2 July 2011

Kicking Goals

Australia’s oldest football club might seem an unusual place for a group of management students to apply their rapidly developing business acumen.

Nevertheless, our association with some dedicated Master of Management candidates has definitely yielded benefits for everyone involved. It all started about three-years-ago when we were asked to consider a role in the postgraduate program. We quickly came up with the idea of setting some students to work on some case studies dealing with the issues that Sydney Uni Football Club faces on a daily basis. Chief among these was the recruitment and retention of sponsors, looking at ways of giving them additional value in terms of why they should continue or perhaps commence an involvement with the sixth-oldest rugby club in the world. The issues of student engagement and the need to generate increased rugby participation rates were also canvassed.

In the end, the students (of which only one actually played rugby) came up with a set of recommendations to improve our business model, some of which we’d simply never thought of previously. For example, they looked at membership pricing structure and suggested ways of creating consistency between what members got for the money they outlaid. They also examined other prominent rugby universities around the world to see how they were achieving success in terms of engaging students and supporters. Tellingly, we implemented as many of their ideas as we possibly could.

For us it was a fantastic experience. The students were enthusiastic and bright, and there’s currently ongoing discussion as to what our next collaborative project will be. At the Sydney University Football Club we always try and associate ourselves with world-class brand names and individuals. It’s fair to say that our relationship with the Master of Management program is definitely a part of that.

Author: Ray Dearlove, General Manager, Sydney University Football Club

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