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(What an experience I have had at IMG! Passed faster than light and learned more than the Solskjaer of technology)


“I tell you, nothing is going to happen here. I wish we were working for IMG.” ---  My friend’s words while sitting in the parking lot of an Indian soccer stadium, during our marketing stint at an Indian soccer club, having failed to fill the seats with people.

Many of you might remember my blog-post, written about two and a half years ago, ‘A Touch Closer’. It was about how after being rejected by this software company, Tieto, God presented me with an opportunity to work and get paid, for what was a lot of money for me back then, by the largest soccer data and analytics company in Asia, Real Time Sportscast (RTS), as a soccer commentator and analyst.

After RTS, I went on to write for the largest soccer website in the world, market the biggest and the best professionally managed club in India, and in the past five months, I have interned with the largest sport management company in the world. I have come a long way but it's only 1% of where I want to be. Reflecting back, that job with RTS did end up getting me a touch closer.

At RTS, I was taught about stats, how they are needed, their importance, value and most importantly, their use. I started from scratch, did online soccer commentary of games, helped collect statistics and worked as a statistician, helped report the statistics and most importantly, working with technology and data, and analyzed them to aid the teams playing in the Indian Soccer League (I-League). It was a great experience.

When I moved to the United States, I was put on board of the FSU Women’s Soccer Team as a soccer analyst. It was a great year-long experience and it helped me in mastering my dream technology/software, Prozone. Now, I am called a ‘Prozone Expert’ by a few people in the industry and having learned Dartfish, I look to take my analysis to the next levels.

Late September 2012, I had applied for an internship in Sponsorship with the academy of the world’s largest sport management company, International Management Group (IMG), and they came back to me asking me to focus on another area, along with Sponsorship, Performance Technology (PT). I had offers for a marketing internship with NASCAR in Daytona, a marketing (branding) internship with Florida Panthers and a communications internship with the Philadelphia Union, but when IMG came calling with PT, my choice was clear, even though one of the other internships offered to pay me an hourly wage and another would have covered my housing and food.



When I started with IMG, that thing of ‘working for IMG’ had sunk in, completely. With my first week here, I was still caught in the ’IMG awe’. Seeing the work-culture, the professionalism among staff, the facility and infrastructure, the star athletes on campus, my job and responsibilities, the level of technology used, the knowledge to gain…everything…it was just marvelous, and I couldn’t believe that I was there. And to my loss, I, sort of, had started feeling that the organization was too big for me, and I had started undervaluing myself. I wish I had respected myself as much as I had done at any of the places where I worked in the past, but it was a priceless lesson from a learning standpoint. I won’t lie, I had a shaky start, but I improved in my work and partly, it was due to the IMG staff, who me feel like I was a part of the team. From the bottom of my heart, I thank them for that. It underlines their professionalism and management skill.

Alright, back to joining IMG. When I was told that I am cleared to join IMG, I remembered my friend’s quote (mentioned at the start of the post). It was all like a dream. I say, “I rely on miracles,” and that is what it was, it was a miracle. From a good old electronics engineer, who only ever sat for one job interview because he was clear that he wanted to get to Manchester United and Sky Sports, to a boy who interviewed players from several top clubs including Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur, and is followed by Sky Sports journalists on Twitter, to one who was asked to be the face of the private television of an Indian soccer club that had their best season this year, to a boy who worked every day with the number one collegiate women’s soccer team in America on the number one soccer analysis software in the world used by the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Arsenal, and to a boy who was stepping into something that he considered absolutely massive, it was unbelievable how far I had come.

My internship was dual-departmental, and for the sponsorship department, I worked on sponsorship activation, sponsorship representation, inventory management, sponsor events, sponsor-related social media interaction and sponsor-apparel allotment, amongst several things. Working and interacting with some of the top sponsorship professionals at IMG, along with the personnel from sponsors that visited the IMG Academy campus onsite, was a magnificent experience.

For the performance department, I dealt with some of the state-of-the-art technologies that were there to learn. My job in performance revolved around working on Catapult, but later, I also started working on Dartfish and worked on match analysis with IMG’s under-14 soccer team. It was a major challenge but it was terrific. Working with Catapult was a little tough because I did not have the necessary exercise science knowledge needed but I was there to implement the technology, and I was very clear in that aspect.

The Catapult Guy! (Real Time Analysis)
I believe, I did the best job that I possibly could have done and in the process, learned a lot. Dartfish was awesome. Knowing how to use the tagging feature in Dartfish has taught me how to integrate various technologies together maximizing its use. I thought Match Analysis (MA) would be a piece of cake for me, having worked on the best technology that was there to work on, in Prozone. But Match Analysis was different as it required a lot more manual work, but was no big deal for me to adapt. However, with enough on the table to work with, finding time to work with MA was tough, especially because I was not bound to work on when I started. Working with MA and IMG soccer was something that I took up due to my love for soccer and my two-year analysis experience in the sport.

In all, IMG offered me an invaluable experience. In fact, I would have paid to work on some of the things that I worked on and gain the knowledge that I gained. It was very-very special indeed. Every single morning I would wake up, smile and say, “I am living my dream,” and then, leave my apartment for work. I have loved every moment of my time in Bradenton, Florida. I still remember when some of my colleagues brought in a desk and set it up for me; what a moment that was! I was so touched. Five minutes after that happened, I went into the restroom, locked myself in one of the toilets and cried. To me, it showed that I was valued and loved. It was such a touching thing. Even on my final day, gifts and comments like these made me melt. By the way, in the picture is a shakeweight gifted to me by one of the 'crew' members. I will miss the crew; everyone, absolutely everyone.


There are so many memories that I am taking back home with me and holding which in the highest regard, I would cherish these for a lifetime.

My office for the summer - Doak Campbell Stadium
Hey reader, if you are looking for an internship or a job, apply for a position at IMG Academy, it may not only fulfill your expectation, but it may even supersede it.


As for me, it’s time to move on and further enhance my learning. Next stop: Florida State Football. Yes, I am heading back to Tallahassee. As my Tally lads may say, “Back In the hood.” In the hood, yes, but who knows, I may head back to IMG in the future again :)

Yesterday, it was IMG; tomorrow it will be Manchester United. My dreams and aspirations make me a dreamer. Thanks for reading this post from the nib of my pen.

Follow your heart. Have faith. Live your dream.

Love,
Kratik

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3 comments:

  1. PB says:

    Great Read. Loved it.

    I love the 'face of private television...' part ;)
    Every time I read something written by you, it brings a smile to my face...

    Your passion for sports and that wont-settle-for-anything-but-awesome attitude can be clearly felt by reading this article ,rather all your articles.

    Keep 'em coming :D

  1. NeOAxEs says:

    Hey

    Many congratulations. You are so passionate about soccer and it feels very good to you getting all these incredible opportunities. I am also glad that you are making most of each of them.

    I agree with above post that, you blog always brings a smile to my face as I can feel your excitement about everything you do.

    God Bless and good luck in future :D

    -Mayank

  1. Few things are more than just a coincidence. Last tym I read your post was years before. Somehow I jus couldnt. Today, I was surfing through your tweets got me to this blog. Two days before I watched a movie starring Bradd pitt, MONEYBALL, reading your post, I came up with many things. your blog is kinda re-watching those stats, numbers, analysts..........above all, better or worst following your dreams. Achievments n accomplishments donn last long, it is the process of chasing dreams that is worth having. And bro, you are exactly living a dream come true. I need to follow what I love to do. Kip writng, yes, it puts a smile on face that conveys more than words can ever do. All the best for your future n congrates.
    Me: cricketer, sadashivpeth vs narayanpeth


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