From rugby at QE to promoting football-related degrees worldwide

From rugby at QE to promoting football-related degrees worldwide

A specialist in student recruitment, Prem Kandar is working at Wembley Stadium for UCFB – a pioneering university college that offers courses dedicated to football and the wider sports industries.

Prem Kamdar (OE 1998-2003) is keen to let his fellow QE alumni know about the career and business opportunities available within football: “As one of the fastest-growing industries in the UK, there's great potential for graduates to establish high-level careers.”

Originally established in Burnley in 2010, the University College of Football Business (UCFB) has now expanded both to Wembley and to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, specialising in Business, Management, Finance, Marketing, Psychology, Law, Coaching, Stadium & Events Management and Media – all contextualised within football and sport.

Prem’s role as International Recruitment Manager spans both undergraduate and postgraduate places. With the gross value added to UK GDP by international students exceeding £13bn in 2015, it is, he points out, an enormously valuable sector of the economy.

“My job involves recruiting non-UK based students to join the UCFB team for their academic and professional careers – along with overseeing the postgraduate recruitment for all students, regardless of domicile. Working with colleagues across the marketing team, we raise the international profile of UCFB and develop partnerships and collaborations around the world, providing varied, specialist career opportunities for all students.

“The last ten years have allowed me to travel across the world and meet an incredibly diverse range of people, enabling me to experience cultures and lifestyles from all over the world. It’s an exciting and rewarding career – one I am thankful to QE for helping me enter,” he said.
“Having been born overseas and being the eldest child of an immigrant family, QE was my opportunity to obtain a strong education to establish a successful career, something my family was keen for me to have. I remember the grand halls of QE when I first arrived for my entrance exams, daunted by the incredibly high expectations the School would have of me.”

Prem recalls the joy of learning that he had won a place at QE and remembers the academic challenge presented by lessons, but of all his experiences at the School, it is rugby that he remembers most vividly. “While I was no star player, the camaraderie, hard work and sportsmanship that I experienced will never be forgotten. I learned the meaning of competition and that you have to constantly make every effort to get ahead.”

As well as rugby, Prem, who was a member of Pearce House, also enjoyed athletics, but he says life at QE was not without its difficulties for him: “At the time, the struggles of forcing myself to stick to the rules, take on every challenging question in textbooks and going above and beyond with anything I did almost became too much for me. In hindsight, I see that everything I learned at QE – inside and outside of the classroom – developed the mindset that led to my successful career.”

On leaving the School at the end of Year 11, Prem went on to Woodhouse College for his Sixth Form studies, before reading Economics and Finance at Queen Mary University of London.

“After completing my degree, I joined Middlesex University in the admissions team, having decided not to enter a career in banking. My role involved vetting university applications and supporting applicants who met the academic requirements to join. I was put forward to attend an overseas university fair to promote Middlesex University and recruit students. After a successful trip, my career in international education began.”

Over the next couple of years at Middlesex, he deepened his understanding of how the international higher education sector works – “the strategies required, the marketing activity intricacies and the entire business of generating income for UK universities through international fee-paying students.”

In 2011, he took this knowledge to City and Islington College, launching an international recruitment team there and establishing an overseas presence for this further education college.

After that, he rejoined the world of higher education, managing the University of Wolverhampton’s recruitment team, based in the UK and overseas. Prem spent four years at Wolverhampton, before returning to North London for the UCFB role in August 2016.

“A career in international education is incredibly rewarding,” Prem added. “I am supporting students from all over the world to reach their potential and thus opening doors to successful professional careers.”

  • The group photo shows Prem meeting a delegation which includes the Minister for Higher Education from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.