Bailey and I arrived at 345 Park Avenue just in time for the NFL visit. We had overcome a series of unfortunate events just to get there. From an angry Uber driver, who cancelled our trip after we had waited more than 15 minutes, to missing the early train out of Jersey, to the E Subway line shutting down at midday on a Friday, we certainly faced our share of obstacles getting to the home of “the shield.” But we made it.
“Above all, we have each grown in our own way to become better versions of ourselves, and that has truly made all the difference.”
As we entered the elevator dressed in our best suits, there was a definite feeling of great anticipation, even suspense. We found the hats of our favorite football teams waiting for us in the NFL boardroom as each of us took our seats at the table. The thrill of just being there is something I will remember for some time.
We heard from four speakers—Mark Waller (EVP, International), Matt Shapiro (Director, Events), Mike Smith (SVP, Talent Management and Rewards), and Jaime Weston (SVP, Creating, Branding, and Marketing)—each of whom spoke to the different areas of the league that they help to manage. It was incredibly insightful, and I can say without a doubt that what we learned about the business of the sport in the two hours we spent at headquarters will be incredibly valuable to me as I prepare to start my career. One simply cannot put a price on this kind of access.
The same I feel can be said of MSBA as a whole. This summer began for many of us without a single contact in the sports industry. I had never been to a league office or a front office. I had never met anyone outside of academia who actually worked in sports. The closest I had ever come to knowing someone in sports was the “on-field” Giants-Cowboys ticket a friend of mine once gave me. I was within a stone’s throw of the players, so I thought that was pretty cool, but my actual “proximity to sports business” was never much closer than a dream. I am now eight weeks from the start of this program and that dream is as close to becoming reality as it has ever been.
In closing, I feel comfortable speaking for my fellow classmates when I say that this summer has changed our lives. We began eight weeks ago not knowing what to really expect, and have found ourselves challenged to think critically about every facet of this dynamic industry. We have made friends whose great company we will call upon for the rest of our lives. We have shared with these friends an amazing array of crazy and altogether exciting experiences, which I know we will cherish forever (especially the MSBA swerve session from week 5). Above all, we have each grown in our own way to become better versions of ourselves, and that has truly made all the difference.
MSBA 2015 may now be in the books, but we know full well that the learning never stops—that our growth, both personal and professional, continues on. For I dare say we are not yet our best selves, but it is within our power and our capacity to become it if we wish. Here the road may split asunder, but only for a time. Of that I am sure. This is no end. This is the beginning.