Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja is set to take on an MBA with Bond University through its Bond Elite Sports Program, which helps athletes balance study with their professional sporting careers.
Mr Khawaja, 35, became the first Pakistan-born cricketer to play for Australia when he made his debut in the 2011 Sydney Test.
The left-handed top-order batsman has represented Australia in all three forms of the game: Tests, One Day and T20 Internationals.
Mr Khawaja said he chose to study an MBA because it was the all-rounder of postgraduate degrees.
“I don’t want to necessarily go into business management when I finish playing cricket but I believe an MBA from Bond will give me the right skills and knowledge to help me in a broad range of professions,” he said.
The Queensland Bulls captain said Bond’s small class sizes appealed to him.
“I love the campus but the most important thing to me was the people and attention to detail,” he said.
“It’s a relatively small campus in terms of admissions so you have more chance to interact with your lecturers and tutors on a personal level.”
Bond University Vice Chancellor, Professor Tim Brailsford, said Mr Khawaja was joining a distinguished line of sports scholars to have studied at Bond including many Olympians.
“Usman understands that all sportspeople whether aspiring or elite must prepare for life after sport, and furthering their education is a key component of that,” Professor Brailsford said.
“The Bond Elite Sports Program supports dozens of top-tier athletes and complements our well-regarded sports science and related research programs.
Mr Khawaja is a qualified commercial pilot who completed a Bachelor of Aviation while still a young up-and-coming cricketer.
“I just loved flying. My parents travelled a lot as a child so I got very used to planes and thought I might as well do something I enjoy,” he said.
“I always wanted to play cricket but I understood it was a very hard profession to make it in. I wanted to have something under my belt in case it didn’t work out.”
The cricketer has signed a four-year deal with the Brisbane Heat said he would have to be disciplined with his study and time management.
“Throw in two young children in the mix and things could be pretty tight,” he said.
“But Bond has already put me in contact with some great people across the campus who are keen to help me through that journey.
“The University has a ton of athletes who are completing degrees at the university, so they understand the demands and flexibility athletes may need at times.”
Bond University will separately partner with the Usman Khawaja Foundation which helps disadvantage youth through cricket and education.
“Education just gives you a lot of options in life. Not everyone can be a professional sportsman,” Mr Khawaja said.
“The Usman Khawaja Foundation tries to help those children that are new to our country and those who just need a helping hand so they can get the same start in life that everyone deserves.”