Game, Set, Match: The Analogies Between Tennis and Business Analysis

Deniz Akkaya-Özdemir
Deniz Akkaya-Özdemir
25.04.2024  |  5 MIN
Game, Set, Match: The Analogies Between Tennis and Business Analysis

I have been playing tennis for many years, and through my experience, I’ve come to realise that this sport, much like the meticulous analysis and strategic thinking required in a business analyst role, holds a deeper significance for me beyond being just an activity.

Stepping onto the tennis court, I feel not only physically but also mentally rejuvenated and entertained. Beyond the joy and fitness it brings, being a part of different emotional transitions, whether as a spectator or a player, and connecting with people who share the same passion along my life journey is invaluable to me. Tennis courts have introduced me to opponents as well as different life stories and experiences. These encounters have allowed me to form special connections on the courts and also in life itself.

Much like entering the emotional circle of your opponent in a tennis match and being involved in different lives, cultures and perspectives, my passion for exploring life, meeting new people, and discovering different cultures is my greatest source of happiness. Therefore, after completing my engineering education in Turkey and years of experience in roles similar to a business analyst, I made a series of significant decisions, from my professional career to the change of country.

My process of change has transformed into a quest to enhance my technical skills in the field of business analysis. Similar to my exploratory journey in learning tennis, I have taken steps to acquire new tactics and utilise my existing skills more effectively.

Just as I honed my tennis strokes through practice, I am committed to continuously reinforcing my knowledge of business analysis tools and techniques. Every project, every analysis, presents an opportunity for learning; each stroke, each strategy, propels me a step forward in my personal and professional development.

I feel the similarities between playing tennis and working as a business analyst in every project I engage in and in every meeting with stakeholders. During this process, just as tennis players practise and practise their forehand, backhand so as a Business Analyst I also practise my tools be it Porter’s Five Forces, requirement elicitation etc. Its about what technique will give maximum benefit to disrupt my opponent or deliver the most benefit to the customer.

In terms of techniques, I employ a combination of stakeholder interviews, data analysis, and process mapping to ensure a comprehensive understanding of project requirements. The dynamic nature of my role requires me to be agile, much like a tennis player adjusting their game strategy in response to their opponent’s moves.Deniz Akkaya Ozdemir Business Analyst at Perform Partners

My toolkit includes not only industry-standard analytical frameworks but also innovative approaches that I’ve cultivated through experience. Much like refining a tennis serve, refining my analytical techniques is an ongoing process to ensure I deliver the most impactful insights and solutions for the projects I undertake.

There is another side beyond tools, techniques and the text book. While watching the farewell match of one of the greatest athletes in tennis history, Roger Federer, I once again understood that tennis is not just a game. Witnessing Federer and his rival Rafael Nadal sitting on the bench, shedding tears together, proved that a strong connection can be formed beyond the tennis court. Reflecting on my career, I realised that the same fundamental principles apply across the our work as well, teamwork is more than just disparate people working on a common goal, its a living organism where all parts work together Successfully applying these principles in both realms is not just a profession for me but also becomes a philosophy of life.

Recognising the bridges between my past, current situation, and future goals, I realise that each decision has taken me a step further. Thanks to my current job, social life, and the valuable people around me, I say “I’m glad” for the decisions I’ve made for these changes.

Building bridges across diverse perspectives, departments, and objectives ensures a unified and effective approach, conducive to driving meaningful change.

I have chosen to be in an environment where I’m happy, believing that personal happiness plays a significant role in shaping life’s journey. Therefore, I extend my wish to all: may your journey be one filled with happiness and fulfilment.


About Deniz:

With 9 years of experience in researching and analysing business processes and a great passion for leveraging data and running projects, Deniz is a key contributor to our Business Analysis practice. She supports the wider team in establishing internal pathways for growth.

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