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A Step by Step Guide to Getting into the Sports Biz
Sports business can be highly competitive, but here's a four-year plan for breaking in.
There's good news and bad news about the demand for
entry-level candidates in sports business. The bad news is
that it can be highly competitive, as evidenced by the sheer
explosion of sport management programs that colleges are
offering now. The good news is that ANYONE can get a job in
the sports industry. It's primarily an experience-driven
Especially at the entry-level, the hiring managers are
looking to see what internships you did with sports teams
while you were in college more so than where you went to
school. Sports business is so unique from so many other
professions because there's literally a blueprint for where
you want to go. You want to be a Vice President of Sales and
Marketing someday....start as a Ticket Sales Intern, then get
a Account Executive/Inside Sales job selling ticket sales.
From there, you become an Inside Sales Manager, then a
Director of Sales, and finally you can reach your goal as a
VP. I can't remember a hiring manager ever telling me that
they liked a candidate solely based on the fact they had an
MBA from so-and-so school. It really has everything to do
with what your business experience is.
If you're really set on making sports business your career, you really will need at least 2-4 internships before you graduate. There's really no discussion about your degree-you can't break into this business without earning your bachelor's degree. If I had to plan a college student's itinerary for 4 years, I would set it up like this:
I will say one word of caution about internships: make sure you get everything you possibly can out of them. Don't just be what I like to call "this semester's intern." You want to be the best intern they've EVER had. Take ownership of a project. Ask if anyone else on the staff needs help with anything. Interview everyone you can about how they got where they are. Interns come and go every semester at these teams; make yourself valuable to the team, and opportunities will come your way!
Chris Zeppenfeld is a Senior Manager at TeamWork Online.
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