Alumni connect: ILS helped in shaping my formative years, says Samiha Dabholkar
The lawyer turned sports management consultant talks about her journey so far and her plans for the future
Samiha Dabholkar, 26, is a lawyer and now a sports management consultant. She has recently taken up a project with Asian Football Conference in Singapore. She has represented Maharashtra in football, volleyball and rugby. She talks about her journey so far and future plans.
Which college, course, and batch were you in?
I studied at ILS Law college, BSL LLB (2010-2015) and AISTS, Lausanne (Switzerland) - masters in sports administration and technology (MAS), 2017.
Tell us about your educational background?
I studied in the reputed JB Petit High School for Girls in Mumbai. Following a move to Pune, I ticked off the trio through the past 18 years - Symbiosis, Fergusson College and ILS Law College. My inclination to work in the sports industry took me to complete my master’s at AISTS in Lausanne. The master’s programme has been founded by the International Olympic Committee.
How were you in academics- a bright student, average or below average?
My academic scores have been a roller coaster of sorts- from merit lists to decent scores. But, thankfully my parents, never attached much importance to it. I was always pushed to explore beyond the compartmentalised educational structure - be it through travel, art, music, science and many more. I was brought up in an environment where asking questions, articulation, an intent for discovery, and a cohesive thought process were always given high priority. Thanks to that, I believe I continue getting a good dose of education everyday and I do better than just float.
What drove you to choose this career path?
I found a fascination in law towards the end of school, I think because it is a great mix of creativity, analysis, and comprehension. However, sports has always been the closest to my heart. I played various sports at competitive levels throughout my younger life. I was keen on finding a marriage of the two and was lucky to do so. For the past one year, I have been working in the international sports industry in Switzerland and Singapore.
What happened after graduation?
After finishing law school, I took a few months off before actually beginning work. I was conflicted between going for a Masters in Law right after graduation or a few years after. Once I made the decision, I traveled a bit, did some sport development work across India and finally started working at a law firm in Mumbai. I had applied for the Sports Masters in Switzerland and got news of my admission 8 months after working as a law associate. The move to Switzerland was in a few months and ever since things have been moving super fast- from completing my Master’s to working in the sports industry.
Tell us about your career journey?
I started off as a lawyer. I was fortunate to have met stellar mentors who made my first official job a great learning experience. In Lausanne, I have been working for an international sports consultancy agency who work on the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and other such sporting events. It was a fantastic transition as I had the opportunity to dive straight into the top most happenings in the world of sport.
What about the highs and lows of your career so far?
I think I am too young to say that I have had any career highs or lows. Nothing really is that life-changing this early on in one’s professional life, I believe. However, getting a job in Lausanne, and one which I really sought, could be the most recent eventful point in my career. Knowing that employability in the EU is not at all the easiest, it was quite a relief. Both ILS and AISTS have had a big impact. ILS helped in shaping my formative years while AISTS was great exposure to the international market.
Please tell us about your upcoming/current project?
I have recently moved to Singapore for a project with Asian Football for a year or two, and am looking forward to exploring Asia and its amazing food.
What are your future plans?
As of now, I want to focus on my tasks at hand. The past two years abroad have taught me that how much ever you plan, one small change in circumstance and the whole picture gets reorganised. I hope though that I will continue my involvement in the world of sport for a long time and eventually contribute to the Indian sporting scene.