Former inter county footballer for Westmeath, and entrepreneur Paul Aherne discusses the pressures of balancing business and studying for a Masters
I understand you have a background in business?
Yeah, so I have my own company which is 50% sports psychology and 50% leadership and human resources development. I work with businesses and organisations, in terms of developing their interests, developing their people strategies and so on.
What made you come and do this course?
Well I was always interested in sport. I played Inter-County football with Westmeath for a good number of years and then I was involved in coaching. For my role in organisations I do a lot of work to develop people’s performance. Sport isn’t a million miles away from that its doing it in a suit or doing it in a tracksuit, so getting some real professional knowledge and experience to be able to apply in a sports environment was really what the driver was in terms of doing this course
Did you find it tough to juggle the business life and the college life?
Well when I started I moved from working in an organisation to being self-employed so it gave me a bit more flexibility in terms of being able to manage the various demands. I was down here every Monday which was fine you just plan your week around it from that point of view, at certain times of the year with exams and assignments and you have work demand you might be burning the midnight oil a bit but, if you’re planned and organised it’s not too bad you’ll get times where there’s a bit of pressure on but it’s just about keeping on top of the work really.
Would you have any advice for people looking at this course?
Yeah first of all I’d say be passionate about sport and really interested in all sports and not just the one sport that you might have played or be interested in. The second thing is just be really passionate about people and helping people perform, because in essence that’s what its focus is and if you’ve got that mind set it makes you have the right sort of approach and interest. I’d say thirdly there’s a lot of science behind it and getting behind the what you might call pop psychology that you’re reading the newspapers and really understanding the science and the theories behind it can be hard work because it’s not straight forward but after coming out the backend of it and using an awful lot of it you’re relating it back and building it on science, theories and concepts that you’ve learned. So be prepared to struggle with those but they translate them into real life examples.
Interviewed by Ian Bradley at Conferring 2018