Christian Welch will study at Harvard University during the off-season.
Christian Welch will study at Harvard University during the off-season.

Harvard bound: The Storm prop breaking the mould

YOU won't find Melbourne's Christian Welch sinking beers on a beach after the NRL season, with the Storm prop instead enrolled at Harvard.

Welch is hoping his season continues past Friday night's preliminary final against Cronulla, but has already locked in his off-season plans. Rather than aiming to be an NRL coach, Welch has higher ambitions, eyeing Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy's job when his playing days are over.

The 24-year-old, who has a commerce degree, has put his masters on hold but will head to the prestigious US university in October along with teammate Ryan Hoffman to do a short-course in Effective Negotiation Skills.

"It will be a really interesting course and I'm excited to go over there - just being at Harvard alone will be fascinating," Welch said.

He will get to put his new learning into practice, planning to represent himself in contract negotiations.

"Come November when I can start talking to clubs I'm going to give it a go at negotiating for myself," Welch said.

"I find sports economics really interesting and I've done a lot of theory and study, but I haven't had a chance to go out and work so I'm trying to get that experience.

"Certainly it's a goal of mine one day to do what Dave Donaghy does." Welch said he was well aware of the short career-span of an NRL player, and tried to help his teammates with financial advice.

"Young guys need to understand that your earning capacity in this career isn't going to last forever, so I try to get them to think long term and not to buy that new car but try and save up a deposit because you might get injured or cut and only have three or four years of earning really good money," he said.

"That's something I really try to get the young guys thinking about."