University of Nottingham students were recently offered the incredible opportunity to hear from and talk to a selection of Nottingham’s talented alumni who have all excelled in careers relating to sport.

The panel, headed by BBC Test Match Special’s Alison Mitchell, offered students the opportunity to engage with alumni who have a wealth of experience within various industries who could not only offer an insight into careers relating to sport, but also how they made their own progression from University graduates to being highly successful within their own industry.

The evening saw titans of business, marketing, the civil service and broadcast journalism all join together to highlight the ways in which sport had altered their lives and, in doing so, aided their path into the working world. As aforementioned, one of the key figures was Alison Mitchell who, after studying Geography at the University of Nottingham, has gone on to become one of the most successful female commentators of all time, regularly commentating on all forms of cricket with the BBC as well as covering other iconic events such as Wimbledon and the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The endeavour and transferable skills needed to get to where she is now were evident during her time at the University of Nottingham. The former women’s hockey first team captain had work experience at her local BBC branch during her holidays and made regular appearances on URN (University Radio Nottingham) around her hockey playing schedule.

Commenting on the university’s progress for sport with the arrival of the David Ross Sports Village she said, “This place is so different to what existed here when I was at the University of Nottingham and I am very jealous of all the students who get to use this facility, it can really help propel UoN Sport to another level.”

“The University’s motto of ‘Engage, Inspire, Excel’ is important for all those that partake in sport and with this holistic model the university can continue to achieve fantastic things. I certainly look back upon my time at the university with fondness and sport gives you so many qualities that are useful in working life such as knowing how to win and how to lose.”

Impact also had the exciting opportunity of being able to talk to and interview Alison Mitchell on everything from cricket to university life to what it was like as a woman entering into the notoriously male dominated world of sports journalism. It was clear to see how passionate she was about her career and the talk highlighted just how much work and dedication she had put in to get to the point she is now.

Starting out as a runner for Channel 4, to being on the pitch as India carried Sachin Tendulkar on their shoulders after the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, her career is quite incredible in terms of where it originated and how far she has come. Now a regular on BBC Test Match Special, Alison Mitchell was the first ball-by-ball female commentator and first woman to experience real success commentating on the international stage. As such her experience was ever more valuable to students looking to emulate her successful career.

In the interview, she also highlighted the exciting and busy year ahead of her, with the Champions Trophy, The Ashes at the end of the year and, the event she was most looking forward to, the Women’s World Cup in England.

What was perhaps the most inspiring element of talking to and interviewing Alison Mitchell was to see how much she enjoys her work. Whilst she admitted, like any job and any aspect of life there are some days that are far from enjoyable, on the whole she loves her work and is getting to do what she always wanted to do.

The running theme throughout the talk seemed to resonate highly with that and further highlighted another reason why students may want to consider thinking about a career relating to sport, making one of their biggest passions part of their working life.

Not only did the event offer an insight into the industry and advice on how to reach heights similar to that of Nottingham alumni, it served as a reminder of just how far reaching and successful you can become with the right determination, sheer hard work and ambition.

Laura Williamson

Media sourced from Twitter

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