There might be a worldwide pandemic going on but that hasn’t stopped GIS students from gaining the invaluable work experiences required to add to their CV alongside their Master’s degree studies.

One of those students is Maria Hasler, a MSc Football Communications & Digital Marketing student at UCFB Wembley, who has taken on the role of Partnerships and Girls Lead at Bloomsbury Football London. Here, Maria tells us about the role and the opportunities she is taking advantage of…

How did the opportunity to work at Bloomsbury Football come about? Tell us more about your role there. 

When I joined GIS in September I had a meeting with my career advisor and I mentioned to him that I was looking to get into partnership development in football. He advised me and also supported me in tweaking my CV and LinkedIn profile, and a few days later I was contacted on LinkedIn regarding a role at Bloomsbury Football. Since then, as Partnerships and Girls Lead, I’ve been managing communication with external stakeholders like Nike to gain access to athletes such as Chloe Kelly and Eddie Nketiah, which has opened various avenues for Bloomsbury Football and myself. One avenue was the launch of the Girls Super League London, a brand-new girls league, that I have since been given the opportunity to lead from a commercial and marketing aspect.

What do you hope to bring to the role from what you’ve learnt at GIS so far?  

In my digital marketing module at GIS we’ve been taught how to effectively use social media outlets and analyse the digital marketing environment. Another big part of my role at Bloomsbury Football involves digital content creation and social media management. Due to the pandemic, we have had to move all of our delivery for the girls online so this has increased the need for effective digital communication. I create content using Adobe Photoshop and Canva for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok for participants, in addition to using MailChimp to create branded newsletters for parents and partners. As a result, the tools I have gained through the digital marketing module at GIS directly align with my role at Bloomsbury. In our fan engagement module we’ve also seen creative ideas with regards to content creation in the pandemic from various football clubs and sporting organisations, so I am hoping that I can effectively apply the content we’ve learnt from the module at Bloomsbury Football and the Girls Super League London

Maria has played football for Austria at two youth levels and on a scholarship at Florida Atlantic University.

Similarly, what do you hope to achieve and learn further while working for the club?  

Bloomsbury Football has recognised the importance of regular, competitive matches for girls and how difficult it can be to find regular, local opposition. Launching the Girls Super League in September 2021 and creating a hub for girls’ football will contribute to solving the problem of girls not being able to find competitive games easily. To be involved with a project that is going to have such a positive impact within the football pyramid is sometimes hard to believe, but I am hoping to really change the game with the launch of the Girls Super League. Whilst working for Bloomsbury Football I’m also hoping to further develop my communication skills, especially when speaking to potential sponsors – to secure a sponsorship deal effective communication is essential. Lastly, I’m also hoping to extend my professional network in London, as effective networking is also key when working in the sports industry.

What other work experience opportunities have you completed or taken part in while at GIS?  

Other than my role at Bloomsbury Football I took a Spanish class that GIS offered and a football agent course to gain more perspective. Both were well organised and at no cost or minimal cost for students. The opportunities that come up on the Jobboard at GIS are incredible, and sometimes, I wish my day had more than 24-hours to take advantage of all the opportunities. Gaining work experience is essential and the ability to combine that with your studies is just fantastic.

How important have you found them for your development?  

The incredible access students get to industry professionals and placements within the industry is something that is extremely helpful – I believe 80% or more of jobs in the sports industry aren’t advertised. Quite frankly, without GIS I wouldn’t be where I am at the moment. The programme and the opportunities alongside it have significantly contributed to my development. I feel like I am heading in the right direction towards where work doesn’t feel like work because it is my passion.

How has your time been at GIS so far?  

Despite the unprecedented times we are in right now, my time at GIS has been fantastic; I definitely enjoy the industry guest speakers coming into Wembley the most. You get a chance to connect with these guest speakers and learn from their experiences. The global summits are also definitely part of my highlights, having attended the virtual La Liga summit and now the Melbourne summit and gaining incredible insight into how marketing and operations run in other continents. I am obviously a bit sad that the global summits have been moved online, but I am hoping to attend at least one global summit in person. But what stands out to me is the support you get from your professors and module leaders and in general from all staff at GIS. It genuinely feels like a family, they want students to succeed and are happy to help in any matter to propel you towards a career in the sports industry. 

What advice can you pass on to any potential students looking at coming to GIS to study on the media pathway? 

Don’t miss out on this opportunity if you really want to work in the sports industry. You get access to opportunities that aren’t advertised and get to know like-minded people within the sports industry. Once you’re there be a sponge – soak up the information you get from guest speakers that share invaluable insights with you first-hand. They’re insights that you can’t find in any book or on the internet.