Archive for the ‘Expert Advice’ Category

Jeffrey Dobin

I hoped you enjoyed reading Expert Interview with Jeffrey Dobin: Pursue Your Passion, the first of a two-part mini agent interview series. Jeff’s story is filled with many tidbits that will help you as you look to break down the barrier of entry into the sports industry. From Jeffrey Dobin, Managing Partner at Athlete Advocates, we learned the following:

1. Pursuing advanced educational degrees not only sets you apart from the competition but also gives you more time to gain valuable sports internship experience that may not have been afforded to you during your undergraduate career.

2. Participating in a diversity of internships will give you more exposure to areas of the sports business you are considering for full-time positions.

3. Establishing a solid network of contacts can act as a springboard to launching your own business right out of school.

4. Following up is the key to successful networking. Once you establish a relationship with someone, you have to nurture it.

5. Latching on to a handful of mentors will help you connect all the dots as you look to make your mark in the sports industry. Their insights and advice are invaluable to living out your passion.

6. Treat your internships like interviews. Bring your “A” game every day, and be prepared to out-hustle your peers.

7. Never get comfortable when interning. In other words, avoid distraction at all costs and work as hard and efficiently as possible.

Todd Crannell

For all my readers out there, I want to let you know that my posts have decreased in the past few weeks as a result of my preparation for the LSAT and simultaneous start of my senior year at Georgetown. After October 1st, I will return to my normal dose of 2-3 posts per week. I hope you have found the insights from my professional interviews helpful as you begin to launch your sports career. As always, feel free to reach out to me for any advice on breaking into the business. Expect more sports agent interviews to come out in the near future. From Expert Interview with Todd Crannell: Life in the Fast Lane, NFL agent Todd Crannell taught us the following:

1.Pursuing advanced educational degrees such as an MBA not only make you more marketable to sports companies but can also be of assistence when starting your own business.

2. Not everyone breaks into sports directly after college. Some do not realize their calling until later in their career. It’s never too late to follow your passion.

3. If you are seeking an internship or job in a particular area of sports, play the numbers game by applying to as many companies who can potentially fulfill your career aspirations.

4. For cover letters, communicate tangible skills to an employer to show them what you can bring to the table that will add value to their organization. Be specific.

5. Treat every day of an internship like a job interview. Dress for success.

6. Focus more on the quality of the connections you make as opposed to the quantity. Try to make a lasting impression on a few people who might remember your name when they hear of a job opening within the industry.

7. Participate in as many sports internships as you can. Diversify your experiences and leverage them into job offers. Sometimes you might not even need to pursue an advanced degree. Everyone’s path into sports is unique.

Nicola Murphy

I hope you enjoyed Expert Interview with Nicola Murphy: Hard Work Pays Off. At this point, I have given you a good feel for the sports marketing side of the business, whether it is sponsorships, philanthropy, events, or in Nicola’s case, athletes and properties. Marketing is a large part of the sports business and a great way to break into the industry. However, looking forward, I hope to diversify my interviews in terms of different aspects of the industry and levels of experience. Be on the lookout for upcoming interviews with sports agents. From Nicola Murphy, Director of Marketing, Athlete & Property Marketing at Octagon, we learned the following:

1. Working in sports is not just limited to internship and job opportunities within your home country. Develop a global perspective and be willing to take risks.

2. The skill set you develop does will not necessarily confine you to one particular industry. Make your skills transferable, and you can find a back door into the sports industry.

3. Although Nicola recommended three internship experiences, you can still break into the industry having worked in other capacities that may not be directly related to sports. It depends on how badly you want it.

4. Invest the same amount of time in networking as you would a friendship. Commit yourself to developing genuine connections with people, and sustain those relationships.

5. Treat internships as a trial job opportunity and deliver impressive work product every day.

6. Always take advantage of saying hello and learning a little about the executives you meet along the way.

7. It is okay to try out different things. You will end up carving out what you do not like and focusing on what appeals to you along the way.

Rachel Mech

I had a great time conducting Expert Interview with Rachel Mech: Taking Chances with No Regrets. Telling Rachel’s story to you was a great way for me to show you what kind of people are out there who want to help. As her mentee, it means even more to me to share her insights about breaking into sports. From Rachel Mech, Co-Founder of ProVentures Sports Marketing, we learned the following:

1. Your reputation and ethics are the most precious assets in business and life. Refrain from performing actions that would put either of these two in jeopardy.

2. Separate yourself from the pack by going the extra mile. Be memorable as an intern if you want to get hired.

3. Network with your colleagues, and you will be surprised what kinds of opportunities might come your way. Stay in touch, and be prepared when they call on you for help.

4. Never forget where you came from. Be grateful for the opportunities certain places or people have afforded you. Give back to the community that has shaped who you are today, whether it is through mentoring, coaching, volunteering, etc.

5. As important as sending or responding to emails can be, it is better to connect with people on the phone or in person. You will be more productive and make it more difficult for others to say “No” to you.

6. Be tenacious if you want to break into sports. Don’t let anyone steer you away from your goals. It may take a few “No’s” to get a “Yes”.

7. When faced with a difficult decision, go with your gut. Take risks, and never look back with any regret.

*** Since this interview took place, Rachel Mech has departed ProVentures to pursue her law degree and is currently working in Baltimore.

Harrie Bakst

Conducting Expert Interview with Harrie Bakst: Overcoming the Odds through Hard Work and Sincerity in-person was a unique experience. As you know, my first three interviews were done over the phone. While I certainly could detect the authenticity of my interviewees’ answers by listening to their voices, there was nothing like seeing Harrie’s facial expressions as he sincerely answered my questions. Hearing his story in-person really brought the interview to life. From Harrie Bakst, President of Carnegie Sports & Entertainment, we learned the following:

1. Reading sports books such as Moneyball can peak your interest in the industry and serve as a launching pad for your future sports career.

2. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Try to connect the dots and see the big picture  when analyzing problems. You never know when an idea will take off.

3. While it is important to gain industry experience through sports internships, you can still learn some of the most basic and valuable business principles from non-sports jobs.

4. The key to networking is maintaining relationships. Business cards are just a formality. It’s what you do with them that makes the difference.

5. Surround yourself with good people who you can rely on for advice and learn from. Latch on to mentors who want to help you take your career to the next level.

6. If you want to break into sports, focus tirelessly on your work ethic and sincerity. These two things are completely in your control. Never let anyone take them away from you.

7. Don’t let life’s most difficult challenges (e.g. cancer) get in the way of your goals. Beat the odds by believing in yourself.

David Francis

As the popular saying goes, “Third time’s a charm.” After publishing my third sports industry Expert Interview with David Francis: Be Flexible in Your Approach, I am starting to feel like a real blogger. The interviews have been a ton of fun so far. If you have not picked up on it by now, I publish one sports industry expert interview per week. I will do my best to publish them on Mondays in the future. From David Francis, Coordinator with the Division of Legal and Government Affairs at the USOC, we learned the following:

1. Studying subjects in college that do not directly relate to working in sports should not impede you from breaking into the industry.

2. Pursuing advanced degrees, whether it is a JD and/or a master’s in Sports Management, will further set you apart from your competition who are trying just as hard as you to work in sports.

3. It’s perfectly normal to transform your passion for playing sports as a student-athlete into a passion to work in the business as a professional.

4. Internships are a pre-requisite for breaking into sports. Get some experience to beef up your resume.

5. Turn to mentors who have more experience than you and have likely encountered a problem that you have to deal with.

6. If you want to work in sports, a lot of the time and effort you put into your job will be behind-the-scenes. Although the public may not know your exact role in a project or event, it is very rewarding to see the end-product of your work.

7. Be flexible in your approach to breaking into sports. You do not necessarily have to land your dream job right away. Once you are in the business, it is much easier to move around to where you want to be.

Kelty Carpenter

With my second interview under my belt, I noticed a pretty cool observation. Despite asking the same set of questions in Expert Interview with Kelty Carpenter: A Good Attitude Goes a Long Way, the responses she gave me painted a picture unique to her life experiences. Her answers differed from those of Ben Sturner because they often tackled the questions from a different angles. As long as I continue to gain meaningful insights from my standard set of questions, I will keep them in tact. From Kelty Carpenter, Programming Coordinator at ESPN, we learned the following:

1. Pursuing a graduate degree in sports management can be a great launching pad into the industry, especially if you lack contacts or studied liberal arts subjects as an undergraduate.

2. Not everyone plans to work in sports initially. Sometimes you just fall into it. Embrace opportunities when they present themselves throughout your career.

3. Blessings can come in disguise given the way Kelty landed her job at ESPN.

4. Always be prepared for whatever is thrown at you given the circumstances.

5. Protect your reputation vigorously. Be cautious today for the sake of your future.

6. People want to help you out with your career by becoming your mentor. Take advantage of this fact. Meeting for coffee might just be the first step in forming long, productive relationships.

7. Have a good attitude about everything you do. It’s one of the few things you can control that has the capability of taking your career to the next level. Don’t forget to smile!