Loughborough Alumni

Our alumni

Neel Deshpande

Account Executive: CSM Sport & Entertainment

Neel graduated with a degree in Sport Management from Loughborough University in 2018. Since then, Neel has gone on to work for CSM Sport & Entertainment as an Account Executive. Find out more about his career journey below.

What does your current job involve?

My job is heavily oriented around sport partnerships. I have a major client in DP World – Dubai’s state owned and one of the world’s largest port operator. We manage their partnership and activation as a Global Sponsor for the European Tour, Title Sponsor for the Renault Formula 1 team and a Principal Sponsor for an IPL team. This includes devising their sponsorship strategy and ultimately actioning it professionally and through best-in-class practices.

Another client I work for is Mubadala, which is the Abu Dhabi state investment fund managing their sponsorship portfolio across professional and community sport and entertainment properties.

I have also supported other clients across regions such as Specsavers and their cricket activation at the Ashes 2019, operational support at the Special Olympics World Games and the Asian Football Confederation Awards.

What made you want to work in this field?

Since my final year at Loughborough, I have been fascinated by how and why brands invest in sport, how they maximise their return on investment, how they meet their business objectives and engage with target audiences through sport sponsorship. My current role really reflects not only my interests, but also what I learnt during my course.

How have the skills developed during your degree helped you in this role?

I think the industry knowledge I received along with certain models and theories I learnt were really the foundation that has enabled me to understand concepts better during my role. The course provided me with practical skills honing my communication and lateral-thinking skills, which are essential industry skills.

What support/teaching in particular has helped you in your career to date?

I think the Advanced Sport Marketing module in particular really made me understand the workings and nuances of sport partnerships and that has been invaluable in my role so far. This combined with the sport leadership opportunities offered within the Loughborough Students Union was an incredible combination, increasing both my knowledge and confidence of pursuing a role efficiently in this exciting industry.

Did you go on a placement while at University? If so where and in what role?

Yes. I completed my placement year at IMG-Reliance in Mumbai, India where I worked as a Partnerships Intern. This was a dream placement for me as I was working in the partnerships team at the Mumbai Indians for the 2017 IPL season. As a huge cricket fan myself, this was an incredible opportunity to understand the processes and develop skills needed to work in this field. I also had the opportunity to conceptualise social media content for the Mumbai Indians and ultimately assist in producing it.

I also had the opportunity to support Mumbai Indians’ talent management including leading Indian cricketers such as Hardik Pandya and Rohit Sharma, coordinating their appearance schedules, Facebook Live interviews and sponsor relationships.

How have the skills and knowledge you developed on placement helped you in your career to date?

I think the exposure I received of the behind-the-scenes of a professional sporting team and one of the biggest sporting properties in the world – the IPL, was invaluable. The connections made and conversations I had have been a springboard to having a really cool and fun job in sport currently. I have also been able to bring my experience of understanding and servicing sport partnerships into my current

What were the highlights of your time at Loughborough outside of your course/placement?

It goes without saying, the Loughborough culture is amazing. I love how almost everyone loves sport and the vibe and emphasis of enjoying and playing sport. I think the Students Union offers loads of opportunities that can really complement your
course. As a result, I was able to win the Loughborough Commemorative Award (an award offered to students who engage in co-curricular activities that complement their course) as well the Loughborough Employability Award.

I volunteered at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – I was supported by the university as I was provided a grant through the Loughborough Commemorative Award and even Loughborough Sport helped me by providing a grant recognising the work I done with Loughborough Sport. I’m grateful to the SSEHS, the university and LSU for the support provided.

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