Taking out top awards in their Deakin sport management degrees, Tyson Lazaruk and Tilly Skok reflect on their study and career journey.
Succeeding in any kind of academic or career endeavour during 2020 – a year of global disruption and uncertainty – is a significant achievement. But it’s even more of an accomplishment when it comes highly ranked.
Tilly Skok and Tyson Lazaruk are two of ten inspiring Deakin students who took out top honours for their outstanding achievements in sport management and sport development programs in 2020.
Both completing a Master of Business (Sport Management) degree, Tyson and Tilly are now building their careers on opposite sides of the world.
Tilly first completed a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science/Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) at Deakin and was keen to continue with postgraduate studies to delve deeper into the world of business and sport management.
‘I also absolutely loved being at Deakin and wanted to expand my knowledge within the sporting industry to make myself more employable and have the best chance of landing my dream job,’ she says.
After a role with Athletics Victoria (as Coaching Leader and High-Performance Assistant), Tilly’s dream job is now much closer with her recent appointment to TLA Worldwide, a leading sports talent and marketing agency.
‘My new role is Account Executive (AFL) and this is exactly in-line with my career aspirations as a sports agent. I’ve always wanted to work at TLA Worldwide so this is a dream job for me and I’m looking forward to progressing through this organisation in the years to come, working towards becoming a player agent.’
Despite the COVID-19 disruptions, Tilly reflects on 2020 as a year that enabled her to ‘grow’ and she focused on utilising her time productively.
‘I was lucky enough to keep busy with my Athletics Victoria role and I was also able to study more units and complete my master’s degree more quickly than expected,’ she says.
As a fulltime employee in the sport management industry, Tilly says she enjoys the practical workplace application of her Deakin studies.
‘My Deakin learning gave me a greater grasp on the industry and working environment and created a broad overview of exactly how sport is run, delivered and the operational side of a business. I love how I am able to apply everything directly to my full-time job.’
During her studies, Tilly also undertook a work-integrated learning unit (WIL) that saw her work with a consultancy team to provide strategies for a social action and development organisation in India.
‘The aim was to create some strategies to help the company gather more digital devices and donate them to children who are learning from home – most of these in disadvantaged areas - due to COVID restrictions.’
Sponsored by Cricket Victoria, Tilly’s Deakin achievement award was for Best Case Study in Strategic Management.
‘I was very honoured to receive this award. In my sixth year of studying at Deakin it was great to be recognised for my achievements and the hard work that I put into my studies. I’m also very thankful to Cricket Victoria who sponsored the award and have a connected with them further to express my gratitude,’ she says.
With arts and education degrees from his native Canada, Tyson Lazaruk – with his wife and young family – moved to Australia in 2019 to study Deakin’s Master of Business (Sport Management).
He’d long wanted to explore the connections between sport, society and communities and chose Australia because it was not only a place of interest but also globally recognised for its higher-education offerings.
‘I really liked the design of Deakin’s programs and its wide array of study areas. Its high international-rankings and popularity with students made it my top choice,’ he recalls.
During his first year, Tyson enjoyed every aspect of Deakin’s Melbourne Burwood Campus and found the learning, small classes, and connections with students and academics deeply enriching.
‘I enjoyed diving into subjects that really interested me - whether it was writing about ticketing innovation in major league baseball [which won an award for best paper] coming up with elaborate marketing plans for Golf Victoria or exploring Australian TV and media, I found it all really interesting.’
He was also able to secure project work with the Camberwell Hockey Club thanks to Deakin’s FreelancingHUB.
‘As an education arm within the university, the FreelancingHUB offers students a brilliant opportunity to work on a real-life problem with a dynamic team across different disciplines,’ he says.
In second year, COVID-19 restrictions moved all his units online but Tyson was still able to make the most of his studies thanks to the established Deakin connections and support.
‘COVID-19 obviously impacted our life a great deal living in Melbourne. We also had a new baby born between the first and second waves and the restrictions changed a lot about what we wanted to do in regard to work and travel. But in other ways it made it easier to really commit myself to my courses and just enjoy my family. It was a tough few months but I’m proud of how we all handled it.’
Sponsored by Tennis Australia, Tyson was awarded the prestigious Top Graduand in the Master of Business (Sport Management) degree and says he’s honoured by the recognition.
‘In my previous degrees, I would characterise myself as a good student, but never a top student. However in Australia, I really committed myself as a student as I wanted to see what I was capable of. I never missed a class or a seminar and really poured everything I could into my reading, writing, assignments, and idea development.’
Recently returning to Canada with his family, Tyson is now working as a volunteer director with a national youth-focused organisation and building networks in community sport.
‘I really want to apply my knowledge to help community sport organisations improve and be more dynamic, adaptable, sustainable to achieve better outcomes in the communities they operate. I’m currently exploring work opportunities in this area and also the possibility of starting my own business.’