Chris McMullin

Chris McMullin

Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)

Current position
Football and Business Analyst, AFL Players Association

I work as a Football and Business Analyst for the AFL Players Association. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to have a career in sport and in many ways it was my time at Monash that gave me my start and has allowed this to happen.

At Monash I studied a Bachelor of Commerce and then went on to do Honours in the area of sports management. One of the fantastic things about doing Commerce at the Monash Business School, and then going on to do Honours, was that I could steer my course content towards my passions. I studied some undergraduate subjects that dealt with sports economics and then was able to extend that knowledge across to writing my thesis which helped to set the foundations of my career.

I always found the staff at Monash incredibly engaged. There was one lecturer in particular who also guided me through my degree and beyond. When I was completing my Honours year and looking for the next step he suggested I consider studying overseas. The relationship I had with him was so important because his encouragement and support steered me in the direction of doing a Masters. I ended up going to Germany to study a Masters in Sports Economics and Sports Management. I gained a lot of positive experiences being exposed to sport on such international levels and developed a much greater understanding of how sports organisation, leagues and stakeholders are structured and the functions of interplay between each.

"When asked to explain why I studied business my answer is fairly simple: In some ways everything comes down to business."

I completed my Masters thesis on the AFL and when I returned to Australia I was certain that I wanted to use the knowledge I had gained in a relevant context so I started looking around for ways to apply it. Initially I started working for the Collingwood Football Club and then transitioned across to Champion Data, the company responsible for collecting and coding all AFL match data. I learnt a tremendous amount about data collection and analysis, knowledge which I have brought across to my current role.

A large part of my job is negotiating the best working conditions for the players. This may be wages, playing conditions and the experiences they have at matches. Anything that concerns the welfare of players. My role has a large evidence based aspect to it and often requires me to join in to negotiations and present evidence and create an argument which will facilitate and steer the desired outcome. It requires good skills of analysis as well as communication.

Probably the professional achievement I am most proud of so far was playing an integral role in the collective bargaining salary negotiations that took place within the AFL this year. I was involved in the strategy and negotiation of a deal worth $1.84 billion over 4 years. I love influencing change to make a difference and seeing the requirements of my role and my skill set come together to make that difference was really satisfying.

When asked to explain why I studied business my answer is fairly simple: In some ways everything comes down to business. The area of business is so varied you can do anything with a business qualification. Whatever you do, whether you’re a stockbroker, an entrepreneur or a plumber, a large part of your success depends on incentive, the payment for goods and services and understanding stakeholders and the parts they play. Once you understand the guiding principles and their application, you can make business whatever you want it to be.