Day 54: Closing Ceremony, The Power Of Genuine Relationships

Aaron Malave 2013 1975 Comments

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If there was one theme that resonated throughout the summer — through speakers, mentors, field trips, and MSBA staff — it’s the value of genuine relationships.

It obviously isn’t a groundbreaking concept, especially in the sports industry, that having people that can vouch for your abilities as well as authentically care for your personal well being is crucial in being able to find success.

As I took the short cab ride with my roommates to The Gin Mill for our Closing Ceremonies I reflected on just that, the invaluable relationships I have been able to foster during my time at the Manhattan Sports Business Academy.

When we first walked into the EHS dorms two months ago, we entered as complete strangers who happened to share a passion for the business of sports. Throughout this eight-week journey, however, we’ve learned, networked, shared best practices, experienced New York, and most importantly, created an incredible bond that we can eternally thank this program for.

The ability to both work hard and play hard with this group of young professionals provided a dynamic that was unique to any of my previous experiences. The Gin Mill quickly filled up as students, staff, mentors, and employers filled the party room to celebrate our successes this summer. We got drinks, reminisced, and even did a little networking with professionals we have yet to meet. We were each presented with a Certificate of Completion while a short bio was read in what was a special moment in our “graduation.”

The real emotional part came when the music was shut off and everyone was instructed to direct their attention to the TV screens. On the screens was a nine-minute picture slideshow that showcased the many memories of our summer. There was a lot of laughter and a couple of tears shed as we looked back upon on the summer of a lifetime. The founders of the Manhattan Sports Business Academy, Ben Sturner and David Oestreicher, ended the evening by saying that this group of students was closer than any of the staff could have imagined and I’d have to agree.

I was hesitant to believe that 22 students from around the country, all from different backgrounds, different experiences, and different aspirations, would come together to form this extremely tight knit group. But we did. We all haven’t even left New York yet, but we’re already planning our reunion. See you guys in Michigan!

Sitting in the airport waiting to board my plane back to my hometown of Miami gave me an opportunity to once again reflect. I’ve learned so much this summer about the industry and myself alike. Leaving New York I now have an overall better understanding and confidence of myself and where I fit in the business. Talks with David taught me to “control what I can control” as well as to “take advantage of every opportunity”. Knowing that I have someone like him behind me leaves me no choice but to find success. I’m ready and motivated to take all that I’ve learned back to the University of Central Florida and apply it to all of my future ventures.

The greatest aspect of MSBA is quite possibly the simplest in nature: the people. I’ve gained a group of not only colleagues, but friends, who have challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and genuinely want me to succeed. (Special shout out to the “new mafia”, I love y’all).

There’s no doubt in my mind that I will always cherish beers and burgers at Merrion Square, Sundays in Central Park, and late night bro talks. Relationships- quite possibly the most overused word in business was undoubtedly the most phenomenal facet of the Manhattan Sports Business Academy. We’re headed back to our individual cities and schools but we will forever be bound by the fact that we experienced this program and all it has to offer together, as an MSBA family.

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