Straight after graduating from UCFB’s BA (Hons) Football Business and Finance programme, James Frodsham dived right into GIS’ MSc Football Business degree to build on his expertise of the global industry. From working at Stockport County FC to now in the Premier League, he’s risen through the football ranks during his time at UCFB and GIS. Here, he tells us about his time as a student and why a degree alone isn’t always enough to land you the job...

Tell us about your MSc Football Business programme and some of your favourite aspects of the course.

The MSc Football Business programme is ideal for anyone looking to study a detailed course exploring the key segments of football business which are crucial for understanding and appreciating the complexity of the industry. The course covers important aspects including regulatory governance from football leagues and governing bodies, including UEFA Financial Fair Play, that are in place to tackle corruption and misconduct. The course also considers consumer engagement ideology in the football world while considering the different fan groups and behaviours which are different to other industries, for example the fashion and automotive sectors.

What did you choose to research for your dissertation topic? How did you find the process?

I was interested in the regulatory compliance aspect of my course and I wanted to discover more about the financial regulations. My dissertation topic for this was to investigate the EFL Championship financial regulations’ (Football League Financial Fair Play and the EFL Championship Profitability and Sustainability Regulation) impacts on financial and sporting performances and relationships.

As both aspects of my dissertation were of interest for me personally and professionally, I found it enjoyable as I was fascinated by implications my research would have for the wider industry. As I was very much interested in my dissertation subjects, my advice when deciding your dissertation topics is pick a subject that you are interested in, as this will help you kick on in the frustrating periods.

You studied a BA (Hons) Football Business & Finance degree at UCFB. How did you find this and why did you choose to stay on for a Master’s at GIS?

I fully enjoyed it, as I have always had a long-held interest in financial accounting and commercial operations, so this passion helped me succeed. I chose to study a Master’s at GIS for a number of reasons, the first being that the course’s syllabuses are implemented and overseen based on advice from the Industry Advisory Board, which includes leading executives within the global sporting industry. Hence, the courses are tailored to the latest trends and movements in the sports industry, allowing students to study materials that are current and applicable to job specifications within the industry.

Secondly, GIS hosts various sporting summits throughout the year for students to attend in order to gain insights from leading executives (club officials, coaches, league and governing representatives), allowing students to make contacts that they are ready to utilise when starting out in the industry. The third reason is the opportunities to travel and study at world-class stadiums and facilities, including Wembley, Etihad Campus and the GIS Global Hubs around the world.

Finally, I chose to study a masters at GIS as I had built great relationships with my lecturers and members of staff who I believed would enhance my learning through their own experiences which are often applied to lectures and seminars.

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Have you completed any work experience during your studies, and if so, how has this helped build your career in sports?

Yes, I worked for National League side Stockport County FC as a Commercial Assistant and Assistant to Club Secretary for two years. I also completed a short-term placement at Welsh Premier League side New Town Association FC as a Commercial Assistant.

These experiences, skills and contacts I was able to build during the period definitely helped my sporting career in that I personally believe that these opportunities were key to me gaining my current position. Hence, I cannot stress how important work experience is, as a degree is now not good enough by itself to get a job! My advice is to go and get some work experience as this helps prove that you have the skills and attitude to be successful in your next role and career.

You’ve been a Global Ambassador of UCFB and GIS for nearly two years now – what has this involved and why did you choose to take on the role?

I am honoured to be a global ambassador for UCFB and GIS, which mainly involves promoting UCFB/GIS as an educational institution, our undergraduate and Master’s courses, and finally our students and members of staff. I was fortunate to be able to represent them as a Global Ambassador for Melbourne and Toronto Global Summit. For the former, I helped lead 22 students working with UCFB staff and other ambassadors on a two-week trip to Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. During this period, I was tasked with supporting senior members of staff with the implementation of the Melbourne and Toronto summits, with the latter being completed remotely due to COVID-19.

Furthermore, I also was able to build my contacts through networking with senior practitioners in the Canadian and Australian sports industry. I took on this role as I wanted to experience and learn more about the sports industry in other countries and be able to contribute my part in making UCFB and GIS a better place for future students so they can benefit in the same way that I have been able to.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to study at UCFB or GIS?

I would say make the most of every opportunity given to you, even if you think if it is not worth it, and always ask questions as you can always learn something from every experience.