Sophie Parker

Sophie Parker

Master of Business student
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Management & Physical Activity and Nutrition

She has always had an interest in sport management, says Sophie Parker who is currently completing a Master of Business, specialising in sport leadership and management.

“After completing my Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, I wanted to further my critical and applied research skills, and learn more about the business side of sport. I would highly recommend the Master of Business to those interested in furthering their understanding of sport management, and the links between business and sport.”

For her master’s research, Sophie is focusing on opportunities for women in sport governance. Her research is supervised by Gaye Bryham and Associate Professor Lesley Ferkins.

“Despite their increased on-field participation, women are still strongly underrepresented within sport governance and leadership positions. I hope that my research will provide a deeper understanding of how institutionalised practices have affected women’s opportunities and the forces for change at play within sport organisations.

“This study will not only contribute to the limited research concerning institutionalised practices within sport governance, but could also be used as a framework for change within sport organisations to create better opportunities for women in sport.”

Creating career-ready graduates
The focus on student success is what she has enjoyed most about her time at AUT, says Sophie.

“AUT feels like a community. You’re well supported and feel part of something important. I believe AUT really wants the best for students. That’s what I’ve liked the most about my studies – this sense of support and encouragement from both my peers and staff at AUT.”

Being able to gain valuable workplace experience as part of her studies was the highlight of her undergraduate degree, she says.

“As part of my Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, I completed workplace experience with Netball New Zealand, one of New Zealand’s leading national sport organisations. This gave me invaluable industry insights and was a great way to figure out future career options and make those all-important connections.”

Advice for other students
Make the most of every opportunity, Sophie advises.

“At AUT, there are so many opportunities to get involved, meet new people and make connections through the university clubs and social events. My advice would be to use the opportunities to grow your social network.

“For example, I was invited to participate in AUT’s Shadow a Leader programme, where I followed James Gibson, chief executive of The Sir Peter Blake Trust. This opportunity gave me great insight into the everyday life of a CEO. I was also awarded an AUT Summer Research Scholarship to work in partnership with AUT and Sport New Zealand. This fantastic opportunity provided me with invaluable experience before completing my own research.”

She recommends making the most of the lecturers and their knowledge.

“The conversations with my lecturers have been so insightful, especially when it came to choosing my papers and figuring out my career pathway. I like the fact that my lectures know my name and can work with a smaller number of students. It feels more personable and I think that’s really important for student support and encouragement.”