Sport and Fitness Administration/Management  Interviews

 
 

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The sports industry is not all about athletes. If your head for business matches your interest in sports, check out a major in sport management.

Todd Abbey is not an expert in baseball history. But he can tell you a bit about how Curt Flood of the St. Louis Cardinals became the first free agent.

Abbey had to learn about Flood as part of his bachelor's degree program in sport management at Western Carolina University.

"It was like they were giving you all the experience you needed to have before ever getting a job," says Abbey. "Every course had the student preparing a proposal or working on an event or marketing plan."

After graduating, Abbey landed a job as amateur hockey coordinator for the Carolina Hurricanes. But that doesn't mean the job market is rosy, Abbey says.

"One of the first things that I was told when I came here as an intern was that there are 30,000 people looking to get into sports. But there are only 3,000 jobs to be had."

But don't be discouraged. Like Abbey, getting an internship while in school, even unpaid, is one great way to get your foot in the door.

"You could be a straight-C student throughout college and have a year's internship experience and beat out the 4.0 [A-plus] student every time. The view I took was that I loved sports and it will always need to be marketed."

Eric Hudson also graduated from Western Carolina University with a bachelor's degree in sport management. He particularly remembers his involvement in organizing a three-on-three basketball tournament.

"By including students in every aspect of the project, the experiences and educational opportunities were phenomenal. In fact, the students organized, planned and executed the entire tournament."

How to Prepare

Hudson suggests you start getting to know people who could help you in the future.

"If you have country clubs or golf courses in your area, then work at those places and get the exposure you need to have. Don't be shy, but also [do not be] too aggressive. The more people you meet and have some form of relationship with, the better off you are."