Inside the Madison Square Garden Career Fair

Posted: August 1, 2011 in Internships, Networking
Tags: , , , ,

If you want to learn more about current internship and job opportunities in the sports industry, it is probably a good idea to attend a sports-themed career fair if possible. Given that I am entering my senior year and will most likely pursue an entry-level job in sports (or otherwise attend law school), I could not pass on the opportunity.

Last Thursday, I traveled to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey to attend the Madison Square Garden Sports and Entertainment Career Fair (note that the Garden is currently under renovations for the summer). I paid $40 for a ticket to that night’s New York Liberty game in order to gain admission into the fair, which lasted from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Along with hundreds of other attendees, I waited for nearly an hour outside in the 90+ degree heat before entering the Prudential Center, much to my chagrin.

When I finally got past security, I took the escalator up to the main concourse, where I was immediately immersed in a throng of internship and job-hungry candidates. The basic set-up of the career fair included tables with representatives from sports and/or entertainment companies followed by long lines of attendees looking to separate themselves from the pack. The companies who were in attendance included the following:

Major League Teams: New York Jets, New York Rangers, New York Knicks, New York Red Bulls, New York Liberty, New Jersey Nets, and New Jersey Devils

Other Sports Companies: CBS Sports, Gazelle Group Sports Marketing, Aviator Sports and Events Center, and FirstJobinSports.com

Professional Leagues: NBA/NBA Development League, WNBA, NASCAR, and National Lacrosse League (NLL)

Minor League Teams: Providence Bruins (hockey) and Newark Bears (baseball)

Entertainment: Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall

Other: Coca Cola, MetLife, and Northwestern Mutual

It was quite a thorough representation of sports and entertainment companies located in the tri-state era. Attendees, myself included, were forced to allocate their time accordingly given the long lines. Based on my interests, I made it to the New York Jets, New Jersey Nets, New York Islanders, Coca Cola, New York Red Bulls, and FirstJobinSports.com. Some of the companies were offering internships, while others full-time positions. The majority of the available jobs were in Inside Sales, which is basically selling over the phone. This is definitely a very common path into the sports industry, so start sharpening those phone skills!

Due to the large number of attendees, the company representatives often spoke to groups of 2-3 people about current opportunities as well as answered any questions. Depending on when you got there and how popular the line was, you might have gotten some one-on-one time. Some company representatives handed out business cards, while others did not. When you left a table, you came away from it with someone’s name and information about how to apply to his or her company.

What people probably enjoyed most about of the fair was the fact that they could drop their resumes off with any of these companies. In my opinion, this did not really mean much to me because of the sheer amount that were collected by teams, leagues, and the like. Unless you asked a memorable question, you became just another name in the pile. I did my best to remember the names of the people I met and follow-up with them via email. Hopefully, it will set me apart from the rest.

Overall, I am glad that I went to the MSG Career Fair. I had been to a sports networking conference before, but this was my first sports career fair. It was nice to see what is out there and how the fairs typically work. The main thing I disliked about it was the impersonal nature of most of the conversations I had with employers. This is not to say that were rude; they just could not give everyone the appropriate attention given the time pressure and over 1,000 attendees. I am much more interested in getting to know the employer representatives on a more basic level, i.e. where they are from, where they went to school, how they broke into sports, etc. Although this was not quite possible given the circumstances, I hope to stay in touch with people I did meet and develop genuine relationships. Definitely attend one of these career fairs to know what the experience is like, and take it from there.

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