National Motorsport Academy

Student Experience with Lowenna Cleary

Student Experiences: Lowenna Cleary

Meet MA Business of Motorsport student Lowenna Cleary! Lowenna first found her passion for motorsport after watching episodes of “Drive to Survive” on Netflix with her dad. Since then, she has put the “pedal to the metal” and driven right in to the field of motorsport. We were able to catch up with her and have a chat about how she is getting on with the course.

picture of lowenna cleary

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself!

Hello, my name is Lowenna, and I am 22 years old. I am from Cornwall, and during my GCSE and college years, I discovered a passion and talent for business studies that appeared to come naturally to me. I was also extremely interested in Criminology. I was fortunate to find a programme at Bath Spa University that combined my interests – a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and Criminology. This joint degree allowed me to pursue both of my career paths, and it increased my desire to make a difference in people’s lives. I’ve always had a natural desire to help others, so, at 17, I started working as a support worker, caring for people with varied physical and learning disabilities.

Throughout the final year of my degree, just as lockdown was starting and I moved back home, my dad invited his friend over to watch an episode of ‘Drive to Survive’. As I had no other plans, I decided to join, despite the fact I had no interest in it because I previously perceived motorsport as a male-dominated industry. But after watching a few episodes, I was hooked. I started to research more deeply into the sport and focused my studies on motorsport. I discovered several aspects of motorsport that were personally important to me, such as sustainability, equality, and diversity. Around the same time, there was a big push on social media for female involvement in motorsport. My desire to actively participate grew, as I want to be an inspiration to the future generation.

My journey has only just begun, and I am already looking forward to the adventures and experiences ahead. The road may not be easy, but I am determined and inspired to make a difference in motorsport.

What course are you studying & what module are you currently on?

I am currently studying for the MA Business of Motorsport degree; I have just finished module 7 and I am about to start my dissertation.

How did you find out about NMA? What made you choose it?

In my final year at University, I was researching the options I had for the next stage of my career. This is when I came across an advert for an MA Business of Motorsport degree with the National Motorsport Academy. I thought that it was perfect, as it combined both my passion for business and motorsport.

Upon researching the master’s, I thought it was an excellent choice for a variety of reasons. I was thoroughly enjoying my academic journey, and I knew that taking a gap year would make it challenging to get back into the swing of studying again. The online aspect of the university allowed me to relocate to London, where I would be surrounded by many more opportunities in the motorsport industry.

Next, the flexibility of part-time study allowed me to work full-time so I could afford to live in London, while still having the freedom to study in hours that suit my schedule. Finally, I was certain that this master’s degree would serve as a catalyst for furthering and developing my career in the competitive motorsport industry. In fact, it has already proven to be a crucial steppingstone in my professional career.

How did you find your time at the NMA?

I really enjoyed studying the Business of Motorsport with the National Motorsport Academy. All the lecturers are really helpful & supportive, always willing to answer your questions and give feedback. The Virtual Learning Site is also super easy to use, which makes viewing all the course content and submitting assignments very straightforward!

How have you been finding the course so far? Do you have a favourite module?

So far, I have found the master’s degree very educational. The programme’s well-structured curriculum has deepened my knowledge and skills within the world of motorsport. Reflecting on my progress from the initial modules to my current stage, I’ve witnessed a significant improvement in my academic profession and understanding of this dynamic field.

Module 5: Motorsport Brands, Their Extensions, and Future Trends; & Module 6: Change Management, allowed me to delve into issues that held personal significance for me. At the time, I was actively involved in volunteering for Motorsport Vision Racing. This experience provided a platform for me to construct a presentation on enhancing the sustainability of Brands Hatch and develop a comprehensive business strategy for Motorsport Vision. Contributing to a business I was deeply passionate about was a fulfilling experience, and this module allowed me to present real-world application of the knowledge gained during this course.

Overall, this journey through the master’s programme has not only enhanced my theoretical understanding of motorsport but has also equipped me with practical insights that I can readily apply in the field. Each module has been a steppingstone towards a more profound appreciation of multifaceted nature of motorsport.

Are there any upcoming modules you're excited for?

The next module is my final project. This project holds a special place in my heart because it ties into the work I’ve been doing with Team Brit on the SEB Project. Our mission with the SEB Project is to make motorsport more accessible for the Deaf racing community. We’ve been collaborating closely with incredible individuals like JSCC Championship Deaf Driver Caleb McDuff, Boxster Cup Deaf Driver Sarah Tompson, and even with BAE Systems. Together, we have been identifying and understanding the hurdles and limitations that currently exist in the motorsport world for the Deaf racing community.

My dissertation will delve deeper into this important topic. I will be exploring how Deaf drivers can compete on a level playing field, as well as how this concept could potentially extend to benefit other sports. What truly excites me about this research is the potential for it to be a game-changer, considering there is no academic research on this subject. I hope the work I do will offer the motorsport community, and society at large, valuable insights into the Deaf racing community. For me, this isn’t just academic research. It is a step toward making the world a more inclusive place, one where everyone can chase their dreams, regardless of their hearing status.

Can you tell us more about your full-time job and your role in "Girls Across the Grid"?

When I decided to embark on a career in motorsport right after graduating, I was fully aware of the need for hands-on experience. So, I signed up as a Marshal and proactively reached out to various organisations to explore opportunities in the business side of motorsport. Fortunately, my inquiry didn’t go unnoticed, and I received a response from MotorSport Vision Racing (MSVR). I spent 11 months volunteering with them while simultaneously working full-time and pursuing my master’s part-time. My dedication and enthusiasm were rewarded when I was offered a position as their Race Events Administrator in September.

My time at MSVR has been nothing short of amazing. It has provided me with invaluable experience, allowing me to put the theoretical knowledge from my master’s programme into action in real-life situations. I’ve had the privilege of working at multiple tracks across the UK (like Silverstone and Snetterton), and I’ve been able to be a part of major events, such as Formula E, Euro Nascar, British GT, and GT Cup. What’s even more exciting is that I had the pleasure of meeting the NMA racing team during these events. It was fantastic to connect with like-minded individuals who were on a similar educational path as me, as well as to meet some of my tutors. I’m eagerly looking forward to what the 2024 season has in store.

When I moved to London just over a year ago following my degree, I connected with a group of passionate females online who shared my love for motorsport. We decided to meet up and watch a Formula 1 race at a local pub, and we had the best time. This experience made us realise that there was an untapped niche in the market. Given that motorsport is often perceived as a male-dominated industry, we felt it was crucial to create a safe and supportive space for females where they could connect with like-minded individuals and share their passion for motorsport. This is how “Girls Across the Grid” was born, and I am proud to be a part of it as the Business and Finance Lead.

“Girls Across the Grid” is a cross-social platform designed for female motorsport enthusiasts to come together and celebrate their love for the sport. We organise both online and in-person events on a global scale, and our community has grown to nearly 10,000 members and counting. Through this initiative, I’ve not only forged lifelong friendships, but have also played a crucial role in establishing key partnerships, including our collaboration with Belushi’s Sports Bar. It’s worth noting that our entire team consists of volunteers and many of us did not have prior experience in the industry. It has indeed been a tremendous learning experience for each of us. My master’s programme content has been a guiding light, providing me with invaluable skills (such as creating sponsorship proposals) that have proven to be immensely valuable in real-life situations. We’ve even hosted our first-ever bottomless brunch and established an all-female campsite at Silverstone.

Contributing to gender equality in motorsport has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I am really excited for our future. We are determined to keep pushing boundaries and making a difference.

How are you finding the NMA's flexibility when balancing everything you do?

The flexibility of the course has enabled me to get to where I am. With effective time management, it allowed me to work full-time, study part-time and undertake 2 voluntary jobs which gave me exposure and the experience to work in the motorsport industry.

How have you found the tutor support?

The tutor support has been great on an academic level and has helped me improve my academic writing skills. I am excited to work with Gen on my dissertation as she is an expert in her field, so I am looking forward to learning from her.

What're your career goals? Do you feel a degree with the NMA can help you achieve them?

My career goal would be to eventually work in Formula One. Being able to travel the world doing what I love is the dream. However, it is important to me that whoever I am working for prioritises sustainability, equality, and diversity; and I would like to help push these initiatives.

My master’s has helped me explore my passions and find out what really drives me, and I am excited to continue putting everything I have learned into practice.

I have high ambitions; but I am still in the early stages of my career, I am not in any rush to get there, and I am really enjoying the journey I am on.

Is there anything you would say to potential students that are considering studying with the NMA?

If you are considering studying with NMA, I would recommend doing it. I have been told multiple times whilst working in the industry that ‘motorsport is all about who you know’, While this is true to a certain extent, I was able to get a foothold into the industry without having any contacts and I believe my master helped me to do this.

A big thank you to Lowenna for speaking to us! You can keep up to date with her career over on LinkedIn – Lowenna Cleary

1 thought on “Student Experience with Lowenna Cleary”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this Blog

Recent Blogs

We place cookies on your device to help make this website better and improve your experience. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Please see our data protection policy for full details.