Having previously worked as a business analyst at a law firm, Jordan Sumner took time to reflect on his career path during lockdown last year and decided to pursue his passion and switch to sport. After studying GIS’ MSc Football Business programme, he’s landed his dream role as Risk and Compliance Coordinator at Premier League side Everton.

Here, Jordan tells us about the role and why changing careers was the best decision he ever made…

Tell us about your role at Everton and what it involves.

I joined Everton back in April 2021 as a Risk and Compliance Coordinator. This was a newly created and quite wide-ranging role, and includes managing the club’s insurance portfolio, implementing a club-wide compliance framework and producing due diligence reports on potential commercial partners and suppliers. In addition to this, I have also had the opportunity to assist with COVID-19 protocols on a matchday. The nature of the role has allowed me to work closely with club directors and board members, which has given me a great deal of exposure and experience so far.

What have been some of your favourite moments with the club so far?

One of the things I am most proud of since I joined is helping the club to achieve Insurance Premium Savings despite the very difficult conditions across all insurance markets. I had very little experience of dealing with insurance prior to joining Everton, so after spending the first few months on the job learning all about the different types of cover required, I am very pleased to have made a difference and helped the club to achieve cost savings.

I have also made improvements to the club’s due diligence process, the purpose of which is to protect Everton’s reputation, ensure that any potential commercial partner upholds the club’s values and safeguard the club against any financial, legal and regulatory risks.

Another personal highlight was having the opportunity to meet the club’s manager, Rafa Benitez!

What have you brought into the role from your MSc Football Business programme?

One of the modules in the MSc Football Business programme is based around governance and regulation in the football industry. Given that this subject is heavily related to what I do, the content of the course has undoubtedly helped me thrive in my current role. The programme also allowed me to develop soft skills such as public speaking and presenting, which have also proved to be invaluable both in the recruitment process and in the role itself.

You previously worked as a business analyst a law firm. What made you choose to switch to a career in sport?

I have always had a massive passion for sport and football in particular, so working in the football industry was always something that interested me. When the pandemic hit last year, it gave me time to reflect upon my career direction and I decided to pursue my passion by studying a Master’s, with the aim of working in the football industry.

I wanted to use the experience I had built up over the course of the last few years working in risk, and combine this with the knowledge of football business that I would pick up by completing the Master’s programme. My role at Everton is a perfect combination of the two. I wanted to go into work each day doing something I am passionate about and this is why I decided to switch to a career in sport.

What’s different about working in sport compared to other industries?

Although there are many similarities, working in sport definitely feels like less of a ‘job’ than in other industries. At the same time, given the popularity of sport, competition for jobs is higher, so it is important to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible before taking that first step into the industry.

How did you find your time at GIS?

My time at GIS was both challenging and very rewarding at the same time, as I completed my studies while also working in a full-time job. The course content was very interesting and covered topics as wide ranging as governance, fan engagement, operational management and business development. The assignments set as part of the programme allowed me to work on real-life projects for football clubs including Tranmere Rovers, Accrington Stanley and Brentford.

The programme also offered me the opportunity to learn from an array of industry-leading guest speakers and allowed me to gain a range of interesting contacts. Moreover, the Etihad Stadium is an inspiring environment to learn about football business.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to study at GIS?

If you are passionate about sport and you are considering a career in football, then there is no better place to take that first step than at GIS. Studying at GIS will give you the knowledge, contacts and confidence required to thrive in the industry.