Simon Smallbone

Simon Smallbone
Country / region
United Kingdom
Graduated from
Loughborough University
Alumni bursary

Simon completed his MSc Sport Business and Leadership in 2017 at the London campus, 20 years after he graduated from the Loughborough campus with a BA (Hons) in European Business.

Simon commuted from Luxembourg for the duration of his studies. Keen to expand his involvement in the sport industry, Simon spoke at the World Football Summit in Madrid about the power of football to change the world, and set up his own business, one of the first startups to take part in Sport Tech Hub's 24 week programme.

What were you doing before you joined Loughborough University London?

After studying my first degree at Loughborough University, I subsequently worked in marketing for ExxonMobil, Motorola and Dyson to name a few. Before I started my masters, I was working full-time for a telecommunications marketing consultancy based in Luxembourg. It was during this time that I realised my passion was for sport, and in particular sport for development, so I decided to change career and study with the Institute for Sport Business at Loughborough University London.

Why did you decide to study a Sport Business masters at Loughborough University London?

I had previous experience of the teaching excellence that Loughborough has to offer as an undergraduate and I wanted to continue learning from the same quality of academics during my Masters. Therefore the first option was to look at Loughborough. For me, studying in London was much easier and Loughborough's brand new campus on the Olympic Park is very impressive.

How has Loughborough University London inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?

My programme gave me the opportunity to meet some incredible people in the sports industry. We were taken to a number of sport businesses to meet, and witness, influential sport leaders in action, and these visits were truly inspirational in themselves. We visited Twickenham, Bisham Abbey and Wimbledon to name just a few. These contacts and experiences have proved invaluable to my career!

What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying a Sport Business masters?

Just go for it! You will study with a diverse range of students from all stages in their career, and will be supported by excellent academics and staff. You will experience a world-class quality of education and enjoy unforgettable experiences. I certainly don't regret it.

What it is like to be a postgraduate student?

Being a postgraduate student requires you to take more responsibility for your own studies as it is much less guided. However, a postgraduate course gives you the opportunity to explore different subjects and themes in more depth than an undergraduate degree, which means you can specialise in the areas that interest you the most.

Can you tell us more about the company/organisation you are working for currently?

Kick4Life F.C. is the world’s first football club exclusively dedicated to social change. As a charity and a social enterprise, our mission is to transform the lives of vulnerable young people in Lesotho, and in doing so promote long-term sustainable development in the Mountain Kingdom. Our men's team currently plays in the Lesotho Premier League and our women's team in the Super League.

What do you love the most about your job?

I love the fact I am applying my knowledge and experience to help underprivileged children in one of the world's least developed countries. It's great to be working in a role that allows me to reach out to people using the game I love, football!

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

Returning to study some 20 years after first graduating and completing my masters has to be one of my proudest moments!

What was your most memorable moment on your course?

We visited Wimbledon as part of one of our modules. This was my most memorable visit as I played tennis to a high level and visited Wimbledon on many occasions. To get a behind the scenes insight into the organisation was incredible and to have talks from a variety of senior people at the club was definitely a highlight for me.

What benefits does a masters course offer individuals who are thinking about a career in the sport business industry?

A masters from Loughborough University London will give you access to contacts in high-level sporting organisations. However, not only contacts but the chance to do some work with these organisations through modules like the Collaborative Project, which is unique to the campus.

What does the future hold for you?

I'm seriously considering studying for a PhD, and I will of course be back at Loughborough if I do!