carnegieXchange: School of Sport

Meet the three marketeers

Read the stories of Masters students Marc Bulsa, Rachel Hatley and Hugh Whidborne, who have each taken internships at Hunslet Rugby League Football Club. 


Hi, we’re the three marketeers, studying for our Masters in Sport Business Management and Strategic Sport Marketing at the Carnegie School of Sport. In this blog we’ll be talking about our internship at Hunslet RLFC, a semi-professional rugby league club based in South Leeds and how it helps us improve our skills as well as linking with our studies.

Employability is a big part of a Masters degree as every decision is made to fit a short-term plan for entering the graduate job market with all the best tools and knowledge. Hence, when hearing about an opportunity that is related to both our personal and academic interests, we knew we couldn’t let it pass.

How did you get the internship?

Marc: "As part of the Professional Practice in the Sport Industry module we were encouraged to find a placement to learn and develop as an individual as well as gaining valuable experience in the working environment. Just like Hugh and Rachel, I was on the lookout for an opportunity that was relevant to my interests and thanks to our lecturer Kacy Mackreth who joined the club a few months prior in a non-executive director role, we were able to get an interview with Neil Hampshire (Chairman at Hunslet RLFC). 

“Being given the opportunity to make a change by learning and working in a Rugby League club with such a noble history is not only an exceptional professional development opportunity but also a invaluable life experience.”

Rachel: "Through Hunslet RLFC we are getting real-life marketing experience, this is an invaluable opportunity that will no doubt aid us in our job search following the completion of our masters.”

What do your jobs consist of?

Hugh: “Whilst all three of us interact with each other's areas and contribute wherever we can my main role at Hunslet is sponsorship. This involves me auditing the existing sponsorship packages and working with Kacy Mackreth to map out new packages that greatly benefit our existing sponsors, whilst also helping to attract new ones to the South Leeds Club.

"Working at Hunslet has given me the opportunity to take what I have learned on my master's degree and apply it to a real sports club. I'm finding the experience hugely beneficial and everyone at the club has been really welcoming."

Rachel: “My role involves auditing the current membership packages offered to the supporters of Hunslet. To revitalise these membership packages, I have been in contact with a number of board members and researching the membership packages of clubs from around the country, in both rugby league and in other sports. By creating such a proposal, and then by speaking to existing Hunslet supporters, I can aid the club in creating the perfect membership packages, and hopefully bring in even more supporters.”

Marc: “Working closely with Media & Marketing Manager Gareth “Gaz” Evans, my job consists in coming up with campaign ideas for the social media platforms and make them come to life. This involves quite a bit brainstorm and organisation so that every campaign doesn’t hinder another and that they are released at the right time on the right platform.

"Moreover, there is a challenge to find ideas suitable for the current situation and make them happen due to the national restrictions which is something novel and a great catalyst for our problem-solving skills.”


How has the internship been beneficial?

Hugh: "This internship has been enormously beneficial to all three of us, helping us to experience first-hand what working life will be like upon graduating later this year. When studying degrees across any discipline, students can generate their own ideas, which although innovative, can sometimes be unpractical in the real world. Through this internship we have been given free rein to run with our own ideas but within the confines of practicality and organisational dynamics, helping us to develop (amongst others) the valuable skill of adaptability.

"The last few months have also given us all an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes to run a supporter owned sports club, something which no textbook or journal article could have given us in as much detail. 

"Additionally, working with Hunslet this term has allowed us to experience the new virtual landscape which has been the norm for the last 12 months. Something which will set us in good stead as this is likely to continue as we start applying for jobs and enter the working world."

Kacy Mackreth, Senior Lecturer and Hunslet RLFC non-executive director: “This has truly been an authentic learning experience for us all – myself included.  Our partnership with Hunslet RLFC is unique, as the students and myself are truly embedded in the club.  My appointment as a non-executive director allows me to share my expertise into the club's marketing and commercial strategy.  The students and I then work in a collaborative manner with the club executives to operationalise this strategy.

"Allowing us to generate new and fresh ideas in relation to membership, merchandise, sponsorship, social media and match days.  This is a great example of applied learning in action. Fundamentally, providing a valuable resource to the club whilst enhancing our collective knowledge of sport management and marketing.  A win-win for all involved’.

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