Manchester Metropolitan University’s Master of Sport Directorship (MSD) course, which will enter its fifth cohort of students this September, has received the backing of the RFL and Premiership Rugby.
The two-year, part-time course was developed five years ago by Manchester Met to give former pros and sports leaders commercial preparation for the role of sporting director across a wide range of sports, bringing new skillsets to former sportspeople and raising professional standards in sports management.
MSD students from the world of rugby include Premiership Rugby’s Phil Winstanley, St Helens CEO Mike Rush and Paul Treu, performance director of Western Province in South Africa, who graduated in July last year.
Other notable students include England cricketer Vikram Solanki. Footballers including Gary Bowyer, Didi Haman and Kevin Davies are also studying to be among the most qualified ‘sporting directors’ in the world.
“We have seen for ourselves the huge benefits the course can bring to individuals and the organisations they work for. We’re proud to be associated with such a ground-breaking and important qualification that is benefiting all sorts of sporting organisations, from the grass roots to the very top of professional sports,” said Tony Sutton, director of finance and facilities at the Rugby Football League.
“Rugby Union has come a long way since the end of the amateur era in 1995. Like all sports, rugby union is seeing the transformation of players and coaches into senior management roles within the broader business and it is vital that we continue to invest in people to ensure that we have the best-qualified management and leadership in our clubs. The MSD is capable of providing a crucial step towards that aim,” added Phil Winstanley, the rugby director at Premiership Rugby.
Course director Dr Sara Ward of Manchester Metropolitan University Business School said: “The endorsement from sporting bodies is a huge compliment for the faculty here who developed and deliver the curriculum, but also to the students. To date we have accepted just over 80 students onto the course, and their commitment and effort has been remarkable, and their engagement is paying dividends in their careers with new roles and promotions,” she added.
“Our students and alumni can be found right across the world of sport, from team and club leadership to talent development, agency, and business management. The network they share is second to none, and the students are at the forefront of the change to professionalise the sporting boardroom, and that’s hugely rewarding for us,” she added.
Among the first 23 graduates who received their Masters of Sport Directorship (MSD) qualifications in July last year were Leicester City assistant manager Michael Appleton, ex-England cricketer Ashley Giles and Aston Villa director of football Steve Round.
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