Maddy Ibbett, Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

'I would 100% recommend going to study at Birmingham!
I had the best 3 years of my life.'
Maddy Ibbett

Current role

I am currently working as the England Team Operations Assistant for the Rugby Football Union (RFU). On graduating from the University of Birmingham I went on to complete a MSc at Exeter University. Whilst I was here I sent my CV around to a number of different sports governing bodies in the hope of gaining work experience and on completing my course was offered a 3 month Internship within the RFU working for their charity, The Injured Players Foundation.

After the 3 month role I was offered a part time job, which then turned into a full time, permanent role. I since applied for my current role and now work predominantly with the Senior team, but also the 7's, U20 and U18 teams, to ensure they have everything they require to train and compete. This involves organizing training facilities, hotels, travel and allows the players to focus fully on the rugby.

Outline the course you studied at the University of Birmingham and how it benefited you?

I studied Sport and Exercise Science while at Birmingham, which looked at a wide range of different scientific disciplines that can contribute to sporting performance. The course made me realise the large number of different factors that affect performance, such as nutrition, analysis, psychology and strength and conditioning. This is useful for my current role as I understand the importance of the different sessions the team take part in, and why it is essential that they take place. The course also taught me a number of skills in terms of computer use, presentation giving and time management skills, all of which are important to me now.

How did you find your first year in Birmingham?

When I first arrived at Birmingham I was fairly scared and anxious about starting. However I quickly settled in, getting to know people I lived with and in blocks around me at halls. After the initial nervous start I loved my first year at Birmingham. I made some great friends and enjoyed the social side of living in halls.

How did going to University as a whole benefit you?

Going to University benefited me hugely. I grew in confidence and became a lot more independent than I had previously been. I learnt a huge number of life skills including finding and signing a contract for a house in my second and third years, and arranging electricity and heating. I also learnt a lot from living with others and having to look after myself (slightly improving my cooking skills!). 

How did you find campus life?

Going to Birmingham meant you had the best of both worlds! We had a lovely campus which had a really good atmosphere, but were only 10 minutes away from the city centre! I loved being at a campus university, where you would always bump into people you knew and it felt like you were part of a community. There were also always a large number of different things to do on campus, whether it was watching one of the sports teams play, or going to Fab on a Saturday night at the Guild. 

How did you find living in Birmingham?

Living in Birmingham was great. Both in halls and when living in Selly Oak it felt like there was a real community and I always felt safe and that people would be there to look out for you and help if you needed it. I loved Birmingham as a city. There was so much to do and with having the University train station it was always easy to get into town. Whether I wanted to go shopping, for a meal, to the cinema or on a night out there were a huge number of options available. 

Did you join any student societies during your studies?

Whilst in halls I played in a number of intra-mural leagues for different sports, including netball and rounders. A group of friends then continued to play in the netball league in the next 2 years. I also took advantage of a couple of volunteering opportunities on offer through my course, including working with the British Olympic Association before the Beijing Olympics and helping at the Birmingham Half Marathon, both of which I believe were useful in pursuing a career in sport.

Any tips to pass on to students thinking of coming here?

I would 100% recommend going to study at Birmingham! I had the best 3 years of my life, it helped me to get to where I am career wise now, and I made some amazing and lifelong friends. Although the city may seem big and scary it is incredibly friendly and there is a brilliant student community around the university.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I hope to continue in a similar area to which I am currently working, but to gain more responsibility and my experience grows and I continue to learn. Hopefully one day I will be in charge of a team myself and hopefully contributing to their success on the pitch by looking after everything off it.

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