Richard_SmithDecember 13 - How athletes can successfully manage a dual career has been illustrated by the case of Loughborough University graduate and England and Great Britain hockey international Richard Smith (pictured).

Smith helped England to win a silver medal in the Champions Trophy this year, and played in a World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.

He also scored on his Great Britain debut against Argentina last month.

But at the same time Smith was also studying for an MSc in business analysis and management.

While he was developing as a player he also successfully completed an undergraduate degree in maths and sports science, achieving a 2.1.

A number of key factors put in place by the university's Athletes to Business project are helping Smith achieve in his studies and on the hockey pitch.

These include receiving a 2012 scholarship, flexible study offered to elite level athletes, and work experience opportunities within the university and with top companies through his Performance Lifestyle support from the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

"My student and sporting experience at Loughborough has been of the highest calibre," said Smith.

"My undergraduate degree offered me the opportunity to shape my career using my maths and problem solving skills, but also continue my interest in sport.

"Now I am doing an MSc in business analysis and management and getting opportunities to utilise my learning with work experience that I have undertaken in the sports and business sectors.

"On the sporting front, the hockey facilities are superb and shouldn't be taken for granted.

"Being involved with the Loughborough hockey set-up has been brilliant - they put so much on for you, not just training on the pitch, but gym sessions and physio support as well.

"Loughborough has not only given me the opportunity to develop my academic career and work opportunities, they have also supported my sporting ambitions to play for Team GB in the London 2012 Olympic Games."

The university's Athletes to Business project, which runs until March 2011, was demonstrated to delegates at a recent international conference at Loughborough.