As a MSc Football Communications & Digital Marketing student, Lara Marinelli is working as a Marketing Assistant at West Ham United alongside studying for her Master’s. Gaining invaluable industry experience in what just so happens to be the Premier League club’s best season in history, the UCFB Wembley student shares her highlights of the role and what she’s learnt at GIS so far…

Tell us about how you landed the role as Marketing Assistant at West Ham United and what it involves.

I got this amazing opportunity through UCFB. In November, our lecturer Shana Axcell recommended this job. During the first interview I had to present marketing initiatives implemented by clubs to drive revenue and fan engagement during COVID-19. I was then contacted again for a second interview the following week, in which I had to browse West Ham’s online store and compare it to other major football clubs. I was pretty sure that both interviews went well but obviously I didn’t want to get my hopes up. But just before Christmas I received the exciting news that I had been chosen and that I was going to start working in the Premier League!

What have been some of the highlights of the job so far?

It's a great experience, we're learning so much and the team we're working with is very helpful and supportive. It’s completely different to studying when you see certain things applied in reality. Every week we get a different task based on the club's needs and when the work is done we have a quick catch up in which we discuss our ideas, proposals and analysis. It's amazing to see the tremendous work that goes into everything the fans see, and I'm very happy to be a part of it.

How has your MSc Football Communications & Digital Marketing degree helped prepare you for and inform you in the role?

Having studied International Relations and Economics at undergraduate, my Master’s degree was crucial. Despite the fact that when I started the job I had only been in the Master's programme for three months, my lecturers Shana and Ryan prepared us extremely well for what we had to do.

How has West Ham’s incredible season, which has led to them competing for a Champions League spot, influenced the marketing campaign of the club?

The atmosphere is very positive. Obviously with working remotely it is not possible to live the experience to the fullest, but I can definitely say that there is a lot of passion and enthusiasm and I’m sure that the team will do amazing things if the dream comes true.

You also work in the marketing department for ‘Women’s Football Management’. Tell us about the role and what you do.

Women's Football Management is an Italian consulting company that works in the world of women's football and develops marketing projects customised to the needs of the brands, athletes, and clubs we work with. Our job is to help our clients achieve a credible and effective position in women's football, which is characterised by extraordinary opportunities for growth and development. This is a very innovative idea because unfortunately women's football in Italy has not yet achieved the success it deserves and through this company it will be possible to help it grow.

Your undergraduate degree was in International Relations and Economics. What made you choose to turn towards the sports industry for your Master’s programme?

As an undergraduate I chose this course because I was very interested in politics and economics, but sport has always been a major part of my life. I am very passionate about football and Formula 1 and played semi-professional football for many years. When I started my undergraduate degree I was always looking for work opportunities in this industry, and I always got on so well that after finishing this I decided that the sports industry would be the one I really wanted to work in.

And lastly, do you think West Ham are going to qualify for the Champions League next year?

I don't want to say anything, but I am very hopeful. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, West Ham have had an outstanding season so far and they are making millions of fans’ dreams come true! I don't think there is a team more worthy of reaching this historic milestone!