Blog4-Sawyer

Day 4: The Kickoff

Sawyer Opalich 2017, Blog

There was something special in the air at the Kickoff Celebration. It was hard to tell who was more excited, my MSBA classmates, who all showed up fifteen minutes prior to the start of the event talking about their days and smiling from cheek to cheek about meeting their Mentorship Collectives tonight, or the Mentors, who all slowly arrived to the Celebration throughout the night to finally meet their much anticipated Mentees. For me, this uncertainty of who was more excited epitomizes why the Mentorship Collective is such an integral part of the whole MSBA experience. By having three tiers in my Mentorship Collective – an MSBA alum (Ryan Nowack, The Madison Square Garden Company), a rising sports business star (Marcus Fuller, Futures Sport + Entertainment), and a seasoned industry professional (Jared Schoenfeld, The Players’ Tribune) – there is a wide range of knowledge, but I personally think the most important part is the different stories each Mentor brings to the group.

“I have never felt as exposed to the industry in one space as I did at the Kickoff Celebration. The one thing I noticed that they all have in common though is their desire to impart their wisdom on us, the Class of 2017, and help us navigate our roadmap into this ever-changing industry.”

They all come from different hometowns, different educational paths, and have garnered different professional experiences. No two Mentors came into the industry or their current position the exact same way. This is very unique for me, as I have never felt as exposed to the industry in one space as I did at the Kickoff Celebration. The one thing I noticed that they all have in common, though, is their desire to impart their wisdom on us, the Class of 2017, and help us navigate our roadmap into this ever-changing industry. Our goal as Mentees is to understand the intricacies of the industry by asking our Mentors for their opinions and advice, and the willingness expressed makes me feel much more comfortable approaching them in any setting.

The conversations came easy throughout the night; we were all eager to get to know one another before the summer really got started. Through many conversations, I talked a lot about where I came from and where I want to go. Every conversation I had, especially those with my specific Mentors, all included one similar topic: what WE want to get out of the summer. Not just me, but us as a group, with a lot of follow-up on how they might be able to help me get there. At this point in time, it is tough for me to think about what is next and I usually don’t have a definitive answer, but that’s a big reason I chose to participate in MSBA originally – I wanted that exposure and access to different stories to help me understand the landscape of this industry. I was given that at the Kickoff Celebration, and I know looking forward that my roadmap will have more opportunity because of my Mentorship Collective and all of the Mentors working with us this summer.