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From sports fan to sports manager

Graduate Tom Mottram now keeps the wheels turning at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.

Tom Mottram confesses to being a ‘sports nut’ who knew he was never going become a professional sportsperson.

It’s a category most sports fans fall into, but happily, Tom has been able to find a perfect middle ground that’s seen him build a very successful career in professional sports management.

Completing a Bachelor of Commerce (Sports Management) in 2010, Tom is now Senior Manager- Operations & Customer Experience with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation where he’s responsible for the operational elements and delivery of each year’s Formula 1 and MotoGP events.

‘Whilst I grew up playing club sports, I knew I was never going to reach the lofty standards of playing sports at an elite level, so the prospect of studying a course that would be heavily involved in sport seemed like the perfect fit! When I started looking into sports management courses, Deakin was a clear stand out. The diversity of subjects and supporting majors made it an easy choice,’ he says.

Being passionate about sport made the course interesting and relevant and Tom says that learning from Deakin’s expert and skilled lecturers was one of the most enjoyable aspects.

‘I was amazed that one of my lecturers was the former CEO of the International Cricket Council Malcolm Speed. I ate up every word he said!’  

As part of the course, Tom was also able to take on work placement and volunteering opportunities with the AFL’s Geelong Football Club.

‘A fellow student had volunteered with the Cats through Deakin the year before and highly recommended it,’ he recalls.

‘This experience taught me about the behind-the-scenes work of a professional sporting organisation and how much preparation goes into a match day. It not only strengthened my ambition to work in sports management but allowed me to network, secure references, and have a high profile sporting organisation on my CV.’

Graduating from his degree with a distinction average, Tom then completed two short-term contract roles with Baseball Victoria and at the Australian Masters Golf before taking a position with the Victorian Racing Club.

A few months later, however, he was offered another role with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) as the Accreditation Coordinator.

Over the past seven years, Tom has advanced his career with AGPC by holding a number of positions across the organisation.

‘Last year, I also did a short stint with the sports agency TLA Worldwide and had Cricket Australia as my client. In a funny, roundabout turn of events I then ended up back at AGPC in my current senior management role,’ he says.

As well as ensuring the successful delivery and operation of Formula 1 and MotoGP events, Tom is responsible for a ‘world-class customer experience’ for all patrons and stakeholders.

‘My role requires me to maximise customer enjoyment and safety which requires me to manage stakeholders such as police and emergency service providers, security providers, traffic and transport providers and other infrastructure-related stakeholders,’ he explains.

Although Tom’s role often requires long hours, he enjoys working for an organisation that he describes as a fun and inspiring workplace.

‘AGPC has a fantastic culture and it employs great people. For me, one of the highlights is walking the grid just prior to a race and taking in what we – as an organisation – have been able to deliver. Taking a public park and turning it into a world-class international Formula 1 event is something very special to be a part of,’ he remarks.

Grateful for the opportunity to study sports management, Tom says Deakin’s course enabled him to realise his full potential and opened doors into an industry he previously knew little about.

‘Deakin helped me make many industry contacts who I still work with, or remain in contact with, until this day. My advice to current students is to take all the networking and industry opportunities that Deakin offers. And don’t pigeon hole yourself into a particular sport or subject matter. Be open-minded as to where this course can take you.’

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