Advice for Students Beginning Sport Management in the Fall

EKU Online > Advice for Students Beginning Sport Management in the Fall

With graduation season over and the summer now upon us, many students will be beginning their sport management programs in the upcoming Fall. While it may be too early to think about classes beginning in the Fall (it is, after all, still summer!), it is never too early to be prepared for beginning a new field of study.

As a professor with experience at a small private college, a large urban program, and now a regional university, there is one thing students beginning out in the study all have in common: they all have an empty slate. Students that have done the best in sport management programs are the ones who go into the program with a plan. This plan goes well beyond the classes that are part of the curriculum and should include how a student will be involved beyond the classroom. For this, I offer the following advice.

Know your curriculum

My first piece of advice for incoming students is know your curriculum. Take ownership of your program, know what semester and when the required classes are offered. Don’t go into your advising meeting asking them “What classes do I take?” and then expect them to turn around and put their reputation on the line and look for an internship on your behalf. The time to be professional and to begin networking is in your first year of study.

Get involved

I tell our students all the time, “get involved.” No matter how big your athletic department is, there are always plenty of opportunities to gain experience while you are a student. The local athletic department of your school or even the high school in your area will always accept somebody looking for volunteer experience.

Gain core skills

Two important skills that will play a large role in helping a sport management student break into the competitive sport business are writing and a drive to learn. There is no doubt that many professors lament and complain about the writing abilities of their students. Students who learn to write properly so that they can work in areas like sport information and media relations are the same students who find success in getting their point across and marketing themselves as a product to employers. Therefore, students who can write well are very much ahead of the game when it comes to landing a potential internship or a job. Your first year of school is the time to look for extra help in this core skill. It will make a world of a difference later on!

Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning means that a student can work outside of their comfort zone and go anywhere. Many students sometimes forget that we are a global society, and this includes sport. Sport management students might not realize that if they are successful in sport, much of their career will be spent looking at journals (some academic journals at that) and continuously trying to learn.

Gaining new experience may mean getting out of your comfort zone, whether it’s traveling internationally, or to a larger city. If you already live in a larger city, you may need to do the opposite and travel to a small town to gain diverse experience. No matter where you are in your career, lifelong learning means having to learn new skills. These skills include ones you might not necessarily be comfortable with, like ticket sale marketing or fundraising. These two areas aren’t always the ones sport management students want to hear about, but they are often at the heart of many entry level jobs in sport.

Build your brand

Sport management coursework does not always teach how to get from concepts to practical applications, such as selling more tickets, gaining sponsorships, managing concessions or intellectual property licenses, or tracking the variety of special elements that enhance viewership or impact consumer choice. Many of these important skills are gained through internships and on-the-job training. A sport management student will need to know how to brand the organization they are working with. To survive in the ever-changing sport job market, a successful sport manager will also need to apply the same concepts of brand management to their own personal brand.

Interested in working in the exciting world of sport management?

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