Alex Phillips

Football Industries MBA, 1998

Prior to the MBA I was working in business information in the City in London for a small firm that is now part of Thomson Reuters. Having studied languages, I helped the company to set up offices in France, Spain and Italy.

Why did you choose to study an MBA?

My rationale was: “if I am going to work in an office for the rest of my life, then I want to be doing it in an area that I am passionate about – football”.  It was as simple as that. 

I was hoping to achieve one objective, namely to switch career to the football industry.

What skills and knowledge do you feel you developed?

I developed a large range of skills and knowledge.  First and foremost, I had the time, space and people around me to help develop my thinking and ideas – some of which have stayed with me until today.  I also learnt research skills, such as conducting a large survey, and knowledge in many specialist areas.  The contacts that I built also meant that I could keep developing that knowledge on an ongoing basis and into the future.

Did you make use of the careers support available?

Luckily I did not need to make use of the careers support available, as I had already managed to secure two work placements: one at The English Football Association, and the other at Deloitte in the Sport Business Group.  The latter led to a full-time position as a management consultant.

What aspects of the programme did you most enjoy/find most useful?

The most useful and enjoyable parts of the programme for me were the external speakers, who were very varied and of a very high level – which gave us all great insight into the specific nature of the football industry.

Some of the core (generic) MBA modules also provided useful theoretical background and perspectives on what I had already experienced – especially in marketing, but also strategy and management – and for the future.

The group of participants was fantastic and the course leaders were great.

How did you manage to juggle MBA study with work commitments?

My MBA was one-year full-time so I resigned from my job to undertake the MBA.  I had confidence that with my own ability, and with such a qualification, I could take such a gamble and switch careers into football.

Where are you working now, what is your job title and what does your role entail?

Today I am the Head of Governance and Compliance at UEFA, the European football governing body. My role consists of working to ensure that UEFA’s activities in terms of good governance, risk management and compliance are functioning properly.

Do you feel the MBA has helped your career progression?

My MBA was essential to my career progression, without it I would not have been able to switch career achieve what I have. The MBA, together with my previous working experience, provided me with the basis for most of the knowledge and skills that I use in my current role.


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