Meet Jack Waiyaki: MSc Sport Business, Management and Policy student
Sports enthusiast Jack Waiyaki has been passionate about athletics since he was a young boy growing up in Kenya. In 1994 Jack moved to London and then settled in Bedford in 1998. He has been heavily involved in managing sports initiatives in his local area ever since, fostering the unique power of sport to build long-lasting links between his home country and his local community.
In 2019, Jack enrolled on Manchester Metropolitan University’s Global Online MSc Sport Business, Management and Policy, a decision fueled by his dedication to organising grass-roots sporting initiatives and his dream to turn his passion into a career.
Jack, tell me a little bit about yourself
Day to day, I work for Asda Walmart. I started there in distribution and logistics. Most importantly though, away from work, my life has been all about sport. I’ve been heavily involved in the Kenyan Community Bedford for a long time. Previously I was Chairman, but now I’m focusing predominantly on bringing sporting events to the local area, mentoring young people and building further links with Kenyan Sports Bodies. Through my strong links with Kenyan athletes, I have been involved in organising lots of community events in conjunction with Bedford Borough Council, local Schools and the local University. These include the biggest gathering of the world’s best athletes that the town has ever seen (which went on to gain London 2012 Inspire Mark Accreditation), and an opportunity for 600 young people from 24 schools in the area to have a once in a lifetime opportunity to “run a Golden Mile” at Bedford Park with Kenyan athletes who had competed in the London Marathon the day before. Bringing together people through athletics is my life. I am in a privileged position where I can have two strong networks – one in the UK, one in Kenya – which I can connect to each other to help whole communities benefit.
What was your inspiration behind enrolling on an MSc?
I decided that I really needed a qualification to help me break into the professional world of sport. I’ve been involved in the London 2012 Olympics and the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships through my links with Kenyan Athletics and I saw that the people who had higher positions had qualifications – it was really clear to see who had a degree in sport management, and who didn’t. I thought if I could combine a Sports Management Masters degree like the one from Manchester Met with my passion for athletics, my connections in the Kenyan sports industry and the experience I’ve got managing community events and at major sporting fixtures, then I would be in a better position to turn my love for sport into my profession.
Why did you decide to study online with Manchester Metropolitan University?
There were several factors that influenced my decision. As I work full-time, with family commitments, online learning really suited me as it could fit into my lifestyle. The course content of the MSc Sport Business, Management and Policy was also exactly what I was looking for. The business management modules are absolutely crucial to help me learn how sporting organisations are run. My time as a community leader has also fueled my interest in policy and legal matters. That’s also a key part of the course.
What have you enjoyed most about the course so far?
It’s not an easy course but I have learnt so much. Although I’ve been involved in London 2012 and other major events, it’s opened up my eyes and my knowledge and I look at sport in a completely different, more intelligent and strategic way. It really opens up a whole world that other people don’t see. Because of what I’ve studied so far, I’m in a much better position to advise the Kenyan sports bodies, local and national governments. I’m involved in what they can do and the guidelines they need to follow. It is so insightful – to the very highest of levels.
How are you looking to use the qualification once you graduate?
Sport is such a booming industry – there are so many different opportunities the world over. The industry is wide open. At the moment, I haven’t really decided on exactly the role I want to pursue, as every new module I study on the course opens up new possibilities. However, I know that I really want to be in a position where I can advise Kenyan Athletes and sports bodies about how they can tap into sponsorship opportunities, raise funds to improve sports facilities and inspire the country to get involved in a healthy lifestyle. But the possibilities are endless.
How are you finding learning online and the support you’ve received?
I’ve never studied online before, but the Student Success Team have been very supportive. I don’t have a bachelor’s degree – instead, I joined the course with three year’s professional experience – and they’ve been really helpful putting me on the right path when I struggled slightly with the academic content and course structure when I first started out. Now I am really positive that I am committed, dedicated and I will achieve my goal.
If you had to give one piece of advice to someone looking to start this course, what would it be?
Go for it! It can be difficult at times but think about the finish line like sportsmen/women. The skills and knowledge gained are priceless. There’s a difference between something being difficult and you’re not able to get help so you give up, and a course where you can get the support you need to succeed. This is a course where there is support, and the opportunities really are endless.
If you’re looking to turn your passion into a career like Jack, we will help you to build the skills the sports industry needs. Get in touch with us to find out more. Call +44 (0) 161 880 4721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org