We met this week with our AMOS alumni Corentin Divais, who is currently studying Global Sport Business Master, in London. Recently employed as Inside Sales and Customer Service Representative at Callaway Golf Europe. This interview is about Corentin’s insights regarding the importance of learning English for work at a sports high level, how his journey started, advice to our future AMOS professionals, the next generation of industry leaders.
1- It is a pleasure to connect with you today, Corentin. Can you share with us a bit about your academic background?
Hi, it is also a pleasure for me to be here with you today, to share my experience! First of all, to introduce myself and my background, I had my baccalaureate in 2016, when I went to the University in Nantes (in France), where I did a bachelor’s degree in Sports Sciences.
In 2019, I joined AMOS Sport Business School in Nantes for my first year of the master’s degree in sport management. I was at school 3 days a week and for the rest of the week, I was working for the Nantes Hockey Club as an Event and Communications Assistant. Prior to this experience, I had experiences in the sports industry with football, but Hockey was very new to me – it was a very good experience.
In March 2020, during the pandemic, I thought about doing my final year abroad, and I applied to join the London Campus for my Master 2. I did an interview with Joanne, and she said to me “yes you can come, you’re welcome here”. I was very happy to be able to go to London, and my first thought was that it would help me to improve my English. Now, a year after, my English has improved a lot.
Since February of this year, I was looking for an internship to validate my degree, and in the end, I found a permanent job in the UK, so I decided to make the jump and I came back in May to start my new life! I came back a month ago to start my job at Canary Wharf.
2- While studying for your master’s degree at AMOS, what were the fundamental values you learned when applying your skills to the sports industry?
For me, there are 3 fundamental values to apply skills to the sports industry:
The first one is to open your mind to everything; I know some of my classmates or other students at AMOS just wanted to work for the marketing or event position in the sport business industry, but I think that sales positions are very important because that is what brings in the revenue. Without any money, clubs cannot do events, marketing campaigns etc…
One thing I would like to insist on saying is: do not close the door when they are fully open ...!
During my last year of my Masters, I had some Sales classes with one of Amos London lecturers, Ken Sharp, who is working for the football industry. He taught us a lot about the football industry but also in Sales in general such as managing customer relationships, ... I think that AMOS should push more and more into that direction, because Sales are very important and as a Business School, we need to have Sales – not just Marketing and Events, in London.
The second one is to be curious. If you love sport, I think it is important to have some curiosity. For example, I love football but in my first year of master I was working in a Hockey club, I am now working in a Golf company even though I did not know anything about Golf two months ago. When I had my interview with the managers, I was motivated to learn about Golf and I think that is also why they picked me because I showed my motivation by being curious, by being keen in learning new things.
Finally, the last value I want to share is to have ambition! If you do not have ambition, you will not go anywhere. Look at me, one year ago my English was basic, I learned a lot about the sports industry in the UK whilst studying at AMOS London, but I also improved my English.
I really loved the city and the atmosphere around sports in London, so I worked hard to find a job or an internship, and I found one! Conclusion, if you work hard, if you are ambitious and you have strong will, you will succeed in your objective! But you need to work hard and keep working at it!
3- Can you tell us a bit more about your experience at Callaway Golf Europe in Chessington? (How did you find this opportunity? How long have you worked here? What are your missions?)
I had a first interview with the agency, and they told me on the following Friday that I was going through to the next round. I had only 2 days to prepare for an interview with my 2 managers and I was supposed to be able to speak about golf… that was the biggest challenge as I hardly knew anything about this sport. After researching on golf for the following 48 hours, I was ready, I had learnt a lot about the sport but also about the company itself: its’ history, their products, etc. 2 weeks down the line, they told me to come to London to work with them! And today, I am working at Callaway Golf Europe.
I am working within an international team: Swedish, German, English but also French people. I am working for the French customers, so I had to learn to switch languages between English and French. My role is “Inside Sales and Customer Service Representative” for the French market.
My missions are separated in two parts: the first part is focusing on Sales but at the moment we are in a very busy time of the year and customers come to us on their own. We do not have to go to them to sell our product.
The other part is focused on customer service which is mainly dealing with issues and resolving them while creating great relationships with the customers.
It is great to be able to speak with the customers and create relationships with them and hopefully, in a year or so, I will be able to speak with the English customers for the English market of the company! To be honest, it is a good first position in the sports industry in the UK and I am working for the best brand in the golf industry, so it is even better!
What I notice from this experience is the difference between the work culture in the UK and in France. In the UK, they are working hard but the atmosphere is more relaxed than in France. Also, the sport industry is amazing in the UK. In France, the sport industry is not doing a lot of work with the government.
4- What does the organisation of Callaway Golf Europe represent, and what does the future ambition hold for the company? (what are the company's values? ; What does the golf industry represent?...)
As I just said before, Callaway Golf represents the first brand in the golf industry; to be honest, we are the best golf clubs’ dealer, but regarding soft goods such as shoes or even golf balls we are 2nd or 3rd (which is not too bad!). The company wants to stay in the lead, which is obviously evident, but they also want to improve constantly the technology around golf clubs, well I think this is a correct guess! Honestly, I cannot say a lot of things about the company’s ambition, I have only been around for 1 month, but time flies!
5- I appreciate there is no such thing as a regular day working in the sports industry. However, could we hear about what your role looks like on a day-to-day basis as well as telling us about some of the impacts you have made?
Basically, there is no regular day when working in the sports industry, but when you are working in the office, you have some similarities with your 5-days work week, as you have the same schedule, the same workplace… But I also have different missions and issues to fix every day, it is never monotonous, and I learn new things every day about golf! For example, at 8.30am I will order clubs for a customer but at 8.45am I will manage an issue with him and at 9.00am I will be ordering balls and headcovers for his event in July. I have many different missions and I have a lot of interactions with customers! And when you like creating relationships, you discover a lot by meeting new people, especially when you are curious, this is the perfect job for me!
6- Every aspect of the sport has been affected these last few months by the global health crisis. How has the pandemic impacted your business, and is there anything positive that have you taken away from this situation?
With the COVID crisis and all the restrictions around social distancing, a lot of people started playing golf because it was on the list of the sports allowed to be played during the crisis. So, it is a growing market, and this year Callaway is beating all their records, it has shown the increasing popularity of this sport. So, for Callaway, although last year was a difficult year for the business, this year has been amazing, and we are only in June! I think I arrived in the company not at the best moment because we have some issues to manage, but for the business in general, I think it is the best moment, as golf is becoming more famous in France, and more accessible too, so all this promises to be very encouraging for the next few years.
7- What does the future hold for you?
To be honest, I do not know! For the moment I am in London, it was one of my biggest wishes to come back here, and I would like to stay here for a few more years or more. I like the company where I work, and I really enjoy living in London, I keep improving my English every day, I meet new people every week, so everything is perfect for the moment! But in 10 years, for example, I do not know where I will be, or even if I will still be working abroad and/or in the sports industry! I would like to work in different careers, and in different industries, I don’t know yet when and where, but I would really like to work with 2 industries simultaneously, such as sport and culture for instance?
8- Reflecting on this interview and on your sports career, what advice would you give our AMOS students looking to break into the sports industry?
First, I will say that English is very important. If you want to work in the sport industry and in an international environment, you have to speak English. Even if you are not good at English, you have to try. When you are coming to London, my advice will be to mix with English people – do not stay with just French people – so you can progress in English.
The second one will be: do not be afraid to fail because failure makes you, it helps you grow and become mature. It will drive your career where you want it to go.
Third, is to have a competitive spirit because it’s one of the biggest values in sports because you want to win!
9- Thanks, Corentin, for taking the time to talk to us today. Do you have the last word you would like to share to conclude this interview?
It was a pleasure to share my experience with you! I just want to say DARE, if you don't have the courage to do things you will never get anything, not just during your studies but also when you are working, and in your life in a general way! Enjoy every day of your life, enjoy what you are doing, do what you love, SPORT is fantastic, and we are lucky to work in this industry!
Written by Katharina Tchernega, Communication and Events Officer AMOS London.