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Rob Mitchell

Without my degree I wouldn’t have been able to take that step to becoming Commercial Director at AFC Bournemouth."

I’m from Brighton originally but a couple of friends came down to Bournemouth University the year before I joined and I came down saw the university, saw the area and thought it was fantastic.

They did a leisure marketing degree which was exactly what I wanted to try and get into. I enjoyed marketing at college as a subject, and Bournemouth University just seemed like the perfect option really, in terms of a place to study, and I spent four very good years here including a placement year.

When I finished university I first got a job working for Northampton Town Football Club. Spent a couple of years there and then worked at Southampton Football Club for a couple of years. Then I saw a job opportunity here. I’d left football for a year but wanted to get back into football and saw a job opportunity at Bournemouth back in 2008 as commercial manager.

It was certainly a challenge in terms of where the club was at the time, just coming out of administration, in league two, and on minus points. A lot bridges had to be rebuilt with our commercial partners but I wanted to take on the challenge. Then I was made commercial director back in 2011. So I’ve been at the club six and a half years and it’s been very, very enjoyable, testing at times, but very enjoyable, and a great experience working at this club.

I wouldn’t have got the job at Northampton Town without my degree in marketing for sure. I think it was a stepping stone and showed I had the qualifications and the knowledge to be able to take on a marketing role. So without that I wouldn’t have been able to take that step to get a job in football.

I think the knowledge, the theory, putting it into practice on my placement year was of huge value. I would certainly recommend it to students looking at a course. A sandwich course which has placement year is certainly worthwhile because you get that year’s experience that employers are looking for when you’re finished university. And if you do a three year course for example sometimes you don’t get that work experience opportunity, so you’re a step behind.

I would say that my interest was more on the marketing, international marketing thing, brand advertising side of the degree. More than perhaps accounting, because figures aren’t my strongest point, but I think the placement year is very important. I did a sales job at an online holiday company, basically selling ski holidays and villa holidays. That gave me the sales experience to put into practice what I’d learnt at university, to then put on my CV, which then helped me get that first job at Northampton.

I’m honoured and delighted that we’re working with Bournemouth University as a commercial partner of AFC Bournemouth because I hold the university really close to my heart. It really helped me to get to where I am and it’s a great university.

It’s great that we’ve taken on some students to work with us, either on a work placement opportunity, work experience and also to actually be employed by the club now as well. So it’s great to still have that involvement and work with students and help them progress and get the experience they need for later life.

It’s a fantastic place to live. You know it sounds bias, but I’m from Brighton and Brighton’s also another seaside town so that’s obviously great as well, but Bournemouth just offers a bit of everything.

For a student, you’ve got a great night life. You’ve got the beach too. It’s a lovely part of the country to live in. You’ve got New Forest one side and you’ve got the Isle of Purbeck on the other side as well.  As a place to live, I think the fact that I’ve come back to Bournemouth and I’ve now lived here for a number of years, I would certainly recommend it as a place to be.