Chu, the national coach development manager at New Zealand Rugby, has a job many sport lovers would envy – all thanks to a Massey University course he decided to take in order to follow his sports-mad dreams.
Massey University this year introduces the Bachelor of Sport Management as a three-year degree for those wanting a career in sport administration.
It was the same course, albeit in a different guise, which gave Chu a leg up.
He took a Bachelor of Business Studies, Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Management and Coaching and then completed a Master of Business Studies in the School of Management.
Chu ended up lecturing at Massey for nine years after graduation before he got his first job at New Zealand Rugby in 2003.
“I started as the high performance coach and player development manager and then, after the 2011 World Cup, I went to Canada where I was the general manager of rugby for Rugby Canada.”
Chu returned to New Zealand last year to take up his current role. He says the opportunities for sport management graduates are endless.
Dr Sarah Gee, a senior lecturer at Massey’s School of Sport and Exercise, says the course is aimed at “anyone who is in interested in sport, the way sport is organised or anything around the business side of sport”.
She adds, “We help to develop students’ awareness of the business context of sport so they learn all the same business principles of marketing and promotion, as well as organisational behaviour applied in the sporting context.”
Gee says there has been a big shift in New Zealand in the past 15 years as sport has become more professional.
“There are fewer opportunities for high school leavers to get a job in the sport industry without a tertiary qualification. More employers are looking for people who have knowledge of theories and concepts related to the way sport is organised. It’s linked to the professionalisation of the sports industry.”
Gee says the range of jobs available to graduates is extensive.
“You could end up working at a regional or national sports organisation right up to managing international sports events or facilities. There are also opportunities in sport communication, sales, ticketing, working in local and regional councils developing recreational programmes, community sport, private or commercial sport entities and sport development.”
The course length is three years full-time but can also be studied part-time over a longer period. It is available for study at Palmerston North or Albany, or by distance learning.
For more information visit massey.ac.nz/sport-management