“I think the AGMS degree being a combined course between The PGA and the University has built a strong reputation within the golf industry.”
I currently work as the Manager of International Development in China for the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA). I am based in Shenzhen, China at the Mission Hills Golf Club (the largest golf club in the world). I started to work for the PGA in April 2004 which was a couple of months prior to finishing my final exams. During 2010 I had the privilege of working on the 2010 Ryder Cup PGA VIP guest programme. After graduating I then transferred to the PGA training academy where I spent 2 years developing new e-learning resources for both the FdSc and PGA member education programme. In 2012 I was again involved in the VIP guest programme for the 2012 Ryder Cup match in Medinah, Chicago.
May 2013 saw a big step forward in my career. I accepted a role which saw me move to Shenzhen, China, where I have been based for the past 3 years. To me this move has given me the opportunity to earn vital international experience working across different cultures. I am currently on secondment from the PGA to the China Britain Business Council to open up a PGA representative office in Shenzhen, China. I am working on behalf of the PGA members in China and the greater Asia region to provide greater support in terms of education, playing opportunities, and employment. I also provide support to the PGA’s three existing brand license agreements (PGA Golf Academies) in China.
Outline the course you studied at the University of Birmingham and how it benefited you?
I studied the Applied Golf Management Studies Programme (2007-2010) and graduated with a 1st Class Honors. The course benefitted me because I got to make contact with a lot of people at the PGA (where I am currently employed) through having 50% of my lectures at the PGA National Training Academy.
How did you find your first year in Birmingham?
I got to meet a lot of new friends in my first year. I expected the work to be a step up in academic terms from the BTEC which I had previously completed at Solihull College, and it was. On the course I studied, there were only 25 people in the year group so I soon got to know everyone very well and there was a real ‘community’ feel.
How did going to University as a whole benefit you?
I think the AGMS degree being a combined course between The PGA and the University has built a strong reputation within the golf industry. It is becoming recognised by employers. The degree presented me with the opportunity of finding my first role within the golf industry as I made good connections with my tutors at The PGA. However, these opportunities don’t just fall into your lap…you have to make the most of your time, develop your skills, speak to people, utilize the Universities resources in any way you can to your advantage.
How did you find campus life?
Edgbaston is a nice area to study and there are great transport links into the City Centre, especially with having the University train station on site. I really enjoyed studying in the main library…you could find information in there on about any subject you can think of. It is always a pleasure to return to UoB when I am in the UK as it brings back many fond memories of my time there.
How did you find living in Birmingham?
I really liked Birmingham as a city. It is very diverse and there was lots to do. I had moved to the area a few years before starting the course so I had an understanding of what to expect.
Did you join any student societies during your studies?
For the first 2 years I was part of the University golf team. However, in my final year this fell by the wayside as I had many other activities and work commitments which I had to prioritise. For example, I started to learn Mandarin in the language school, I worked part time at Solihull College and also spent time golf coaching for the University’s Active Lifestyle programme.
Any tips to pass on to students thinking of coming here?
Meet as many people as you can, utilize the support available as much as possible, and get involved in as many projects/activities as feasibly possible given your time/finances. University is not all about the course you have signed up to study, it is about building other key skills and experience which can make you more attractive to future employers.
What are your aspirations for the future?
My aspirations are to play a lead role in the development of golf at a global level. I take time to learn about how golf is developing in different areas of the world and the benefits, both social and moral, the sport of golf can bring to many individuals.
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