A sporting experience

exciting study Pursuing a postgraduate degree in London has opened a new world of oppurtunities, reveals Siddharth Kohli

A sporting experience

Few things compare with studying at a world-class university in an iconic city. Throw into the mix a campus on the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London and faculty comprising of world-renowned scholars and established industry leaders, what you end up with is UK’s best student experience.

Having decided on pursuing a Master’s degree in sport business, I spent months researching universities that could offer students both access to leading academic environment and networking opportunities.

I finalised on Loughborough University, London, which has a history of delivering excellence in sport teaching, coaching and research. Additionally, what finalised my decision was the location of the London-campus: Olympic Park. It’s main campus is located in Loughborough.

The university was known for excellence in sport and each time I reached out to professionals in the industry, they would validate the university’s sporting prowess.

Professional vibe
Not only do students have a chance of building a network, but the university was forging strategic partnerships with organisations like British Telecommunications, Decathlon and West Ham United. This was incentive enough for a sport student like myself.

These developments, along with knowing that we would be torchbearers of Loughborough in London made an otherwise daunting decision, a fairly straightforward one.

Being based in London and in the Olympic Park, we have a number of leading organisations in the vicinity, including the Olympic Stadium, which hosted the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the new home of West Ham United Football Club. Furthermore, there is the Aquatics Centre, Lee Valley Velodrome and Copper Box Arena, where students can access the gym and sporting facilities.

As Loughborough University London is a postgraduate-only campus, the space has a professional vibe to it but having so many young students from around the world fortifies the youthful identity of the university. On entering, one is welcomed by a fantastic student support team, who help us with everything from timetabling and assessments to accessing resources and IT assistance.

We have access to a number of on-site computers and Macbook laptops, which we can checkout. It is fairly easy to locate course books and other reading material at the library, which is located next to our silent areas. We were also exposed and introduced to a number of leading organisations and guest speakers. At the same time, we also had the oppurtunity to attend some of the best networking events.

As I also had the oppurtunity to work as a freelance football writer, I had the opportunity to watch live matches across a number of stadiums in UK. Witnessing the games in person has truly added a dimension to my journalistic skills.

Immersive lectures
On campus, we have a number of classrooms, varying in size. For classes with around 30 students, lectures are conducted in smaller, more intimate rooms, whereas lectures with over a 100 attendees take place in much larger spaces.

In the first couple of months, we had a few lectures in the hall of the London Aquatics Centre, where the swimming events for London 2012 Olympics took place. It was quite the experience, to be taught in a space that overlooked the swimming pool where Michael Phelps had won 6 medals at the Olympic games!

I have had the privilege of meeting a number of like-minded people both on and off the university campus. Additionally, in the vicinity is Westfield Stratford City mall, one of the largest malls in Europe, which is just a stone’s throw away and boasts a plethora of restaurants, bars and cafes. At times, some of us head over to Oxford Circus if we’re looking for a change of scenery!

One of the most iconic cities in the world, London is one of the places that could really go either way. The city can bog you down and tire you out, or it can broaden your horizon and open doors you could have never imagined. In my experience, it has been an absolute privilege being based in London.

I truly believe my Master’s degree will go a long way in enhancing my career prospects. Being based in London, has created opportunities to connect with people I may collaborate with. My stint here may indeed prove to be crucial for my career. My time in the UK so far has been nothing short of brilliant.

(The author is a MSc Sport Business student, Loughborough University, London)

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