Since 2012, the MSc Sports Performance programme has attracted students from all over the world including the US, UK, Brazil, Luxemburg, France, India, USA, Australia, Malaysia, Poland and China. The course has worldwide appeal as the skills, knowledge and competencies developed on the programme are transferable the world over.
In 2018, I wrote about increased internationalisation in the context of the programme and profiled three international students from India (Narsi Narasimhan & Vivek Plakkote) and China (Chaoyue Ma) who were studying the programme at that time. That blog explored why they had decided to come to Ireland and the University of Limerick more specifically to study the MSc Sports Performance Programme? It explored what their future career aspirations were following completion of the course and so I thought it may be interesting (two years on) to follow up with all three to see where they are now and how their careers have progressed? Finally, this blog will explore what their key reflections are having completed the programme in full and any advice they may have for future students?
Graduate: Narsi Narasimhan
What were your main reasons for studying the MSc Sports Performance programme? Having switched my line of work to focus on Sport, I decided to pursue relevant certifications in the field and felt that the MSc in Sports Performance at the University of Limerick would bolster my academic qualifications the best.
What were the key learnings you took from the programme as a whole? It was an outstanding experience for me. Not used to libraries previously, I found myself in the UL library a lot. That is testament to pursuing what you love and enjoy spending time on! My professors who guided me along this journey played a pivotal role in my development, both professionally and personally.
What keys skills and competencies did you develop? I had a very superficial knowledge of things, but having spent hours in class, labs, and in the library, I was able to develop a deeper understanding of issues related to Sports Performance. I now understand the ‘WHY’ a lot more clearly; It helped me understand science and the importance of critiquing what we read.
How has your career progressed since you graduated and what is your current role? Following on from the programme, I returned back to India working as a Strength and Conditioning coach fine-tuning my coaching skills. I’ve had opportunities coaching Basketball to underage athletes across a range of ages from 7 – 16 years old working on improving motor skills, qualities of athleticism, and the key actions required by the sport.
In April 2020, I successfully applied for a Strength and Conditioning role at Invictus Performance Lab in Bangalore. Whilst my role is firmly S&C, I work within an ecosystem that comprises Nutritionists, Physiologists, Psychologists, Physical and Athletic Therapists, and Sport Scientists. I aim to use this opportunity to develop and hone my skills further as a Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Looking back, what advice would you have for future students studying the MSc Sports Performance programme? There is a lot more available to digest apart from what is taught in the class and labs. The UL library is an amazing facility and resource; the University also has so much to offer. The teaching staff have a lot of knowledge they are happy to share. Ireland is known for its rich rugby culture. If I could go back, I would look to explore and learn about that sport in more detail. I would also advise students to spend time exploring the various clubs and societies, and travel the country more!
Graduate: Chaoyue Ma
What were your main reasons for studying the programme? First, the programme was very relevant in terms of my career planning. Second, the course was multidisciplinary. Third, I was fortunate to get an international scholarship to study the programme.
What were the key learnings you took from the programme as a whole? My level of English was a big challenge and it took me several months to adapt to the new environment and the course requirements. I learned never to give up no matter how hard it is – it is the process that matters, not the outcome.
What keys skills and competencies did you develop and what is your current role? I am now a much better communicator in English; I am much better at reading and analysing academic papers. My technical ability in using scientific testing equipment improved. I also achieved a number of certifications / accreditations as part of the course including the IRFU Certified Conditioning Coach Award, ISAK accreditation, ISPAS accreditation and UK Anti-doping.
I completed an internship with Sport Ireland during my study period, worked in the UL Arena, got S&C experience with Ahane GAA Club. I got involved as a participant in some PhD research. I got huge experience and gleaned more knowledge from these experiences also.
How has your career progressed since you graduated and what is your current role? In May 2019 I got a job in Beijing Sport University as a lecturer. I teach a range of modules related to Strength and Conditioning. This is not common to get such a position with a Master Degree. I believe I got it because of the multidisciplinary nature of the programme and the experiences I also got along the way.
Looking back, what advice would you have for future students studying the MSc Sports Performance programme? If you want to work in this area, you need both the degree but also the practical experience.
Graduate: Vivek Plakkote
What were your main reasons for studying the programme? I was looking for a master’s programme in the field of high performance. There are no such courses available in India and I felt I lacked the in-depth knowledge to work in this field. I was hoping to develop this knowledge through the MSc Sports Performance course.
What were the key learnings you took from the programme as a whole? Studying this course for me was like a roller coaster. It was a fun year of study with well-structured holistic learning that allowed me to develop competencies needed to work within a wider sport science team.
What keys skills and competencies did you develop and what is your current role? I developed a lot of practical skills. The program was a good blend of both practical and theoretical content, touching on many different aspects of sports science and high performance sport / environments. I developed video analysis skills, developed further my coaching skills and sport science testing/technical skills.
How has your career progressed since you graduated and what is your current role? I currently work as an Athletic Performance coach to a club competing at the Hero I- League (Tier 1) Professional Football in India. I also work with National Track & field athletes in India as an S&C coach.
Looking back, what advice would you have for future students studying the MSc Sports Performance programme? You will get out from the programme what you put in. I worked hard to develop my skills and knowledge and ability to translate this literature into practice. I am now reaping the benefits of this hard work in my current role as an athletic performance coach.
A Word from Dr. Mark Lyons
Increased internationalisation of postgraduate programme at the University of Limerick is a key strategic goal. These international students bring great diversity to the programme, they offer new insights or perspectives on topics informed by many factors including but not exclusively their own unique backgrounds. The profiles of the three students here also reinforce that the skills, knowledge and competencies developed on the programme are transferable the world over. As the course director of the programme, it is pleasing that all three have been successful in gaining relevant positions in the field following their graduation from the programme.
In terms of employability, the MSc Sports Performance programme has an outstanding record to date, with 83% of graduating students finding relevant work and/or career development opportunities either in Ireland or Abroad following graduation from the programme. These roles include sport science testing; strength & conditioning; video analysis, lecturing, nutrition and related high performance support roles. A number of students have successfully set up their own businesses. A number of graduate have progressed to PhD study with numerous graduates from this programme currently in part-time and full-time lecturing positions.
If you are interested in learning more about the programme, modules and entry requirements further details about the programme can be found at Sports Performance – MSc | UL – University of Limerick
Additional queries can be sent to:
Dr Mark Lyons PhD
Course Director – MSc Sports Performance
Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences
University of Limerick