During the school year, I am fortunate enough to work in my school’s recruiting department. I get to speak routinely in front of up to 250 prospective Sport & Recreation Management students about my personal experiences as well as the benefits of Temple’s program.
I speak fondly about my own experience. As the youngest of four siblings in a divorced family, with all three of my siblings having disabilities, I’ve understood from an early age that I was different from others. More often than not, I went to see my brothers and sister participate in the Special Olympics. Seeing the massive impact sport had on my siblings inspired me. I decided I wanted to change the world through sport.
“I want to be an entrepreneur and create my own company that specializes in assisting athletes throughout and after their career. The spark and the platform I’ve been given through MSBA have provided me with a great foundation to get a business off the ground. It’s given me that chance to change the world through sport.”
Fast forward to my freshman year at Temple University. After playing high school basketball all four years and not generating much attention from colleges, I attempted to walk-on to Temple’s team. I ended up getting hurt during tryouts, effectively ending my competitive playing career.
So here I was, back at square one. What could I do that would help me change the world through sport? I was in Temple’s Sports Management program, with the city of Philadelphia as my classroom. Why not use it to my advantage?
I ended up starting at the very bottom of the totem pole by volunteering my time, taking unpaid internships, and working as a manager for Temple’s basketball team – you don’t know true humility until you wash another man’s jock strap. This part is where I start to see some of the prospective students cringe. These are guys and girls that wish to become GM’s and Athletic Directors some day, and they hear that the route to do that might start in a laundry room. I try and give the facts to them straight: it’s not going to be easy.
Soon though, I tell them, things started to pay off. A fellow manager had a connection with the Philadelphia 76ers, which got my foot in the door in their Game Presentation and Events department. Halfway through my time there, the team debuted Franklin the Dog, the 76ers new mascot. I vividly remember the conversation our boss had with us the day he was set to be unveiled: “We need one of you to now be the full-time assistant to this stupid mascot.”
Guess who was the stupid one who decided to raise his hand?
It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. Working for Franklin for the past two seasons has increased my confidence, taught me how to deal with adversity, and given me access to an entirely new aspect of the sports industry.
Throughout these experiences, I have also worked for a nonprofit, a fantasy football draft board company, Temple’s student-athlete academic center, and a student organization on campus. Many of these experiences not only guided me on what I want to do to try and change the world through sport, but also with what I don’t want to do. This lesson is one I try and hammer home with these students, with all of their eyes glued on me.
In the middle of my sophomore year, I came across MSBA through a routine Google search on how to get my feet wet in the sports business world. My initial thoughts were that this program was too good to be true. An unprecedented look into the sports business industry in the greatest city in the world? There had to be a catch. But here’s the thing: there was no catch.
Even with all of my experience, I thought I’d have no chance to get in. Previous people that went through the program went to the Yales, Ohio States and Princetons of the world. Did this discourage me? No – it made me think about how I could make my application different from the other 2500.
What I told them on my application was my desire. My desire to change the world through sport. I may not be the most qualified, but I will certainly work the hardest. I don’t have the prestige, but I have the (red, white, and) blue-collar mentality that will get me to where I want to go. I told them about my family, my unique path, and the passion I have for the game of basketball.
Amazingly, I got the call. I got set up with an internship with a startup called Krossover, a game film and data analytics company. I never thought I would be in a place like Krossover, but it has been one of the most rewarding internships I have ever been a part of. I’ve not only gained practical knowledge on data analysis, but also real-life experience working in a startup environment. I love the team I am working with in the Business Development department; I’m not just an average intern to them, I’m an active contributor to the company helping out with real issues they are dealing with.
And then, I figured it out: I want to be an entrepreneur and create my own company that specializes in assisting athletes throughout and after their career. The spark and the platform I’ve been given through MSBA have provided me with a great foundation to get a business off the ground. It’s given me that chance to change the world through sport.
All of this comes to the point I make that if I can do it, you can as well. I didn’t have the prestige or accolades that a lot of my awesome MSBA 2016 classmates had to help qualify them for this program. All I had was the work ethic and the desire to be a sports business professional. When that desire shines through, it resonates with people. I am leaving my mark and accomplishing my goal of changing the world through sport.
Once I finish talking with the prospective students, many clap and carry on with their day. I smile as some of them come and approach me after the presentation. They get it. Their journey is just beginning, and now I get to be a part in helping others change the world through sport.
Shameless Plug: Check out @55HappyDaysOfMSBA on Instagram to see my daily posts about #MSBA16! The purpose of the 55 happy days campaign was to not only share my experiences each day within MSBA, but to also find the positives in every single day. It’s not just a blog – it’s a lifestyle.