Jonny Kilgallon


Subject area

I chose to study Sport Science with Business Management as it allowed me to customize my modules in a way which gave me unparalleled exposure to the sports industry: everything from the politics of anti-doping, to the management of stadiums, and even the coaching of paralympic champions.

The research facilities are second to none. At the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport I was mentored by world leading academics and had regular access to Paralympic athletes during my undergraduate studies. In a world where sport science is an increasingly popular degree choice, studying at Loughborough is a badge of honour. The lecturers are more often than not authors of lead textbooks and are the 'go to authority' in their area of expertise.

Everyone knows that Loughborough is a cauldron for athletic excellence, but the sky's the limit as to where that talent can take you. It inspired me greatly to see that our alumni, namely Lord Coe and Baroness Campbell, could turn their world beating talent into a force for good in the political realm. I am now inspired to prove that just as athletes can change the world, so can sports coaches.

Jonny Kilgallon

With the help of Loughborough University I authored 3 publications in world renowned journals in the field of biomechanics and physiology, which enhanced my expertise in data analytics and the structuring of effective arguments in both written and oral form.

My degree from Loughborough has truly helped me in my career, for which I am truly grateful. For six years I worked as a sport scientist and coach in a range of professional sports, before penetrating the political realm as a Policy Advisor in the Government. Despite the role being both highly competitive and nichely specialised, my previous career undoubtedly helped me to succeed.

As of 2023, I am a Policy Advisor in Football Regulation at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, currently involved in the setting up of a regulator to ensure the financial sustainability of the English Football Pyramid. The success of English football is one of the UK's greatest exports and needs protecting. Accordingly, this initiative is one of the highest priority projects in domestic politics at present, with it being determined that the financial structures of the Football Pyramid needs reform. A 'light touch' method of government intervention is required, whereby an arms length regulator will be established, with powers set in statute, to intervene and make key decisions if required.

All high level jobs require an analytical mind, that is a given, and the academic rigour at Loughborough certainly fosters that. But the skill I've most consistently relied on is the ability to distill complex concepts and use data to persuade others and, at times, overruling another's opinion in a diplomatic way. The more I progress into management roles, the more this skill is required - I am still working on it! Students can get a head start on this by engaging in difficult conversations in lectures.

My advice for anyone starting their career is, if something is pulling you career wise, but you are torn with your options or are worried about the repercussions, I'd ask the following: 1) what are you hoping to achieve in career A?; 2) How long will it take to achieve your goals in career A?, and; 3) How could your achievements help you pursue career B? In my case, I allowed myself a maximum of 10 years to win trophies for sports teams, to publish research, and coach individual athletes to win world championships. I achieved this in 6 years, but my achievements helped to rank me as the top candidate from a pool of 500 applicants for my role in Government.

So, if you're struggling to answer those 3 questions, try putting a plan together and see if you can keep yourself accountable to your goals. But if you're not gaining anything tangible from your current path, confide in people you trust and have the courage to change your career, because the biggest risk would be to stay in a rut

Jonny graduated from Loughborough University in 2018.

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