Sales Rep – Lipton Rep for Direct Drinks, Auckland Rugby Player
Commerce and Law, 2014
Fulfilling His Sporting Dreams
Since graduating from UC, Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald has seen his sporting dreams come to life. He has spent four seasons playing premier footy, first for Hawke’s Bay and more recently as first five-eighth for Auckland. Driven by a desire for personal growth and achievement, Tyrone is also focused on what he can do for others. “I get a lot of joy out of making my family and teammates proud. When I’m out there being a leader in the field, getting everything right and seeing the boys feed off that, then I know I'm doing my job.”
So, you play for Auckland Rugby, tell us about that!
I've been playing rugby for the national provincial competition since I graduated in 2014. I’ve played the last two seasons for Auckland and before that I played two seasons in Hawke's Bay for the ITM cup. My current position is first five eighth, so I’m the playmaker, the decision maker, the ‘general’ I suppose!
In your view, what’s the best thing about sport?
Definitely the friendships you make. Going on away trips and bonding with teammates. Challenging yourself to accomplish goals – when you make teams at higher levels you start to see the reward for all the hard work you put in. It's the competition and challenge that keeps me playing.
Has playing sport helped you in any particular way?
It’s helped me build character for real-life situations. In the nature of my professional work as a sales rep, I have to stay competitive or I won’t last long in the industry. The fundamentals of sport definitely carry over to what I do in real life.
How does your work fit in with your rugby career?
It can be quite tough actually. My rugby contract is full-time from July to November and then I have to find temporary full-time work for the other half of the year. I always try to find work that builds on my degree so that when my rugby career finishes I’ll have a solid CV and some good skills and experience under my belt. I want to make sure I'll be a valued candidate to future employers.
What's been your proudest achievement since graduating?
Probably my debut games for Hawke's Bay and Auckland. The games are televised and it's pretty cool being able to run out in front of your family and friends. They finally see you ‘make it’ in a way. My mum saw the games on TV and when I ran out she was pretty proud. In terms of team achievement, it would be winning the Auckland Premier Club Rugby “Gallaher Shield” for the Auckland University team. I was captain and the game was at Eden Park so that was pretty awesome. Graduating was a proud moment too. I was the first one in my immediate family to go to uni so that was a big deal.
Do you think UC prepared you well for what you’re doing today?
Definitely. My commerce degree covered me for all facets of the business world. The communication and presentation skills I learned at UC have been massive in my induction into working life. In my role as a sales rep, I have to negotiate with storeowners so being able to listen and communicate is really important. Having background knowledge in marketing is a huge asset as well. My experience at UC has held me in good stead.
What’s next for you?
After my current role as a sales rep finishes I'm hoping to get a rugby contract overseas. There are opportunities to play some good level footy in Europe and Japan, and you can earn good money as well. Of course, making a super rugby team has always been a massive goal for me. If I got a sniff at that I would definitely pursue it! A lot of the future depends on exposure and being in the right place at the right time. You never know when there's going to be an injury and you might get the call up.
Any advice that others who are interested in sport?
Whenever I'm coaching or mentoring I always say, “make sure you have balance in life”. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. You've got to ensure you make time for your social life, your sporting life, your education and family as well. Being able to do that comes down to organisation, communication and remembering your priorities. If you want to do multiple things you do have to make some sacrifices, but there is a way to make it work.
What motivates you?
Success, accomplishment, growth and progression. Another thing that drives me is making other people happy. I get a lot of joy out of making my family and teammates proud. When I’m out there being a leader in the field, getting everything right and seeing the boys feed off that, then I know I'm doing my job.