8 April 2015: The most experienced prop in Australian rugby history has added a University of Canberra degree to his impressive list of achievements.
After more than 12 years of study on-and-off while juggling an international sporting career, Wallabies and Brumbies prop Ben Alexander graduated with a Bachelor of Sports Media last week on 2 April 2015.
"It's a big relief to be graduating. I started my degree in 2003, so it's fair to say it has been a long time coming," Mr Alexander said, who was unable to attend his graduation ceremony due to training commitments.
The 30-year-old started playing rugby at age 12 and made his debut for the Brumbies in 2008. Since then he has gone on to play over 100 games for the Brumbies and represented Australia in multiple tours, including the 2011 Rugby World Cup. With 72 test caps, Mr Alexander is the most capped prop in Wallabies history.
Mr Alexander said the best thing about studying at the University of Canberra is the resources and facilities available to students to assist them during their degree.
"The best thing about studying a sports-related degree at UC is having access to a number of sporting organisations; the Brumbies, UC Vikings, Raiders and the Australian Institute of Sport are just a few," he said.
Mr Alexander added that being in front of the camera during his rugby career helped in his degree as it gave him a unique insight into the world of sports media.
"Throughout my rugby career I have had plenty of experience working with sports journalists from all over the world, so I've been able to experience sports journalism from both sides."
During his studies, Mr Alexander was part of the University's Elite Athlete Program, which provides support to student athletes to pursue their sporting goals whilst studying.
"The support available for elite athletes at UC is great. The University was very understanding of my training and travel schedules, whilst also being extremely helpful and flexible," he said.
The tighthead prop – whose career sees him travel for up to five months of the year – said the biggest lesson he learnt while balancing rugby and university study was the ability to be disciplined and focus on the task at hand.
Mr Alexander hopes to take this same discipline that has seen him finish his degree and travel the world playing professional rugby into his latest venture: The Dock bar at the Kingston Foreshore he part-owns with Brumbies teammate Scott Fardy.
"It's been an awesome experience running a business. Our main aim for the bar is to try and recreate a stadium atmosphere for big sporting events."
Back on the field, it's been 11 years since the Brumbies were crowned Super Rugby champions, but after a solid start to their 2015 campaign Mr Alexander is confident the team can take home the title.
"I think we have a good chance of winning this
year. We just have to stick with what we have been doing, play consistently and
keep improving our game so the other teams don't catch up."
Read about more of our recent graduates: