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International cricketer Michael Klinger adds a Deakin master’s degree to his list of achievements.

For many professional athletes, the decision to retire from elite level competition is one that’s often delayed for as long as possible.

But retirement – whether through health issues, fatigue or simply age - is one of the few certainties in the life of professional sportsperson and being prepared for the next career platform is a smart move.

Professional cricketer Michael Klinger, who plays for West Australia’s Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League and Gloucestershire in the UK’s County Cricket competition, recently completed Deakin’s Master of Business (Sport Management) in preparation for his post-cricket career.

Already holding an undergraduate applied science degree from Deakin, Michael would eventually like to work in the evolving area of high-performance sport management which he says is now imperative to the success of many sports organisations.

‘It’s very important to devise the right structures in an organisation to allow the coaching staff and players to have access to the best possible resources,’ he explains.

Juggling the responsibities of a young family and playing commitments between Australia and the UK, Michael was able to undertake his degree off-campus via Deakin’s cloud-based flexibility.

‘The university’s interactive online option allowed me to easily keep up-to-date with each subject and access lecturers and tutorials around my other commitments,’ he says.

The biggest challenge he concedes, was managing his study time around a hectic 12-month playing schedule that continues to include first class, one-day and Big Bash Cricket in Australia from October until March followed by UK County Cricket from April until September.

‘I had to make use of any two to three hour gaps I had between training – in particular when my kids were at school – as well as working nights once the kids were asleep and in post cricket times on match days. It was difficult but something I had to be disciplined at in order to finish my course and I’m proud that I was able to achieve it successfully after years of chipping away at the subjects.’

Building on his 17-years as a professional cricketer, Michael believes that a career in the sport management industry will continue to provide him with the competitive edge that’s driven his success on the field.

‘Sport management roles are set to only increase – particularly with the professionalisation of female sports. In cricket specifically, the T20 competition is also getting bigger worldwide. Big Bash in Australia is only going to expand, so it’s likely sport management opportunities in cricket will also increase in the future.’

Deakin’s Master of Business (Sport Management) is the only Australian program to make the top 25 in the prestigious Sport Business International (SBI) ranking with graduates ranking in the top five for average salaries three years after graduation.

Importantly, it’s a qualification that provides Michael with the opportunity for new vocational pathways.

‘It’s given me something outside of professional sport to concentrate on and keep my mind off the constant pressures of professional cricket. It has also given me direction to help set me up for life after my cricket career.’