Day 25: The Fifth Pillar of MSBA

Andrew Zingone 2018

If you visit the MSBA website, you will find that the program is built on four Academy Pillars: Internship Placement, Speaker Series, Mentorship, and Professional Development. While all of these pillars are crucial to the MSBA experience, I want to draw attention and give praise to a fifth, less apparent pillar: peers. Although I have gained hands on experience in the sports business world through my Internship Placement, learned invaluable information through the Speaker Series, expanded my network in the industry through my Mentorship Collective, and developed professionally through the Career Workshops and Office Field Trips, the part of MSBA that is truly priceless is the relationships built with the 26 (shout out John and Grace) people that Bailey and Lorne surrounded me with.

“People say that it is difficult to break into the world of sports business, and I have found that to be true. However, if I am going to enter into this world and take it with the ups and downs of life, there is no group I’d rather do it with.”

My experience at MSBA would not be as worthwhile or rewarding if I wasn’t surrounded by a group of professionals that force me to be at my best. It is tough to describe the importance of living and working alongside 26 exceptional men and women who share the same passion for the sports industry as me. Each member of the Class of 2018 brings something to the table, has enhanced my experience in New York this summer, and has elevated the group in their own, unique way. Hard to imagine, right? Let me see if I can shed a little light on the matter:

  1. Peyton Adams – Peyton is the person who knocks on your door freshman year with brownies in her hand from her mom (which are delicious by the way). Always treating people like family, Peyton has been integral in creating a sense of camaraderie among the group. Like her favorite athlete, Aaron Rodgers, she works for everything and takes nothing for granted.
  2. Max Antonneau – If you talk to Max, you automatically notice he’s always in a good mood and full of energy. His personality and zeal are contagious. This summer, I have been lucky enough to experience Max working in an industry that he is passionate about, and this only intensifies his drive for life.
  3. Joe Buonadonna – From Brewster, NY and goes to school at Florida. Did I get it right that time? With one of the most contagious laughs I have ever been around, Joe will never fail to put a smile on your face. A pure New Yorker, Joe lifts everyone’s attitude through his own.
  4. Grace Curatolo – Teaching me the true meaning of having your life in order, Grace has taken on the role of Mother Goose and she constantly watches out for others within the MSBA family. She’s independent, yet loyal to the group. Grace will give you an earful if needed and sometimes that’s exactly what I need.
  5. Raymond “RJ” Curtin – A competitor with a hatred for losing. Whether at his internship, on an athletic field, or in his room playing Fortnite, Raymond attacks everything with a consistent 110% effort. He has shown me the importance of possessing a competitive mindset when entering the business of sports.
  6. Ben Finkelstein – Ben Finkelboss is the life of every conversation. Whether you are a lifelong friend or complete stranger, Ben Finkellegend engages you in the utmost sincere and friendly manner. It is tough to teach the level of openness and caring demeanor that Ben approaches every interaction with. I have no doubt success will come as he enters the sports business world.
  7. Andrea Galea – Yeah, her name rhymes. I was blown away too. Teaching me more about handbags than I thought I would ever know, Andrea brings southern charm and kindness to the MSBA Class of 2018. Although she doesn’t live in MSBA Housing with most of us, Andrea has shown me the importance of being light hearted and open when building relationships.
  8. Lindell Galvan – Hook ‘em! Kind hearted and quick witted, Lindell was the first friendly face who helped me figure out the labyrinth that is the New York City subway system. Lindell is a caring friend who is never afraid to set you on the right path.
  9. Christian Gange – A California kid in a candy shop. Christian has been a constant reminder that we are truly living the dream at MSBA. Finding joy in every aspect of life and the MSBA experience, he has taught me to take this experience one day at a time and to enjoy the ride.
  10. Lucy Hodson – Every team needs a ringer. MSBA has Lucy Hodson. Growing up across the pond in the UK, Lucy is always there to save the day. Lucy has spearheaded multiple experiences outside of work for the MSBA team. On top of that, when plans go south, Lucy is there to save the day.
  11. Sarah Linebaugh – Loud and proud, Sarah trusts the process. Although she is one of the youngest in the 2018 MSBA family, Sarah holds herself to a high standard and acts with maturity and professionalism well beyond her years. She has taught me the importance of holding yourself accountable to become the person you strive to be.
  12. Claudio Martinez – Creating your own clothing brand as a college student is no small task, yet that feat barely scratches the surface of what Claudio has accomplished. Humble and hungry, he has taught me the importance of resiliency and desire in fighting for what you want, either in the sports industry or in life.
  13. Luke Murray – Despite being a diehard Yankees fan, Luke has been an amazing roommate this year. Living in a triple room with an RA is tough as a 22-year-old college graduate, but my experience has been memorable to say the least. Whether we’re quoting The Office or sharing a laugh over something that happened at our internships, Luke is always in a good mood and shares a contagious energy with everyone he meets.
  14. Delaney Nicol – Delaney is allergic to two things: peanuts and BS. Always to the point, this Ohio State fan never has an issue telling you how it is. She brings this much-needed quality to the group, since we sometimes need to be given the facts without the fat.
  15. Peter Partner – Finding the humor in almost every situation, Peter always puts people in a good mood. Mostly because he finds jokes way funnier than they are, people can’t help but share a laugh with him. In the work place, “Spidey” brings a quiet confidence that raises his teammates to new levels.
  16. Julia Rauchenberger – Pursing her passion for life, Julia nearly showed up late to MSBA because she was busy backpacking through the wilderness. Setting goals and seeing them through, Julia has taught me the importance of pursing and committing wholeheartedly to your goals in order to succeed.
  17. John Regula – A true Manu Ginobli, John has no issues letting others take the spotlight. Grinding day in and day out, John has taught me the importance of letting one’s work speak for itself. Without pomp or drama, John works hard for his teammates, colleagues, and friends.
  18. Jacob Salter – The man from the Bronx with the plans. Whether introducing you to new cuisine in the city or inviting the entire MSBA collective to a beach party on a roof (yeah that one was crazy), Jake always has something up his sleeve. No matter what is going on, Jake is always inviting and ready to bring new people along for the ride.
  19. Claudia Sam – A down to earth, kind-spirited person, Claudia has exhibited hard work and drive in her time at MSBA and in her life to be where she is today. Looking at her past experiences, Claudia exemplifies the MSBA characteristics through her hard work and drive.
  20. Natalie Sams – From Louisville, Kentucky. Make sure you say that right. Sams takes no prisoners as she exhibits passion and vigor in every task she undertakes. Natalie has shown me the importance of standing tall when confronted with tough situations. Thomas Jefferson once said, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Natalie has taught me the importance of both keeping up with fashion and holding high morals.
  21. Jessica Schafer-Thomas – Self-confident and hardworking, Jessica will be successful in whatever she decides to pursue. She possesses a rare combination of a kind, caring personality and a demeanor that she will steam role any obstacle in her path.
  22. Matt Schasel – When I graduated from college this past spring and headed to New York City, I had no plans to continue playing soccer. With the lack of green space in the city, I figured I would never find time to research where and when I could play the sport that I had enjoyed my entire life. That belief became a self-fulfilling prophecy throughout my first two weeks in New York. Thanks to Matt, it’s no longer the case. Through actively inviting me to pick-up, he has shown me how to have a work life balance and to continue to enjoy the game I love.
  23. Anika Singh – Once you get over the fact that she roots for the Golden State Warriors, you see Anika brings a level of fandom that you can’t help but appreciate. Baking cupcakes for every Warrior basketball game, she continually pays tribute to the greatest cupcake of them all, Kevin Durant.
  24. Anastasia Smolenski – The best way to describe Anastasia both as a sports fan and friend/colleague is as a Spurs fan. Anastasia is a team player through and through. Never afraid of making the extra pass to make the offense run smoothly, Anastasia has taught me the importance of understanding that no one’s ego or agenda comes before the team.
  25. Tarik Tekle – A lover not a fighter, which is always a good thing when living in a triple with some of the loudest people in MSBA. Tarik has always exhibited a positive attitude even in times when things don’t go his way. Tarik has shown me the importance of moving on from the negatives and looking to the positives. On top of that, Tarik has made me realize that a person should never sit back and wait for what they want; if you want something, go get it.
  26. Avery Toliver – Sharing her love for non-profit work, Avery constantly puts others before herself. I have learned the importance of using one’s talents and opportunities in service for the betterment of others. Wherever Avery finds success in her career, she will continue to strive for the wellbeing of the people who surround her.

Each member of the MSBA Class of 2018 continually surprises me every day with their work ethic. People say that it is difficult to break into the world of sports business, and I have found that to be true. However, if I am going to enter into this world and take it with the ups and downs of life, there is no group I’d rather do it with. I am excited to see what each of my fellow participants, colleagues, and friends accomplish throughout their careers.

The great Oprah Winfrey once said: “Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher.” Luckily at MSBA, Lorne and Bailey do this for you.