Studying for a Master’s at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has enabled self-confessed sport-a-holic Jake Wells to pursue his dream and build a career within the professional sports industry.
The 24-year-old, who in his spare time edits his own motor racing magazine Motor Witness, has joined the ranks at Leicester Tigers, securing a role as a partnership delivery executive after impressing the club during his fieldwork there.
Jake Wells at the Tigers' home ground Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium
“I grew up always wanting to play sports professionally but that was a bit of a pipedream, so I’ve done the next best thing and started to build my career around it,” said Jake.
“Ironically, I was never into rugby until I joined Tigers. I don’t want to jinx anything, but the only home game that we’ve lost this season was the one when I couldn’t attend!”
Having completed a BA in Business and Marketing at DMU, Jake decided to enrol on the university’s Sport Management MSc, where he continued to combine his passion for sports with his creative commercial flair.
He was able to put the skills to the test when he applied for fieldwork within the Leicester Tigers’ partnership team through his master’s course.
He said: “The placements that were available on the MSc, and on my undergraduate course too, actually inspired me to put DMU as my firm choice.
“Throughout the Master’s we have group activities working with real-life companies and pitching a marketing strategy to a business owner. Experiences like that really helped me prepare for the fieldwork and built my confidence.
“The team were so transparent and gave me a variety of opportunities that other companies may have kept away from a student intern. This gave me greater insight into what would eventually become my full-time role and more confidence to take on challenging tasks.
“Now I work with 22 partners – including DMU, which is still a little surreal. To be trusted with the responsibility of managing these important partners is incredibly fulfilling.
“I’ve had that taste of the sports industry now and I can’t see myself ever leaving it.”
Jake gets his hands on the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Trophy after the Tigers defeater Saracens on June 18
From ensuring sponsorship logos are correct on kit concepts to coordinating player appearances at events, Jake ensures that the club’s partners are receiving their contracted assets as part of their agreed investment into the Tigers.
It’s a vital, varied, and at times, hectic role but one that Jake relishes nonetheless.
There are added perks too, including having the opportunity to step up to the oche alongside the Tigers players when the PDC Darts Championship came to Leicester last year.
Jake’s business acumen and passion for sports didn’t go unnoticed during his fieldwork and his mentor, Katie Hurley, Leicester Tigers’ Partnership Operations Manager was very encouraged when the then DMU student applied for the full-time partnerships vacancy.
Katie said: “From the minute Jake joined the Partnerships Team as a student intern his positive work ethic was clear to see. He wasn’t afraid to get stuck in to help and had a real passion to learn all avenues of the Business.
“Jake instantly built strong relationships with all members of the internal team which is always a crucial part of the work we do.
“As Jake’s fieldwork project came to end, just as our new season started to begin, I knew he was too strong an asset to let go. The club was extremely conscious that Jake still had to finish his studies and we vowed that we would help him through his final few months whilst working for us full time.
“Within the first few months of Jake’s permanent position, he had tough deadlines to meet through his degree, and it was an intense time for the Leicester Tigers with the start of the season in full swing. Jake managed the workload with the utmost professionalism and at no point did his studies affect his work, or work affect his studies.”
Dr Heather Dichter, Associate Professor of Sport Management and Sport History at DMU, watched Jake continue to grow in confidence as he navigated his Master’s degree during the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “That Tigers wanted to hire Jake immediately after his fieldwork is a testament to Jake and his ability to demonstrate what he had learned from the course.
“On the Sport Management MSc here at DMU, we emphasise the value of gaining as much experience as possible within the sports industry at a variety of events and with different organisations.
“Leicester Tigers has a great partnership with DMU, which has benefitted the Sport Management MSc students within their modules as well as through fieldwork opportunities such as the one which Jake did.”
Posted on Friday 24th June 2022