Industry, Professional Development

A Year In The Life of A Sports Management Graduate

Meet Seb Zancan, Administration Officer, Vicsport.

Vicsport’s Administration Officer, Seb Zancan completed a Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) at La Trobe University in 2013. He recounts his transition from student and soccer coach to full-time professional.

After completing a Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) at La Trobe University in 2013, I took on a graduate position at Vicsport as Administration Officer. Stepping into the full time landscape for the first time was both a challenge and an opportunity. No longer were the days of sleeping in and rocking up to work at midday for a 4 hour shift of soccer coaching; now it was time to don office attire and commit to a 40 hour week and waking at 6:00am.

It was a swift transition from being a uni student and completing my final exam on Friday 22nd November, to starting at Vicsport in a full time capacity on Monday the 25th. Although many would have welcomed a break and some time off, I was excited by the opportunity to kick-start my career as soon as possible and was very much looking forward to beginning the role.

This article is an opportunity for me to reflect on some of the work I have done and experiences I have had, as well as providing some tips and advice for those who may be in a similar position to myself not too long ago.

Over the past year I have been exposed to a wide range of professional challenges, which has been fantastic. These areas have included but not limited to, assisting with the coordination of the 2013 and 2014 Victorian Sport Awards, supporting projects related to ‘Sports Injury Prevention’ and ‘Safeguarding and Child Protection in Victorian Sport’, coordinating monthly Vicsport President’s Breakfasts in which Vicsport consult with State Sporting Association Presidents, and coordinating Vicsport education workshops for our members and other organisations in the sector.

I found it extremely rewarding to make a contribution to the successful running of the 2013 and 2014 Victorian Sport Awards ceremonies held at the MCG, which recognised the outstanding achievements of Victorian athletes, teams, coaches, officials, organisations and administrators. The ceremonies attracted over 400 people and they were fantastic nights.

It was valuable to play a supporting role in project work that addressed important issues affecting the Victorian sports sector. Being involved in conversations and meetings with experts on sports injury prevention and child protection helped me gain a greater understanding of the issues, where the gaps are and what can be done to minimise them.

From a personal perspective it has been great to be able to take responsibility for a number of areas and lead on them. Organising monthly President’s Breakfasts to enable Vicsport to gain insight from our members on issues that their sports are facing, as well as coordinating Vicsport education workshops has assisted me to become more proactive in this space and with other areas of work.

Undertaking a variety of work has been beneficial for my individual professional development, personal development and also for building networks within the sports industry. The number of people that I have met and worked with over the course of the year is extensive and I feel that familiarising myself with people in the sector has made it easier to perform my role to a higher standard, especially as my job involves plenty of communication with a diverse contingent. I can imagine that those of you doing a sports management degree or similar at uni have your lecturers and course coordinators emphasising the importance of networking, but after experiencing it firsthand this year, I can certainly attest to the value of engaging in events that enable you to meet likeminded individuals and organisations.

On a number of occasions, I have been asked what advice I would give to somebody who is in the same position as me a year ago, or somebody first entering a full time profession. My key message would be to make the most of opportunities. If you are undertaking a placement as part of your course, put in the effort to be the best you can be as it could go a long way to getting you into the workforce. I had an extremely rewarding experience on my placement at Melbourne Storm. I was exposed to the professional landscape for the first time, had involvement in a variety of work, and had very supportive colleagues that were willing to help me along the way. If you are beginning a role, meet as many people as you can and involve yourself in as wide a range of work as possible to broaden your capacity and networks.

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