An exclusive interview with Sporjo founder Srinivvasan   

Srinivvasan  is the founder of Sporjo, an organization that tries to match candidates with the right jobs in Indian sports industry. Bizbehindsports had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Srinivvasan  where he talked in depth about the company’s activities, goals, service charges, achievements and much more.

Sporjo has been gaining traction in the recent past, can you tell us about its activities?

Sporjo is a company that assesses, trains and gets people jobs in the sports industry. It is a platform for people who want to work in sports with a mission to transform their passion to profession and create a meritocratic pathway.

The Sporjo formula is simple, passion + personality + proficiency = a career in sports. Passion is inherent, personality needs to be analyzed and the individual mapped to a role they are likely to do well in and proficiency which is what you will be doing in your job daily

Step 1: Sporjo builds a community and collects a lot of information about the candidate which eliminates the need for a CV and maybe one or two rounds of interview. This is important to provide rich, relevant and meaningful data to the employer. This information maps you to the right roles and customize the test.

Step 2: A Test: like GMAT that does not get you admission but helps you know your standing. The degree of difficulty is based on your years of work experience. The first section is passion which is fairly standard. The personality part helps you identify a role that you are likely to succeed in, sales, operations, digital etc. The third step is proficiency what you are actually going to do in your job. These are questions on sport with lens of the vertical. E.g. which brand is there on the front of shirt for Mumbai Indians if you are interested in sales, Which Indian non cricket franchise has the largest engagements online if you are interested in digital. You get the SPORSCORR which is the report at the end of this test which details out each section

Step 3: The Next step is consulting (SPORCONSLT) which is optional. The scores can be discussed with an industry expert (who have more than 10-12 years of work experience in sports) to discuss the SPORSCORR in the preferred vertical of their choice. Experts will guide them on operations, sales, digital and athlete representation to start with. We will keep adding verticals soon after that. 

Step 4: Move on to SPORPRREP: a series of online content modules (masterclass style) which give guidance on building proficiency in that vertical. E.g. Someone working on social media for an FMCG passionate about sports may not directly fit into social media in sports because they know social media and sport. The job could be at a club, a league, a federation, a brand or with a company involved in grassroots. The consumer, the messaging, the tonality are very different in each case. Candidates will be urged to understand these concepts and do some homework what’s happening around them in the world of sports

Step 5: The next stage of SPORPRREP is a project in conjunction with partner companies. These are challenges faced by them on a day to day basis. E.g. increasing ticket sales of a local sports franchise or marketing a 12 year old chess prodigy. The companies will set their own KPIs and evaluate the candidates accordingly. For example the projects of two companies in a T20 cricket league might be the same but KPIs would be different. All this is stored in our database and once an employer briefs us, the Sporjo algorithm is smart enough to create a list of potential candidates with meaningful rich data and in minutes. 

The methodology is slightly different for senior level hires.The candidates will be matched to jobs that they are suitable for in an objective and scientific manner.

What inspired you to start Sporjo?

There is a massive gap between candidates and employers in the sports industry. Currently candidates feel if they watch sports and know all the players, stats etc, or they have played a sport for their state or studied sports management from an institute outside India – they should get a job in sports easily. Sporjo seeks to demystify such assumptions, assist them in multiple areas and chart out a clear pathway for them. If you ask an aspiring candidate what do you want to do in sports – they say anything because they don’t have awareness of various roles and therefore little clarity on what the expectations from those roles are. That leaves an even lesser idea of the real life challenges faced by the industry. On the other hand if you ask an employer – finding the perfect match, long lead times for hiring, no bridge with prospective candidates, no reach outside the industry and limited training time for candidates are massive challenges

From an employer’s perspective, the sports industry has evolved but the hiring needs to catch up. The process of getting a job in sports is currently challenging and needs to be streamlined. There is very little job mapping, long lead times no database of job ready candidates and lack of training time. Sporjo aims to solve each of these problems from both the candidate and the employers’ side with its unique tech enabled smart platform.

Why are students facing difficulty in getting jobs in the sports industry even after doing sports management?

Employers expect candidates to be a lot more job ready when they join. I guess you will need to ask the employers as to what they are looking for in a candidate coming out of Sports Management institutes. 

MBA in sports management and PGDM in sports management. How do people from these two qualifications fit in differently in Indian sports ecosystem?    

There is no difference. As mentioned before, an individual has to have a mix of passion, personality and proficiency to do well in sports management. 

Do you see a benefit in people studying sports management when it comes to placements? 

Education in any form is great. There is no substitute. It also depends a lot on the student as to how much he/she has imbibed and most importantly applied to be effective and productive.

How many beneficiaries have been placed in the sports industry with the help of Sporjo?            

As of now we have placed 12 people. There are 14 ongoing mandates from leading companies on our platform.      

How do applicants benefit from taking Sporjo’s test?

You can check it out yourself basis the testimonials of the candidates 

Like every other sector, sports is also an industry that needs people to learn from experience no matter what the test says, do you agree to that?

Absolutely, experience is crucial but to be hired you need to be job ready. What about so many freshers who need to enter the world of sports? They will not get experience right? How will the industry grow if freshers are not made job ready? Any industry will grow when the universe keeps growing, in this case people. The rate of entry of new people in the industry is really low. Sporjo intends to change that.

The test is a meritocratic, objective and scientific way of assessing a candidate. Right now it is the subjective opinion of an individual. And unlike most industries like banking and FMCG which are a lot more structured and groom freshers to become leaders, sports has no pathway for freshers. It is unfortunate but Sporjo creates that pathway for candidates at any level – freshers, mid management or senior level people, to get quality personnel and grow the industry.

You had mentioned in  The Economic Times that you aim to create half a million candidates industry ready by 2030, how do we expect such a large number of people to find jobs in the sports industry?

There are millions of MBA’s produced not necessarily equal to the number of jobs, right? Similarly, the idea is to create more and more quality personnel so that there is a large pool to choose from. Currently that pool is very limited. There should be at least a quarter of a million jobs in sports in 2030, if not more.

Which type of jobs is trending currently in the industry?

There are over 20+ verticals and over 50+ roles in the sports industry. And a lot of these jobs are available. Employers are not finding quality candidates to fill those roles. If you look at the current openings on Sporjo, they are diverse

What are the top skills demanded in the sports industry and also where do you see the most number of jobs to crop up in the future? 

1,The critical skills required for working in sports are Passion for sports (Given) 

2,Understanding the sport

3,Understanding the business of sports

4,Networking skills

5,Solution oriented mindset (Problem solving)

What are the major challenges you have faced from the inception of Sporjo?

No major challenges as such. Most companies have frozen hiring but it should open up soon. Cases in point are the openings on the Sporjo platform and placements via Sporjo even in these times.

Is Sporjo affiliated with any universities or are your consultants affiliated with universities? If yes, can you specify?

Sporjo is not affiliated with any specific university, we are in talks and has partnerships with over 7 universities – offering sports management and regular MBA programmes. 

Can anyone interested in a career in sports take the test?

Yes

Who are the top employers in sports industry in India?

There are over 100 companies in sports in India that hire people

Does someone with several years of experience in the field go through the same process when registered with Sporjo? If yes, what skills do they develop from the process?

Sporjo Plus will be launched in January for senior level people from other industries and for people already working in the sports industry. The principles of the product will be the same but the product will be slightly different.

What is the fee structure of the services offered? for Sporscorr ,sporconslt , sporprrep ?

SPORSCORR – INR 3000 + taxes

SPORCONSLT – INR 25650 + taxes

SPORPRREP – INR 30510 + taxes

How does one to one consultation from your team help one in getting a job?

More than getting a job, it’s about making them job ready. Speaking to experts who have over 12-15 years of experience in that vertical adds a lot of value to candidates. These experts will guide the candidates and help them create an action plan that helps them build themselves personally and professionally.

For those who want to get into a specific field in sports management like sports analytics, sports media etc. what will be the test be like?

Sporjo intends to cover every possible vertical of sports over the next few months as part of the training module. 

Operations, sales, digital and athlete representation are already up on our platform. Marketing, Data and analytics, Sports for social impact and academies will be up in January 2021. We will keep adding such verticals in our assessments, training and projects till we complete the entire set of verticals available in sports.

Will it be specific or generic consisting of all sports management fields?

It will be very specific by vertical covering all aspects of the ecosystem – club, league, federation, brand etc

Does Sporjo guarantee jobs, and in case someone does not find a job after going through all the different levels, what will be the next step?

Sporjo does not guarantee jobs. Getting a job depends on the individuals and the company hiring them. It depends on a lot of other factors as well. Sporjo will match the right people to the right jobs and after that it is up to the employer and the candidate. Because of the Sporjo process, there will be more and more candidates getting a career in sports via a meritocratic process going forward.

When you assess Sporjo’s performance so far, are you satisfied?

From July to now over 11000 candidates in our database (not including social media followers) ,7 solid investors,14000+ followers on LinkedIn completely organically, Placed 12 and 14 live mandates on the platform despite the current scenario, Leading companies on the Sporjo platform, Senior industry leaders on Sporjo webinars every month – Abhishek Bachchan, Sundar Raman, Mustafa, Joy etc

Will never be satisfied, I guess. Sporjo should continue to transform the lives of people and get them a career in sports – not just a job

What’s your advice to the students who want to pursue a career in sports?

Be patient

Enhance passion

Know your personality 

Continue to build proficiency

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