. However, the biggest one being that I wanted to make a vertical and horizontal shift within the sports industry.

While I was working in an industry that I am passionate about, I saw little growth in my role (operations). I want to get a formal education in the business of sports and switch to strategy/commercial/business development roles.

Pursuing an MBA after 6 years of work ex equipped me with the perfect conditions to thrive in an international setting.

After making the decision to return to pursue your studies, why did you feel the UK was the right destination for you?

I was leaning toward doing a regular MBA as against to enrolling in a sports management degree. After doing hours of research on tuition fees, visa regulations, and scholarship offers of different MBA courses, the FIMBA course made perfect sense to me.

Being a 1-year course and offering 2 years of graduate work visa in the UK (a mature sports industry) along with a 30% scholarship made it a perfect deal for me! I couldn’t not take up the offer.

The UK offers a wide range of fantastic sports degrees, the course that you studied, An MBA in Football Industries is a great example of that. What were some of the topics you covered on your course?

The MBA Football Industries or FIMBA was a very interesting course.

I got to study some core MBA modules such as Strategy, Leadership, Finance, Marketing, and International Business and some core sports business modules such as Football Finance, International Football Industry, Football Economics, Advanced Analytics, and Sports Law.

What was the highlight of your master’s degree programme?

Access to industry experts! Diversity of the cohort!

Doing a work-based project on a top that I am really passionate about (Women’s sports). Having a platform to put myself out there to potential employers. Nurturing my interpersonal skills. And lastly, becoming a more confident version of myself.

Based on your own personal experience, do you think that U.K. is a good destination for a student that wishes to pursue a sport related degree?

Yes! There are several reasons for this – firstly, the UK is a dynamic sports market. There are SO many sports that you can engage with. You will get access to a wide variety of opportunities whether you are just starting out or you want to switch industries.

In terms of tuition fees, universities in the UK are way more affordable than those in the USA.

Furthermore, the two-year graduate visa route sweetens the deal for incoming students. Having that flexibility to look for work after your course takes the load off you!

Lastly, sports professionals in the UK are very open to networking with students. A simple LinkedIn message can do wonders!

Since graduating from the University of Liverpool, what opportunities have you had?

I have been fortunate to have many opportunities to explore since I graduated – some in my dream roles and some in the mainstream. It is not so much about what opportunities I have had but more so how did I get those opportunities.

I did not get these by sitting idle. From Day 1, I have been actively putting myself out there on LinkedIn – constantly networking with like-minded professionals. Not only this but also sharing my MBA assignments out there for critical feedback. A lot went in the background. I worked really hard to get my dream job.

Is there anything else you feel may be relevant to a future U.K. university applicant who is considering studying a sport related degree at university or any further comment you wish to provide?

While moving to a new country is very exciting, don’t get lost in the stardom. I have come across so many students pursuing a sports degree only to come to the UK to watch football games!

Be clear about your career objectives before you make the big move. Make the most of your student status! You will never get this back. Seek feedback on your work from professors. Your professors will be the closest people who will introduce you to the industry experts.

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