As a MSc International Sports Management (Online) student, Moaz Awadelkarim enjoys flexible study hours from the comfort of his own home. Working full-time and living off-campus hasn’t stopped the GIS student from gaining invaluable skills and connections in the industry. Here, Moaz tells us why the online programme is perfect for him and the roles he’s got stuck into along the way…

Why UCFB and GIS? 

The main factor was the effort by UCFB to make a meaningful and valuable contribution towards diversity, equality and inclusion in association with Kick It Out. Together, they have taken a small step in lowering the barriers to progression for people like myself. Although a small step, it has led to a huge opportunity for all the ‘Next 25’ scholarship recipients. The uniqueness of UCFB as an educational establishment specialising in sport, in addition to the attraction of potentially being based at Wembley Stadium, were some of the other reasons why.

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What are some of the main benefits of studying online?

Being able to maintain full-time employment, be there for my family during difficult times and fit recorded lectures around the schedule of life and work were the major benefits of studying online. I am grateful to UCFB and Kick It Out for enabling the change from campus to online. The flexibility of attending live lectures or seminars on a mobile phone and not just a laptop really helped.

What have been some of the highlights of your MSc International Sports Management (Online) degree?

The biggest highlight for me was the sustainability module run by Jarno Stegeman, which was led in an enthusiastic and passionate yet constructive and fluid manner. This module really opened up my eyes to how my work in football could have a global impact. The interest I gained in the module culminated in a dissertation piece investigating how football can help tackle the global plastic bottle waste problem. A research piece, which started by looking at plastic waste in football in Saudi Arabia where 100% of waste goes to landfill, ended with looking at football in England where the game at professional, semi-professional and grassroots levels still has a lot of work to do to tackle the global pandemic that is plastic waste.

Tell us about your role as a Kick It Out scholar and what this involves.

As a student ambassador for Kick It Out, the role is to make a positive contribution and impact towards diversity and inclusion. It has involved providing coaching education for marginalised communities, investigating inequality within football at home and abroad, and trying to humbly inform or educate on aspects such as racial disparities in society and sports.

Tell us about the network you built during your time at GIS.

The GIS network has expanded a lot over the last two years of my studies, giving me the opportunity to build my network of people in the sports industry. I was able to attend the World Football Summit in Malaysia in 2019, and throughout the pandemic UCFB and GIS have offered a fantastic array of guest speakers, specialist webinars and opportunities to take short courses in partnership with external sports establishments. This has not only enabled me to build my network of coaches, but also to gain vital insights from experts and to develop a wider skill set.

What work experience did you undertake alongside your Master’s degree?

I was fortunate enough to work internationally and to be home-based during my degree. Experiences within a football club abroad, with The FA in England and now with FIFA were some of the major work involvements I had.

What advice would you offer to students looking to study at UCFB and GIS?

Really take UCFB seriously when considering where to study. They offer a fantastic set of courses, most importantly led by some wonderful lecturers and module leaders with critical knowledge and vital connections in the sports sector. UCFB and GIS are constantly learning and improving – my second year was better than my first and I am sure future years will be even better. They are becoming world leaders in sports education and the network, with the establishment of the GIS, is becoming truly global, making for exciting opportunities for future students from anywhere in the world.