Elite athlete and MA Management student Gregory MacNeill researches coach-captain relationships | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Elite athlete and MA Management student Gregory MacNeill researches coach-captain relationships

Posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Gregory MacNeill at the starting line
Gregory MacNeill. Photo credit: Bryan Li

As a long-time athlete, Gregory MacNeill has spent much of his life training for and competing in national and international track and field events. Now a graduate student at the University of Guelph, he is taking the skills he gained on the track and applying them to a new challenge: balancing his MA Management workload while competing as a member of the Gryphon Track and Field team. It is a program MacNeill says “felt like the best opportunity” and as he starts his second semester, he is most looking forward to working on his research on coach-captain relationships.

In this Q&A, Gregory discusses his experience so far and offers advice to those considering the MA Management program.

Why did you choose to pursue your MA in Management at the University of Guelph?

I chose to pursue my MA in Management at the University of Guelph because it felt like the best opportunity for me. I was able to talk with and get to know Dr. Rezania and was immediately excited about the opportunity to both pursue my MA here at Guelph, along with being able to compete as a Gryphon in track and field.

You’re in your second semester of the program now. What has been the most valuable part of your experience so far?

The most valuable part of my experience so far has been getting to know and working with the faculty within my program. The professors are very knowledgeable in their field, they are hands on, and they want to see you succeed in all parts of the program. I have also enjoyed working with other classmates of the program. It may be a hybrid online program, but I have still been able to make a connection with my classmates and we are able to communicate about class content when needed.

You’re an accomplished athlete. What kind of skills have you been able to transfer from the track to the classroom?

I believe there are a lot of transferable skills that I have been able to relate to the classroom from the track. Being hard working, driven and disciplined are a few characteristics that are needed to succeed in track and field and my master’s program. Also, the ability to set goals and understand how to properly achieve them is an important transferable skill.

What was your favourite course in your first semester? Why?

My favourite course in the first semester was my Leadership class. I am fascinated by leadership and it is one of my passions. I believe nothing successful in life is sustained without strong leadership. I found the readings and course material very interesting, and often found myself re reading some of the course context and thinking about how I can apply it to other areas of my life, including my track and field team.

What are you most looking forward to as you progress through the program?

As I move into semester two of the program I am looking forward to taking the Management Consulting class, as that is one of my areas of interest. I am also looking forward to progressing in my major research project (MRP), and collecting the appropriate data for my project.

What area of research are you hoping to focus on in your major research project?

My research project will look at relationship closeness between coaches and captains of sports teams, and how their relationship affects the overall success of the team.

Why is this area of research of interest to you?

I am interested in this area, because it is my belief that every successful sports team needs to have a positive connection between the coach and the team captain. I believe this is important for not only short term success, but for sustainability of team success as well.  The most dominant sports franchises have had a strong connection between coach/captain. (Tom Brady/Bill Belichick, Tim Duncan/Gregg Popovich, Michael Jordan/Phil Jackson).

What do you hope to do following you MA in Management?

It is my hope to work in the management consulting industry following the completion of my degree. I would like to work in the leadership development and organizational strategy fields. 

What advice do you have for people interested in the MA Management program?

The advice I would give to people looking at the MA Management program is to not be afraid to use the faculty members as resources. From my short time here at the university all of the professors have wanted to see my classmates and I succeed, and are willing to work with you to help apply your personal interest to the course content. 

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