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Carving out a nimble career in sport

Sport management degree delivers a diverse career that’s also navigated the bumps of 2020.

For Kunal Sheth, sport has always been a huge part of life – from growing up in his native India to moving to Australia, it’s an industry he’s focused on and enjoys.

Now, with five years of experience behind him, Kunal has not only carved out a successful career in sport but also learnt to navigate his way through an extraordinary year of disruption thanks to COVID-19.

Deakin provides real-world experience

Kunal’s dream of a sport career took its first big step in 2015 when he commenced a Master of Business (Sport Management) at Deakin’s Melbourne Burwood Campus.

‘I chose Deakin because of its high global ranking for the sport management course and I also thought that having the opportunity to study in a country like Australia was very exciting,’ he says.

During his studies, as part of Deakin’s WIL program, Kunal completed an internship in India with global sports brand giant “adidas” where he worked in the marketing department helping create athlete profiles, organising photoshoots, identifying potential athlete collaborations, and brainstorming advertising campaigns.

‘This was my first real experience of working in a 9-5 office environment,’ he recalls. 

‘It was challenging at times, but I absolutely loved the idea of everyone putting their best foot forward to help sport and the community.’

Cricket Australia

After graduating from Deakin in 2017, Kunal landed a contract during the Ashes series with Cricket Australia (CA) before also completing stints with the 2018 Australian Open and Australian Grand Prix. 

In July 2018 he was offered a full-time position with CA where he’s since worked across four different roles including Ticketing Manager for Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT.  

While the impact of COVID-19 made his management role redundant in September 2020, Kunal has fortunately remained with CA and now moved into the role of content coordinator for the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) and Big Bash League (BBL).

‘I was completely new to the role and had to learn everything about content in a short time frame but the rewards are to see your efforts coming to life at the stadiums and contributing to the cricket,’ he says.

His new responsibilities include the development, coordination, delivery and trafficking of the WBBL and BBL match day content as well as assisting with the development, administration and delivery of the League’s event program. 

‘This involves working with various external and internal stakeholders, setting and managing deadlines, approval of content provided by our partners and clubs and approval of match-day rundowns,’ he says.

Adaptability essential post-2020

Learning how to work in an industry severely affected by a pandemic has been ‘life-changing’ Kunal acknowledges.

‘I was in a great role as Ticketing Manager and suddenly that was gone. But the silver lining is that I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing colleagues across the organisation and a diverse range of stakeholders,’ he says.

‘COVID has further emphasised the fact that the only constant is change. And I truly believe that in the sports and events industry, just say yes to opportunities because you never know the skills you pick up, the people you meet and what impact these things will have on your life.’

Reflecting on his career, Kunal says it’s a privilege to work in such a dynamic, constantly-changing industry (with or without a pandemic) and believes that adaptability is an important attribute.

‘Professionally, I am absolutely stoked to have worked across the major sporting organisations in Australia and to have been fortunate enough, as an international student, to carve out a career in Australia in this industry.  I feel privileged to work in an industry that I enjoy. At the end of the day, I do what I do because I truly believe that sports can bring communities together, no matter what the situation.’

For more information on Deakin’s sport management programs