Risha Rathore is an entrepreneur and an athlete, making her internship placement with Saracens Football Club in London a perfect match. Saracens is a professional rugby team and the reigning champion of the English Premiership league. A junior studying Finance and Healthcare Management at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, Risha took leave from her role as owner and manager of the campus transport company – part of a student entrepreneurship initiative – in order to pursue her dream of studying in London.
“I’ve always been infatuated with London,” she says, “…and I thought the internship would be interesting. Most study abroad programs are only classroom-based, but with the internship you get to see how all sides of life are different in a country and how businesses operate.”
Risha works in the finance department, commuting just over an hour to the northwest London suburb of Hendon where the team’s management office is located overlooking Allianz Park. The commute is worth it for the access the internship has provided. The entire 50-person Saracens management team is located in an open space with each team situated at its own cluster of tables. Risha sits next to the Finance Director and eats lunch every day with colleagues from all departments in Saracen’s catering facility.
The Olin program in London concentrates classroom instruction into the first portion of the semester, allowing for eight weeks of intensive internship. Risha works four full-days a week and has prepared profit and loss statements for home games, reconciliation reports on pension and medical insurance plans, and even distributed cash to registers and managed legers on game days.
After a few weeks on the job, she was tasked with evaluating the team’s online ticket platform against competitor services. “I collected figures to determine whether the team should even consider competing services. I had to figure out a reasonable price for negotiation and was even invited to attend the meeting with the service provider to reevaluate terms.”
A lifelong athlete and rugby player, Risha had never considered working in sport before her internship in London. “My interest in rugby has always been separate from school, purely for fun. I’d never really considered mixing those parts of my life. It’s niche, but not out of the question,” she reflects, “…I’ll keep the door open.”