Breaking into the sports industry: Lessons learnt during internship

Interning during cricket match at Adelaide Oval

Malika Muller's love of sports and working with people drove her to study Sports Event Management. Her experiences interning at Adelaide Oval have further fuelled her passion for the industry.

Malika Muller has loved sports since she was a kid. She grew up in Adelaide in a family of Port Adelaide ‘Power’ Football Club supporters and started playing basketball at the young age of five.

“I love watching basketball and the Adelaide 36ers have always also been a favourite, but I’ve also competed in dance and cheerleading too since a young age. In between playing my own sports, I was always watching my dad or my brother play matches, which also led to an appreciation for the atmosphere of game day environments,” Malika said.

Malika has also really enjoyed working with people and serving customers. So, when it came time to choose a career direction, Sports Event Management made total sense.

Mailka's attraction to the Sports Event industry

Sports events bring these two things Malika loves together: sports and people sharing memorable experiences together.

“With a customer service and Marketing background,” Malika explained, “I found I was attracted to the events industry. I find enjoyment in creating special moments for people and being able to make lasting memories by providing great experiences.”

Malika completed a Bachelor of Business (Event Management) at Torrens University Australia.

The decision to complete a Sports internship before graduating

Malika decided to get some experience to help prepare her for work before she graduates.

She started looking for an internship opportunity on the Torrens University Careers Connect website and luckily found the ideal position: a Corporate Events and Hospitality internship with The Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority (AOSMA).

Malika spoke to her Success Coach about the job listing, and together they prepared an application that would seriously impress the hiring manager.

“Throughout the application process the support I received from Torrens was very helpful,” Malika said, “Especially from my success coach, Larissa. Larissa helped me to work on my resume and we had video calls to discuss any changes I needed to make, and she helped with interview preparation such as asking some self-reflection questions, and other questions that would likely be asked by the interviewers.

I submitted my resume to Careers Connect then I had an interview with Sheryl, the industry consultant for Torrens, to assess whether I would be suited to the role.”

Malika’s application was successful, and her second interview at Adelaide Oval went really well thanks to all her earlier preparation.

Malika's experiences as a Corporate Events and Hospitality intern

Before long, she was heading to Adelaide Oval to get on top of all the tasks of her new role as the Corporate Events and Hospitality Intern.

“Within my new role, I helped to complete admin tasks during the week. These included preparing corporate box summary reports, recording dietary information and other details,” Malika explained.

“On game days I observed Simone in her role executing different functions, as well as helping Venue Operations Control (VOC) with answering phones and radios to support the functions and corporate hospitality teams with any questions or issues they had.

Each week I also attended and observed ‘kitchen handover’, where the events team shared information with the operations and kitchen teams to discuss expected attendance for corporate boxes and functions, confirmed dietary requirements, floor plans and any extra client requests.”

This was Malika’s first experience working at such a large and busy sporting venue, and it was a steep learning curve.

Luckily, she had on-the-job support from her manager and mentor Simone Omond, the Hospitality Key Accounts Executive at Adelaide Oval.

Simone has been working at Adelaide Oval for nine years and in her current position for two, so she is an experienced mentor with lots of knowledge to share. Malika was in good hands.

“My main focus and role embrace major events and game days, where I liaise closely with our stakeholders in planning the Hospitality for our function rooms.

It is a hands-on role, building corporate client relationships and working with the operations and kitchen teams to facilitate food and beverage delivery for all guests during an event at the Oval. It is challenging however, it does come with a lot of fun, excitement and new learning each week,” Simone said.

With Simone’s guidance, Malika was able to navigate all her new tasks, learn about venue operations and practise some new skills under pressure.

“I have learnt a variety of things during my time at Adelaide Oval,” Malika explained. “One of the biggest is how communication between teams aids in the smooth delivery of events. I’ve also learnt about admin processes, client communication and the importance of efficient hospitality service during events.

On occasion, I also helped with hospitality on game days which was definitely a new experience, especially during the fast-paced environment of Adelaide Oval.

I received a tonne of support and everyone at Adelaide Oval has been really welcoming.

I am really appreciative of all the supervisors in different departments that shared their knowledge with me. I’d also like to thank Simone and Emily, who I worked with directly, who taught me so much and gave me all the tips and tricks they’ve learnt throughout their careers.”

For Simone, the experience of mentoring has been rewarding, and she is looking forward to taking on more student interns in the future.

It is great to show a young, passionate and enthused student all the behind-the-scenes operations of what we do and how we do it.

There are many facets to our business and I believe any new person would take away something new and learn something they may never experience in another location. An extra pair of hands on an event day is also a big help,” said Simone.

Looking for her next role in events post-graduation

Malika has plans to start looking for roles as an event assistant.

She feels that the intern role at Adelaide Oval has been an important stepping stone for her to get a taste of the sports events industry before she goes out and starts applying for work.

“This role has provided invaluable knowledge and experience that will help further my career in the events industry. Not only have I had the opportunity to gain practical experience that supports the learning within my degree but I also think I’ve gained the confidence to believe in myself and my ability to succeed,” Malika explained.

Malika's advice for other aspiring sports events managers

“I’d tell other students to be really open in the types of roles that you’re applying for, especially if you’re specialising in. There is so much that sports events can teach you that is still applicable to other types of events within the industry.

You can also learn so much just from observing industry professionals, so this type of experience with a mentor is irreplaceable,” Malika said.

Check our Event Management Courses to learn more

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