Loughborough Alumni

Our alumni

Khalil Rener

CEO & Founder: Rener Wellbeing Consulting

Khalil graduated in 2015 with a B.Sc. in Sport and Exercise Science, before going on to earn an M.Sc. in Sport Management in 2016. Since graduation he has volunteered around the world and today he runs his own company, developing well-being strategies for companies and individuals.

Why did you choose to study at Loughborough University?

I’ve always been very sporty, from going on active holidays with my family through to competitively playing many sports. As I started competing more seriously in cross country and rugby I increasingly became interested in how my mind and body work, especially as I used to get nervous before big games and races. Therefore A-level PE was an obvious choice as was Sports and Exercise Science at university.

I chose Loughborough as I really liked the feel of it when I visited and it is the best place to study sports-related subjects. Rugby was my main sport and Loughborough has many rugby-related opportunities, which also attracted me a lot. I ended up doing a lot of coaching and played for the Rugby League 1st team.

I was able to study a range of modules during my undergraduate course and towards the end I wanted to go deeper into the management side of the sports industry, so I decided to dive right into the M.Sc. Sports Management course.

How has Loughborough University inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?

The quality of the teaching was great and helped me be confident in dealing with sports science and sports management related content. There is a culture of excellence at Loughborough and being around like-minded people with the same interests was very motivating.

There were also so many opportunities to get experience and exposure within the sports industry. I feel I took advantage of these, which enabled me to build my CV before graduating. Being able to gain more of an understanding of the areas I did and didn't want to work in within the sports industry was also extremely valuable.

Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?

To take advantage of all the amazing people, opportunities and resources at hand within the department and university as a whole. It is still possible to do uni work, get involved in lots of clubs and experiences as well as and still have lots of free time… so to me it's a no brainer!

How did your involvement in the Coaching and Volunteering Academy impact upon your time as a student? What would you say to others who were considering getting involved?

I was heavily involved with the CVA and it was a large part of my life as a student. I was a Video Analyst for the 1st XV rugby team, I coached in schools and clubs, I was selected to go on the Zambia on a rugby development trip, and become the rugby coordinator, coaching other volunteer coaches on how to coach. It also opened the door to me coaching with Leicester Tigers as a community rugby coach, which was the best student and summer job ever!

By being around amazing coaches, I got to hone my coaching skills and gain qualifications and experience. I would definitely say to anyone thinking of being involved to try it out. There are more opportunities now than when I was there, so if one doesn’t quite take your fancy, try out the different areas too. 

Can you tell us about your career journey so far?

At school I did a lot of voluntary work over the summers, for example helping out with leadership development camps my father used to run all over the world, including Madagascar, Germany and France as well as helping to build water pipes for a town in Peru.

In my first summer at university I went to Zambia to help run the rugby development project out there. We went across the country, working closely with the Zambian Rugby Football Union to help build out a more sustainable development plan.

During my undergraduate years at uni I coached rugby for Leicester Tigers’ community team and stayed involved with them for over three years. I mainly worked on specialised match day coaching clinics, with their rugby camps, refereeing tournaments and a number of other community projects they ran.

During the summer of my third year at university I worked for Oxford International as the Activity Manager for a Summer Camp based at St Mary’s School in Ascot with 200 international students, in charge of the on and off-site activities and a team of 11 coaches.

When I graduated I helped with a sports consultancy project in Tajikistan. I travelled across Tajikistan as part of a team, evaluating eight youth leadership development camps. We looked at aspects such as activity delivery, health and safety and facilities. I helped to create the report highlighting our findings, including potential opportunities and strategies for improvement.

I then had three months of sports development work experience with GLL, working closely with Community Sports Managers on different projects, ranging from developing project and funding proposals through to designing ways of improving physical activity rates in the elderly.

After that I was hired as a business coach and business developer with a startup. I helped run strategy coaching sessions for startups and pitching workshops. For example the CEO and I helped 10 Greek startups on their investment pitches to present to the likes of Seedrs and Warwick Business School in The London Shard.

After realising I enjoyed business development, I joined CEB, now Gartner, the world’s leading advisory firm, to help grow their Finance & Strategy in Middle Markets client base.

I realised I did not like corporate sales pretty quickly and I moved back to Oxford International, in their Head office. I interviewed and trained activity staff in the build up to Easter and Summer camps for international students. I was the Centre Manager for The Masters business camp over Easter based at Oundle School, and for the summer camp based at Goldsmiths University. They were relatively large in size, with 30 employees and 300 students, that I oversaw.

After the summer camp in Goldsmiths and a trip from South to North Vietnam with my girlfriend, I decided to start Rener Wellbeing Consulting. We develop individualised wellbeing strategies for organisations and individuals, to help them easily integrate wellbeing in their lives, thus be happier, healthier, and more productive.

What advice would you give to others who are looking to set up their own start-up company?

I have almost started this company twice before and then backed out, mainly because I felt that I needed more experience and knowledge before taking the leap. I think it is important to feel ready to commit, because starting on your own is no small feat. Make sure you have a good support network around you to keep you going.

It will be the hardest but best job you’ll ever have! I’ve found that there are many start-up events in London where people share a lot of useful tips for entrepreneurs starting out, so take advantage of those! There is also a wealth of knowledge online, such as the Y Combinator start-up school lectures.

Can you tell us more about your passion for workplace wellbeing?

My mother travels a lot for work. She managed to stay healthy throughout her high pressure role, however I saw a lot of her colleagues struggling to remain healthy and even have significant health complications without making changes to their lifestyle. I couldn’t understand how they weren’t actively making changes to their lives.

That inspired me to research the barriers and enablers of physical activity for business executives that travel frequently during my undergraduate dissertation. One of my favourite modules during my undergraduate was also Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Health, which touched on workplace wellbeing and also spiked my interest in the area.

During my Sports Management Masters degree thesis I followed up from my undergraduate research and develop a five stage process to help business executives that travel frequently on how to be sustainably physically active alongside their busy lives.

What do you love the most about your job?

I love that I can build something around an idea I am very passionate about, on my own terms.

What does the future hold for you?

Who can say, really? But I am hoping to work with more organisations and individuals to keep improving people’s happiness and health.

 

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