Forty Under 40: What advice would you give students who want to work in sports?

Posted on March 16, 2020 by the Sports Business Journal
Retrieved from “What advice would you give students who want to work in sports?”

TJ ADESHOLA

Be a student of the game/industry; commit to hard work/preparation; and be ready to shoot your shot when the opportunity presents itself.

WHIT ALBOHM

Do anything you can to get your foot in the door, at any basic level. That can be the hardest part. The opportunities are endless once you are in.

NIC BARLAGE

Physically write your goals down and view the experience you are gaining as an investment in your own development.

MICHAEL BEHAN

Many people pick a job based on the city, team/organization, or job title and compensation package. However, the most important thing is to find an opportunity to work with leaders that will challenge you every day, let you learn by making mistakes, and most importantly invest in your individual growth.

GABE BRASELTON

Be creative and passionate. Ask tons of questions. Ask for help, but show up with a proposal.

AUSTIN BROWN

It’s cliché, but very true — hard work and perseverance is more than half the battle. You have to be willing to grind it out longer than the next person.

NATE CHECKETTS

Get relevant experience in another industry first. Challenge your assumption that you want to work in sports. Being a fan and wanting to work in sports business are two different things.

ARJUN CHOWDRI

Spend the time to understand why [you want to work in] the sports industry, and specifically what aspects.

AHRON COHEN

Make yourself an asset. Rather than just trying to network with people in the industry, find ways to evidence your value and show how you can help solve a particular problem.

WES DAY

I always say pick the person or people first. That trumps team/company or even industry every time. Who your boss is or who you work with is going to be far more impactful on your happiness and career trajectory than what your function or company is.

BETHANY DONAPHIN

Develop a well-defined skill set, build authentic relationships, have a specific vision, and don’t let “no” stop you.

MICHAEL FEDELE

Get in early, leave late, be a sponge, and work your tail off.

GEOFF GARMHAUSEN

Be open to doing anything to get your foot in the door. Where you start in this industry is rarely where you will finish. Finally, at some point in your career work in sales. It is the only way to truly understand the full scope of the sports industry.

JESSIE GIORDANO

Find a champion. When you start out, it’s less about the work you are doing and more about who you are doing it for and their ability to grow and mentor you.

ISHWARA GLASSMAN CHREIN

Find a company that embraces who you are. Harness a skill set that isn’t unique to sports, be it sales, accounting, marketing, legal, etc. Sports is still a business with many of the same fundamentals as other businesses. We just have more fun.

ADAM GROSSMAN

Pick the people, not the brand.

BEN GUMPERT

Find great people to work for regardless of sport, location and title. Find those who are exceptional and find a way to work for them.

BRIAN HERBST

Intern often. Always raise your hand for more work or a new assignment.

DAVID JURENKA

It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you … be memorable!

NICK KELLY

Be patient! Some of the 23- and 24-year-olds I work with now think they should have my job already. There should be no task that you’re too big for. I still spend a lot of time binding presentations for our board of directors.

AKSHAY KHANNA

Make sure you want to work in the industry for the right reasons, i.e., that you’re passionate about more than just being a sports fan. Be persistent and don’t let rejection faze you. It isn’t easy getting in the door in this industry.

FRANCESCA LEIWEKE-BODIE

Culture is everything, so if you find an organization that inspires you, take whatever job they offer because you can never force culture. It comes from the top down and ultimately you will get to the right job for you but first find the passion and leadership that fits.

JOE MACZKO

I don’t think there is a magic formula to working in sports; I didn’t follow a traditional path to the NBA. The industry is filled with people from diverse backgrounds. Work hard, develop strong credentials and be persistent in seeking out opportunities.

ANDREA MARINI

Listen to people that have been in the industry for a long time and try to soak up as much knowledge as you can from them.

JOSEPH MARKOWSKI

Don’t massively overthink your first job in sport because it’s an industry that is ever evolving. … Do internships that give you an understanding of how it all fits together and then don’t overthink it when deciding where to start.

ZACH MAURIDES

Careers are built in decades not years … Commit.

MAURA MCGREEVY

Hustle hard. And cultivate interests beyond the sports industry. Those interests are what will make you stand out (and more well-rounded!).

JARED MERRELL

Volunteer for everything. Gain as much experience and develop as many relationships as you can and build on them. You have to be willing to work hard to establish your commitment to the industry. Working in the sports business will change your perspective in how you consume sports, therefore be prepared for it to impact your personal enjoyment.

TANJA OLANO

Develop an expertise and then look for avenues to apply it to sports.

MELISSA PROCTOR

Be amazing at your core job outside of sports. If you want to work in sports marketing, be an amazing marketer first. Being a fan of the team/sport will not make you good at the job.

UZMA RAWN

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

NEEMA SAHNI

Loving sports is important — it helps forge connections with others who felt the same pull to working in the industry — but you also need to love, and learn everything you can about, the business of sports. Loving the game, and understanding the business behind it, that’s a powerful combination.

BRENT SCHOEB

Do the job you were hired to do really well and proactively seek out ownership of new initiatives/projects once you’ve achieved the former.

ADAM SCHWARTZ

Take chances and put yourself outside of your comfort zone.

RUSSELL SCIBETTI

Focus on skills over sport. There is no one path into the industry anymore and the right skill set wins nine times out of 10.

ARI SEGAL

There are profit centers and cost centers. Everyone needs more profit and wants to reduce cost. Learn how to sell.

RYAN SPOON

There has never been a better time to build a persona and a résumé through existing tools and platforms … at any age, in any geography, and across any interest. You can, and should, start right now. Don’t wait for the right opportunity, just start.

JARED STACY

If you love sports, you should go for it, and really throw yourself into the job. Say yes to everything and learn what path you want to take. Also, don’t post pictures on social media while you are working an event.

BEN TARIO

Get a diversity of experiences. Learn what you like and, just as importantly, learn what you don’t like. You never know how any of these experiences will apply to what you do in the future.

SHELLY WILKES

Gaining experience and maintaining relationships are integral to succeeding in the industry. Being open to take a position that may not be the “perfect” role, doing it to the best of your ability and staying positive will continue to help you succeed.

By Keashla Marengo
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