Inside ODCN: Sabina Szmajduch

Inside ODCN - Sabina Szmajduch

Sabina Szmajduch, Senior Scheduling Administrator at IMG ARENA, has successfully merged her background in sports with her skills in logistics and scheduling. Starting off with a master’s degree in Sports Administration and experience as a volleyball coach, she found her calling in sports data management. At IMG ARENA, she’s responsible for the complex task of assigning Data Collectors to matches, managing a plethora of static data across 25 leagues and 9 cups in over 15 countries. This role, her first foray into the sports business world, is both challenging and thrilling. Sabina’s day-to-day work involves constant adaptation to changes in match schedules, including date, time, and venue alterations, across different time zones. It’s a dynamic position that leverages her passion for sports and her knack for organization, making her a key player in IMG ARENA’s operations.



Sabina, could you describe your role as Senior Scheduling Administrator at IMG ARENA and share a bit about your journey to this position? 

In Scheduling Department, we are of course responsible for assigning Data Collectors to a match in the Data Collector’s area. But before we can do so, we must first handle all static data – essentially it means to create a match in the system and to manage it in cases if anything about this match changes, such as date, time, or venue it is being played at. What makes it hard and ironically also fun is the fact that I’m currently responsible for 25 leagues and 9 Cups in at least 15 countries across 3 continents. Managing static data in a such vast number of leagues can become hectic and tedious but it is also high-phase and challenging.

I have a master’s degree in Sport Administration and some experience as a coach in volleyball but this role at IMG Arena is my first job in sports business industry. Having this opportunity is honestly a big step in my professional career and I could not be more excited and grateful to be a part of my team.  


Managing schedules for multiple sports across different regions must present unique challenges. Can you give us a bit of an insight into the most interesting ones? 

I think the biggest challenge I struggle with would be time zones. Working through so many countries or countries with multiple time zones is super stressful. Having to remember when there are daylight saving time changes are sometimes hard to keep up with. We now have some tools in place that help us with it, however we still must make sure everything is correct and up to date and no errors were made.  


Can you share a particularly memorable or challenging experience you have had in scheduling matches, and how did it shape your approach to your role? 

I think the most challenging experience in this role happened late summer of this past year. All the football leagues were starting up their next seasons, basketball season was just around the corner, I was handling a couple of new projects at the time, and it was all while handling the ongoing leagues. The amount of work that needed to be done to pull it all through took some serious time management and organizational skills as well as required me to learn some tricks that saved me at least a bit of my time. In the end, all games went smoothly, in-venue coverage was handled, and Data Collectors were happy. It was the most rewarding time I have had so far in my position, but it also allowed me to learn to work smart, to be proactive and to manage my responsibilities effectively.  


Communication with Data Collectors is key in your role. How do you foster a positive and efficient communication environment, especially when dealing with availability and changes? 

At the beginning of each Data Collectors’ journey, I always try to provide as many information as possible so that the process of getting assigned to a match or decline it is easy to understand. I always encourage Data Collectors to use our platform to communicate with us, but I am also available to everyone on Telegram, WhatsApp, or email in case if any assistance in needed. This approach fosters a supportive environment that creates a strong relationship between Scheduling Department and Data Collectors that is based on professional bond. It is helpful to have that in emergency situations where a match becomes available last minute, and we need available Data Collectors. It is also helpful to work with an awesome people who are just as passionate about sports as we are here in the office.  



Collaboration across departments is vital for success. Can you share how you work with other teams within IMG ARENA to support the Data Collectors and the overall mission? 

There are multiple departments involved in this project that are working extra hard for the success of the company. Scheduling Admins work closely with two teams especially – Data Collector Managers and the Recruiting Team. We are constantly in touch with each other. DCMs (Data Collection Manager) are helping us with the current Network of Data Collectors as well as they introduce us the new incomers. On the other hand, the Recruiters are communicating with us about the locations in which we need to hire new Data Collectors. We also handle any ongoing issues or situations, for example, if someone resigns or is moving to a different city or country, we all must take steps to keep up the in-venue coverage. In this line of business, efficient communication is key to success.  


Reflecting on your career so far, what have been some key lessons you have learned while working in Scheduling Department? 

I think the first key lesson I learned was to always manage good relationships not only with my coworkers but also with Data Collectors. It is not always easy as currently there is about 500 people to stay in touch with. However, keeping up with everyone seems to make my job super fun, not to mention I get to meet some awesome people from all over the world. The second lesson I learned was that it is crucial to stay on top of my responsibilities by paying attention to details, organizing my time, and managing my priorities in order to be successful in what I do. I believe these lessons are an awesome takeaway as they transfer not only to my professional career here at IMG but also help me achieve goals in my personal life or in things that I’m passionate about. 


Beyond your role as a Senior Scheduling Administrator, what other passions or hobbies do you pursue in your personal life, and do they influence your approach to work in any way? 

I have been passionate about sports ever since I remember. My heart will always be with volleyball – I used to play as an Outside Hitter but recently had to “retire” :). Now, I’m mostly coaching teens just to stay around this sport. Other than that, I also enjoy hiking, riding bikes, and of course travelling. Being able to work in industry that I’m passionate about is really life changing and makes me feel like I’m in the right place.  


Do you have any favourite sports teams or athletes that you follow closely? 

I don’t really have favourites anymore, but I do enjoy watching matches in general, especially in person. Mostly I’m interested in volleyball, basketball, ice hockey, etc. But I’m always down to go see any sport at any live event. There is something about the atmosphere in the venues or stadiums that makes me want to come back. Among others, I recently went to see our polish national men’s basketball team play and in May I will be going to Czech Republic to watch some ice hockey during World Championship so I’m super excited about that. 



Interested in becoming a data collector for IMG ARENA? Click here to read more about our ODCN team, or view our current vacancies.

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