Tell us about yourself

Aaditya, an Oregon MBA student attended the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. His inclination towards Sports Marketing led him half way across the globe to pursue the Sports MBA course at University of Oregon. Having a background in Business development and Analytics, he looks forward to pursuing a career in Business development consulting or Event management within the Sports industry.

Aaditya is currently Assistant Account Manager at Adidas in their Partner Program

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How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?

“The heart of human excellence often begins to beat, when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion”

It is probably this quote that sums up my desire to work in the sports industry. My heart probably started to beat when I was chosen as the Sports Head of my university, which gave me a chance to be involved with multiple facets of organizing sports events; from marketing the event to landing a sponsorship deal for funding it. My interest has only strengthened and has continued to grow exponentially ever since.

Having completed my undergrad degree in engineering in Electronics and Instrumentation from Vellore iNstitute of Technology, I got an opportunity to work with a Boston based digital marketing agency, Sapient. Life at Sapient was amazing, a good work life balance, financial stability, getting to live at my own place and weekend Cricket matches. What more could I have asked for?  Just when complacency started creeping in, and the desire to follow my dreams started dimming, I gave myself a kick in the butt. I decided to quit my job and join a sports startup while preparing for an MBA focusing in sport. And here I am, 2 years down the line and 8000 miles away from home, following my dream and pursuing a career in sports marketing at the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.

The transition has not been easy and has been filled with doubts and questions–which course to go for, which university to target, which country to target, and the biggest one- ‘Have I made a correct choice of getting into the sports industry’?

Through this blog I aim to answer a few of those questions.

Tell us about your journey

Coming from a conservative military family, the decision to take up sports as a career was not an easy one and I consider it to be the most important one that I have taken in my life. I find myself lucky to have very supporting parents who not only supported me but also pushed me that tad bit extra to overcome challenges coming my way- and believe me, there were many; especially after choosing a career option that was unconventional in my country. It was my parents’ sincere aspiration for me that I complete my Engineering degree as it could be a fall-back option in case the script of life threw unforeseen surprises. Having achieved my parents’ ambition for me, I believed that now was the time to follow my own interest and carve a path for myself in the sports industry and it was this dream of mine that has today brought me to University of Oregon pursuing the course of my choice.

Why Sports Marketing?

I was born and brought up in a family of people in love with sports. My father was a former all-India police tennis champion and my sister is the current goalkeeper for India’s national football team. I had always sincerely wished to be associated with sports in any capacity that I could, be it a player or an administrator. Being a player early in my career, I had the opportunity to get in touch with some supremely talented people who never really got an opportunity to showcase their talent and I have dreamt of playing a significant role in creating a sports structure for my country where every sportsman gets an opportunity when he/she deserves one. Once I learned about the sports MBA courses offered across the globe, it just seemed to be a logical extension of that dream of mine.

But choosing the sports marketing domain was a decision not driven by instinct but by careful research that I had done over a couple of years. I studied the market and spoke to professionals who were working in the industry and had been associated with brands such as F1, Nike, FIFA. Also, with the sports culture in India on an upswing and the advent of corporate giants in the sports industry, my faith that the sports industry would be one of the fastest growing industry in the next few years only strengthened. With the sports industry in India finally adopting sports other than cricket, and also being considered the hotbed by a major number of high profile sports team, I finally decided to take up the course and embark on my journey.

Why Warsaw Sports Marketing Center – University of Oregon?

By talking to professionals working in the industry and reading through information/blogs on the internet, the United States seemed to be one of the best places to pursue a sports marketing course and study about the various aspects involved with it. The U.S. has one of the biggest and the most organized sports industries across the world with major leagues such as NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, MLS and provides ample opportunities to expand the off-field experience to on-field experience.

The uniqueness of the course at the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center lies in its multi-dimensional course structure that focuses not only on the multiple facets of sports but also gives the business subjects its due importance. The key highlight of the course that I have experienced in my rather short tenure here is the strong bond between the Center and its alumni. In my two months here, I have had an opportunity to interact with numerous alumni who have been supportive and helpful in helping me understand the market and pave a path for myself in the sports industry here (though that is far from done, I can say for sure that I have taken my first step towards it).

How is life apart from the MBA program?

Well the program has so much to offer, especially in the first half of the term, that taking out time for other activities becomes a challenge. Did I just scare you off? Frankly, it is tiring- but we did pull out time to host group activities twice a week, participate in intramural soccer tournament, play tennis on weekends and a long enough trip along the coast. It’s basically about lasting through the first half of the term and the sailing is pretty smooth once the first hurdle is crossed. The two week long orientation, right at the start of the course, prepares you well enough and gives you a taste of how things are going to be in the first term. My advice would be: Hang in there.

Plan after the course?

I plan to steadily work towards building my profile during the course, with relevant project and internship experiences and in the process, strengthen my network. At the end of the course, I would ideally like to see myself in a business development-consulting role or in the Global Product Marketing domain. My long-term goal is to return to the country of my origin and help create a ‘sporty-er’ country. I would have achieved my dream if I could do my bit in creating a structured sports industry in India, which would encourage and reward true genuine sports talent and not let them fade away into obscurity.

Advice to those looking at the course:

Dream big and follow those dreams- for no dream is ever too big and no dreamer is ever too small! Give your dream the best shot you’ve got and the results would follow.