Sport management professionals share tips with students

Posted on Apr 6, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Student Alumni Association members and sports management students attended Networking Night on March 31, 2015, to learn from Jayhawks working in the world of sports. Ten alumni came back to their alma mater to give advice to the students about how to gain leadership qualities while in college, how to separate yourself from others trying to break into the field and how to balance work life with family life. Read more here.
SAA Networking Night, March 31, 2015

At last week’s Networking Night, hosted by the Student Alumni Association, students interested in the sport management field learned from ten alumni currently working in the industry.

After three rounds of networking in small groups with nearly 60 students, the panelists reconvened for a general Q&A session.

Is it hard to balance work with family life in sports?

Short answer: yes. The panelists agreed that working in the world of sports marketing and management is a lifestyle. “You have to organize your priorities and be willing to take breaks and time off in order to be successful,” Jennifer Allee said.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you have for us to separate ourselves from others? What are you looking for on paper or in person that helps us stand out?

Experience is important, but so is character and personality. Refine your communication style and make eye contact. Hand-written thank you notes are still important! People don’t write them enough anymore.

Anything you can do to show you’re a self-starter or that you take initiative helps—we want to know we can give you a task and you can go get it done.

What type of leadership qualities do we need to be successful, and how can a college student gain those qualities?

You need to be a team player; you’re only as good as the people around you. You need to be able to make a decision, especially now when things move so fast. Have an element of confidence—but don’t cross the line.

“In my office, it’s team leadership. Your success is my success; my success is your success,” said Allee. Flexibility and being able to adapt to the situation is extremely important.

Students can improve these skills through leadership positions in campus activities, internships, even group projects in class will help you prepare.

How do I go after an internship where I have no connections?

Start early! There’s nothing wrong with cold-calling someone you’re not connected to, as long as you do it the right way. Handwritten notes will stand out here, too. You can also volunteer for an event the company is holding to make connections.

Use LinkedIn to research the company and and your mutual connections. Chris Galle shared that when he was looking for an internship, he found that one of his LinkedIn connections was connected to someone at the company, and even though they weren’t close connections, that person was still able to make an introduction.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

“Getting to meet my clients in person after working so hard to make sales,” replied Beth Brittain. Allee concurred, adding that being able to touch the lives of the people she works for—the fans, student athletes— in an emotional way fulfills her.

Dr. Bernie Kish, lecturer and facilities director for sport management in the School of Education, thanked the panelists and students. “It makes me feel so good because there are so many people on this panel that I’ve had the privilege of teaching or working with in one capacity or another,” he said.

“If there is one nugget that you can take with you, it’s been a worthwhile evening,” adding that we are fortunate to be Jayhawks. He encouraged the students to use these Jayhawk connections, and to use the Student Alumni Association to help further alumni ties.

Thanks to our alumni panelists:

  • Jennifer Allee, d’04, g’06, assistant athletics director for marketing and fan experience, Kansas Athletics
  • Jason Booker, d’00, senior director of corporate partnerships and broadcast sales, Kansas City Royals
  • Beth Brittain, d’11, premium sales executive, Sporting KC
  • Ashley Broockerd, b’07, director of national events, National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA)
  • Danny Burns, d’06, director of event operations, Sprint Center
  • Shawn Chevreaux, g’07, director of marketing, National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)
  • Jackson DeLay, d’14, ticket sales representative, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Chris Galle, d’12, partner service coordinator, Jayhawk IMG Sports Marketing
  • Megan Mackey, d’09, client services manager, Kansas City Royals
  • Doc Shobe, d’05, g’07, group sales manager, Kansas Speedway

Watch the slideshow below for pictures from Networking Night, and click here to read tips from the event’s keynote speaker, Jason Booker.


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