This section will address how to select which program you should attend.
MOTIVATIONS FOR DEGREE
You should be looking into this degree not only if you are passionate about sports, but if you are sure that you want a career in managing sports teams or being part of sports administrations. Usually, individuals who are unable to pursue a career as sports professionals but are extremely passionate about it go into this field. It is important to remember that sports management jobs are not as glamorous as being a cricket or tennis player.
These days, even many entry level jobs in the sports world require a graduate degree or some sort of qualification, and if you are positive that you want to enter this field, then a Master in Sports Management will be invaluable.
If you are currently unsure as to whether you want to make a career out of sports, but still wish to keep the option open, you can do an MBA, a Law Degree, or any other more traditional business program. A lot of professionals in the sports field do not have sports-specific degrees because of this very reason. Do note however, that opting for only a business track instead will deprive you of the opportunities you will find in a Sports Management specific degree, such as specific resume writing workshops and mock interviews for this field.
TYPES OF DEGREE
In a nutshell, the following degrees + sub-fields/ specializations are available for Master’s in Sports Management:
- Master of Business Administration in Sports Management
- Master of Science in Sports Management
Course content will vary from university to university, and so it is a good idea to carefully read university websites on what their course is like. A Master’s in Sports Management can take 1-2 years to complete.
Here are some factors to think about when deciding between programs:
- Practicality of the program — See what sorts of courses the institution offers. Do they align with the sort of learning that sports related jobs expect you to have in the field at the moment?
- Are internships part of the program? — Work experience as part of the program is an important part of many sports management degrees. Will your degree give you enough professional experience or not? What are the restrictions for international applicants, if there are any?
- Does it match what you want to do? — Is there a specific aspect of sports management that you want to go into? Are they offering courses that match what you wish to do in your career in the future?
- Faculty — Does the institution have faculty that are highly esteemed in the sports world? Do they have sports professionals working for them?
In a nutshell, the following sub-fields/concentrations are typically available for Sports Management:
- Sports Law: Here you will learn about legal principles, judicial decision-making, insurance, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, consumer protection, contractual relationships, and agency representation. Career options with this concentration are: collegiate compliance officer, sports agent, general sports manager, athletic director, etc.
- Coaching: You should go for this concentration if you feel you have what it takes to help athletes at the collegiate and professional level. Here, you will get to study psychological and physiological performance training and evaluation. Career options with this concentration are: athletic director, head coach, sports coordinator, sport administrator, etc.
- Sports Analytics: This track is focused more on data collection and interpretation methods. You get to learn how to analyze individual and team performance. Career options with this concentration are: sports administrator, athletic director, collegiate compliance officer, sports agent, general sports manager, director of player engagement, etc.
- Sports Administration: This concentration focuses more on the business side of sports. Here you will learn about sports research, mitigation, data analytics, legal and ethical issues, as well as sports marketing, public relations, and technology in sports. Career options with this concentration are: athletic director, sports marketer, front office manager, athletics administrator, etc.
- Sports Marketing: Here, you will learn marketing strategies, such as branding, sponsorship, and promotions. Some topics here are market segmentation, data-based marketing, and the legal aspects of marketing contracts.
You can also check out the following fields if you are interested in Sports Management:
- Business Administration
- Sports Leadership
- Sports Medicine
How to select the best option for yourself (among allied fields)
- As stated in the “Motivations for Degree” section, this depends wholly on how sure you are that you want to enter the sports field in the future. A simple MBA makes sense if you are not completely sure.
- Here is a great resource to help you choose between degrees in Sports Management and Sports Leadership. Note that Sports Leadership programs are more appropriate for mid-career professionals who want to move up in their careers.
- Perhaps, instead of doing a degree (which will also give you accreditation), you might be interested in doing a shorter program that gets you certification/accreditation. This depends on what type of job you want. If, for example, you want to get an entry-level job (such as working at a health club) or continue with your education, a certificate might be a better option. A Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management would help getting jobs in finance, marketing, sales, and public relations. A Master’s degree would help you in getting an upper management job, or an even higher level post.
This link provides a comprehensive list of schools in the USA that offer sport related Master’s.
Complement the above field-specific tips with general tips on program selection (under the tab of ‘selection’).
A lot of our tips talk about how you can strengthen your application, but you can build a stronger application when you’ve done the things this program values in the years prior to the application. The application itself is the communication part (in which you communicate what you've done to the admission committee); but this section gives guidance on the substance part (what you can actually do before you apply). In this section we talk about what you can do in the years leading up to applying that can make you an ideal candidate. Supplement the following tips with general tips (under the tab of ‘Pre-Application’) to become a competitive applicant.
Students interested in applying for Sports Management in the USA do not need to have a specific degree before applying to the Masters program, but a Management or Business related Bachelor’s degree could put you in a better position in your application.
Some universities may require you to do some coursework related to this field. See the CourseWork section below for more information.
Some universities will expect you to have done coursework in management or sports management courses before you can apply to their programs. Make sure to check these requirements extremely carefully when you’re going through your desired university’s pages. Generally, coursework in this field is recommended.
A lot of universities specify that you need at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale to apply. It is recommended that you try to get the highest GPA to increase your chances of admission. Some universities will have less stringent requirements, such as 2.5 or 2.75.
Most schools expect you to have prior professional experience in the sports industry before you can apply. Although opportunities like this can be scarce in Pakistan, try to actively seek these out. Try to visit the Pakistan Cricket Board or ring them up and ask them how you could intern for them, for example. Try to find jobs in your university or other universities as a sports coordinator or sports event/project organizer. Even some schools have openings for sports directors or administrators.
If you take a gap year after your undergraduate degree, it is absolutely crucial that you have relevant work experience. If you do not have professional experience specifically in the sports industry, make sure you at least have work experience in the business field, and show your passion for sports management in other aspects of your application.
This is not a requirement for this program, but any experience that can be linked to Sports Management or your passion for sports (in your personal statement, for example) can help make your application better.
Most universities and schools in Pakistan will have sports teams and societies. It is highly recommended that you get involved with these at any point possible. Try to join a sports team, or better yet, manage a sports team or the administration of the society. In a lot of sport societies of universities, there are roles for sports representatives, managers, administrators, organizers, etc. Some students are involved with trying to market sports events and finding sponsorships, while some students have to take care of the grounds and equipment. All this sort of experience can be invaluable for your application, as it will show your passion and involvement with the sporting world.
This section provides an overview of general guidelines pertaining to the application process. It also delineates the key components of the application process.
- No. of Universities to Apply: 5-8
Refer to the Program Selection Section for further information.
Is this component required?
How important is this component (in the overall review of the application for admission)?
Standardized tests or entry exams
GRE and/or GMAT often required
TOEFL/IELTS often required
Transcripts (past academic records)
Letters of recommendation
Resume or CV
- At this point, if you are seriously considering graduate school, begin your search by reading this guide and by searching the websites from the following links:
Complement the above field-specific tips with general tips on overview (under the tab of ‘overview’).
Pakistani applicants suffer most because of inadequate information -- or wrong information -- about essays and personal statements. This section will address those inadequacies specifically in relation to applying for this program. Supplement the following field-specific tips with general tips (under the tab of ‘essay’) to craft a stellar personal statement.
You will be required to send at least one personal statement or statement of purpose with your application. You will usually receive guidelines in your application about what to write and what to address in your essays, as well as what the word limit it. Sometimes, this information is on the program page and not in your application, so make sure to locate it carefully and go over it before starting your essay.
You may be required to input a supplemental essay in your application — you will usually be told to follow a prompt or answer a question with a word limit.
Which resources should I make use of?
- It is recommended writing your own statement, and not using some pre-prepared format. Just give yourself enough time to do it.
TIPS ON GOOD AND BAD STATEMENTS
What is essential in the statement:
- Usually, your personal statement should outline why you have chosen the field of Sports Management, what you have done thus far in order to explore the field, and why you want to do the degree that you are applying for.
- Make sure to include all your relevant work and academic experience into your essay (such as job placements, voluntary work, projects, organizations, etc).
- When following a prompt or question, make sure you have read it properly and are answering the prompt throughout your essay. Have a mentor read the prompt and read your essay and ask them if they agree that you are fully considering the question/prompt.
What are some elements of exceptional statements:
- Explaining what skills and qualities you will bring to the program.
- Describing your goals.
- In these essays, committees are very interested in why you are committed to this specific program. It can be useful to do research on the specific program beforehand and write about why you are excited about this specific program. It could be because of an internship opportunity it provides, the courses it offers, the faculty of the institution, etc.
What are bad statements/ what things to avoid:
- Bad spelling and grammar. Make sure to have someone else read your statement and point out any mistakes you have made, or put it through a rigorous spell/grammar check. These sorts of errors can give the university an unfavorable impression.
- Repeating things from the rest of your application. The essay is a space for you to provide information that is not apparent in the rest of your package.
This section will cover the basics about recommendation letters, which are one of the most important parts of the application process. Supplement the following field-specific tips with general tips (under the tab of ‘recommendations’) to ensure you have strong letters of recommendation.
You are typically required to have two to three recommendations. Usually, the recommender will enter the letter into your online application through their email, and you should waive your right to view the recommendation.
It is a good idea to get letters of recommendation from former professors and work managers/supervisors. Some universities mention that letters from supervisors of your work will have more weight than letters from professors, so make sure you have at least one of these.
TIPS ON GOOD AND BAD LETTERS
What is essential in the LoRs:
- This is where the referee should talk about any low grades or shortcomings in your application and justify why that is so. They should also explain why you should still be considered despite these shortcomings.
- Descriptions and indications of your commitment and passion towards Sports and Sports Management.
- The letters should attest to your professional abilities.
- The letters should also talk about how you are prepared for the rigorous curriculum of this sort of degree.
What are bad LoRs/ what things to avoid
- Repeating parts of your essay without any elaboration on reflection on them.
- Not having the right tone. The reference needs to be an objective and analytical appraisal; it should not be too personal or emotional.
This section will cover everything else related to the application process; including transcripts, interviews, resumes, and standardized tests.
GRE and/or GMAT often required
TOEFL/IELTS often required
Complement the above field-specific tips with general tips on preparing for standardized tests (under the tab of ‘tests’).
FINAL COMMENTS ON APPLICATIONS
Complement the above field-specific tips with general tips on final comments on applications (under the tab of ‘overview’).
The following sources were consulted in developing this tip-sheet and we encourage you to consult these sources for additional information and guidance on your application.
Furthermore, the following sources were also consulted in developing this tip-sheet: Forbes, Georgetown, Columbia, The Balance Careers (1) (2), Study.com, Sports Management Degrees (1) (2), Best Colleges, Work In Sports (1) (2), QS Top Universities, University of South Alabama