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Business School helps Swans get set for life after AFL

31 Jul 2013

The Sydney Swans AFL team is well-known for the active role it takes in player development. What's less-known are the lengths to which the club will assist its players in preparing for life once their on-field careers wrap up.

The University of Sydney Business School currently boasts six of the Sydney Swans team members among its student body, each of them working hard off the field to reach their potential once their on-field days are over.

Defender Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Midfielders Josh Kennedy, Mike Pyke, Jude Bolton and Kieren Jack, and Forward Kurt Tippett, are all currently enrolled at the Business School, finding time between training and traveling to their matches to attend lectures and hand in assignments.

As one of the more senior members of the squad, Jude Bolton has his eyes set firmly on a new set of goals. He's been with the Swans, playing at the elite level, for well over a decade now, in the process becoming a rare statistical anomaly as a player whose skills, and physical condition, have allowed him to have a career that is a lot longer than the average.

"I'm always looking onwards, to life after footy," Jude Bolton says. "I still love being with the boys and playing footy, but I'm studying the Graduate Certificate in Commerce at the Business School. There's a group of us working through it at the moment. We're all at different stages, but we do try to find a few subjects here and there that we can tackle together."

"I think the degree is definitely going to set me up for life after footy," he adds. "It's great being able to further my education, but also bearing in mind that we have access to a lot of great sponsors, I think being able to enter into the business world after footy is something that I'm very keen to do. The Swans are well-supported by the corporate world, and through our fan base, and having this degree under my belt will help me to get into player management and other business down the track."

As one of the younger members of the team, Josh Kennedy is realistic about his current career status, and is definitely keen to finish his degree with the Business School.

"I'm probably about half way through my playing career at the moment," Josh says. "I recently played my 100th game, and turned 25 a short while ago - so I reckon I'm about to hit my prime."

However, he still feels that it's important to make sure he's got something to move to once he's done playing.

"The Club's been great, and the AFL has been really supportive of our studies," he says. "They've really encouraged us to take up something outside of football, and to assist is with the transition from on-field to off."

"The Business School has been great in offering us classes and timetables that really suit our needs," Josh adds. "The classes have been great - and it's not just the players who are studying together. Even Nick (Verhelst), our Team Logistics Manager, gets down to a few classes with us as well - we can bounce off each other at training if we're struggling with any of the assignments, and it's been really worthwhile."

"The Business School has a great network for elite athletes, and the support the School gives us is fantastic," Josh says.

Professor John Shields, Associate Dean (Postgraduate Coursework) at the Business School confirmed that the Business School is committed to providing outstanding support to its students.

"It is admirable to see the Sydney Swans players who have chosen to study at the Business School pursuing their academic careers with the same intensity they bring to football every week," Professor Shields said. "We are very proud to be playing a central role in the development of their post-football careers, and we look forward to seeing them succeed in business to the same degree that they have on the sporting field."

The Sydney Swans are the reigning premiers, and are currently sitting third on the AFL ladder for the 2013 season, with only four rounds remaining before the Finals begin on Friday, 6 September.