Skip to content

Dr Olga Polyakova PhD, MSc, Bsc (Hons), PGCert, FHEA

Programme leader for MSc Sport Business Management, Senior Lecturer in Sport Business Management


Prior to joining SHU in 2013, I lectured at Huddersfield Business School. In my current role as the Programme Leader for MSc Sport Business Management, I coordinate a group of the course staff, to ensure an outstanding student experience, market leading delivery and strong student recruitment on the course. Over the past five years, I have led on international academic partnerships (including Russia and Spain) and business development activities with industry, both domestically and abroad.

Alongside my career in academia, I am passionate about yoga which I have been practicing for over 15 years. This passion led me to get qualified as yoga teacher and complete a PhD about service quality in the UK fitness industry. My other research interests are in the areas of consumer behaviour and eSports; I am currently in the process of completing a second Master's degree - LLM International Sports Law in Practice.


I hold two first degrees from Bratsk State University, Russia - BSc (Hons) Public Management and Governance and BA Language Interpretation and Translation. In 2009, I won the Russian President Scholarship for studying abroad and moved to the UK to undertake MSc Business Project Management programme at the University of Huddersfield.

I became one of 40 undergraduate students from the whole Russian population who received this award in that year and was sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Education for postgraduate studies abroad. Shortly after completion of my MSc (with an award 'Best student in Business Project Management” from Association for Project Management), I was granted a scholarship by the University of Huddersfield Business School for undertaking PhD in Business Studies.

I currently teach on Sport Business Management undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Sheffield Hallam and work closely with the Sport Industry Research Centre. My subject expertise includes areas of sports business, services marketing and research methods.

I specialise in consumer behaviour and service quality in fitness industry and this is the area which I presented conference papers and published my research in.

I am a reviewer for 'Sport, Business and Management: an International Journal', 'European Sport Management Quarterly', and 'Managing Sport and Leisure'.

I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a completer of Aurora HE women-only leadership programme in 2019/20.

Specialist areas of interest

Service quality in fitness industry, customer satisfaction, motivation and psychology of sport participation.


Health And Wellbeing

Subject area

Sports Marketing
Research methods
Interdisciplinary research projects


BSc Sport Business Management
MSc Sport Business Management

  • Marketing Communications (UG, SHAPE Hong Kong)
  • Sport Research in Practice (UG)
  • Researching Sport Management (PG)
  • Dissertation project (PG)


  • Academy of Sport and Physical Activity
  • Service quality in the fitness industry
  • Digital fitness consumers in the UK and Spain
  • Evaluation of consumer-focused outcomes in the context of eSports sponsorship

Collaborators and sponsors

Enterprise educators UK
Sheffield IAPT, NHS Foundation Trust


Key Publications

Polyakova, O., & Ramchandani, G. (2020). Perceived service quality among regular users of gyms in public sports centres in the UK. Managing Sport and Leisure.

Journal articles

Erlikh, V.V., Korableva, Y.B., Epishev, V.V., & Polyakova, O. (2018). Effect of postural balance on changes in the electrocardiography parameters of wrestlers. Human Sport Medicine, 18 (S), 13-18.

Polyakova, O., & Mirza, M.T. (2016). Service quality models in the context of the fitness industry. Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, 6 (3), 360-382.

Flint, S., Peake, R., Plumley, D.J., Polyakova, O., Reale, S., Wilson, R., ... Pheonix, F. (2015). The impact of athlete endorsement on estimates of nutritional content of food meals. Appetite, 87, 395.

Polyakova, O., & Mirza, M. (2015). Perceived service quality models: are they still relevant? The Marketing Review, 15 (1), 59-82.

Flint, S., Plumley, D.J., Peake, R., & Polyakova, O. (2014). Using sport as a tool to market unhealthy food. European Journal of Business and Social Sciences, 2 (12), 15-25.

Conference papers

Polyakova, O., & Ramchandani, G. (2019). Perceptions Of Service Quality Among Frequent Users Of Gyms In England. In European Association of Sport Management, Seville, Spain, 3 September 2019 - 6 September 2019.

Polyakova, O., & Ramchandani, G. Exercise frequency and service quality perceptions in sport and fitness industry. In Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand 2015 Conference, Hobart, Australia.

Other activities

- European Sport Management Quarterly
- Sport, Business and Management: an International Journal

External examiner:
- Global Online MSc in Sport Business, Management and Policy, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2018 – Present.
- BA (Hons) Business Administration and Management (delivered by collaborative partner in Philippines - Southville International School Affiliated with Foreign Universities), De Montfort University, 2020 - Present.

External advisor (on approval and validation panels):
- University of Northampton, May 2021
- University of East London, February 2021
- London Metropolitan University, February 2020
- Buckinghamshire New University, 2015
- University of Central Lancaster, 2014

Postgraduate supervision

  • Service quality in the fitness industry
  • Sport consumer behaviour
  • Sponsorship in eSports

Share this page

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?