By Cassidy LeBert ‘17
Last Wednesday, 15 Sport Management students expanded their professional network as they talked over coffee with a diverse group of professionals in the field. The Sport Management Networking Breakfast put on by the efforts of the Girard School of Business in cohorts with the O’Brien Center for Student Success hosted five Sport Management professionals in Cascia Hall who were eager to share their experiences and answer any questions students had. The attendees included a mix of Merrimack alumni and staff such as Griffin Kirkwood ‘12 of the Boston Cannons, Will O’Leary ‘15 of Merrimack Athletics, and Merrimack’s very own Jeremy Gibson, Director of Athletics. Also in the mix were Joe Bertanga, the Commissioner of Hockey East, as well as the Vice President of Sales for Bauer Hockey, Paul Healey ‘82.
Joe Jenkins, Career Advisor for the Girard School of Business says the ultimate goal of these types of events is “to provide a space for students to ask career related questions to the individuals with the answers.” Jenkins noted that the dress formal, yet casual atmosphere of the breakfast was a great way to get students engaged and feel comfortable getting into a conversation, while also giving them the opportunity to practice their professionalism.
Ultimately, Jenkins said the networking event is more of an area of prep work for the Spring Career Fair rather than an initiative to land a job or internship during those two hours of discussion. Instead, students learn the answers to the types of questions HR representatives are looking for upon recruitment. Given that this event was not required for any student or class, Jenkins felt that those who attended may gain a competitive edge in terms of networking because they truly showed that they wanted to be there.
“Given the intimate setting, I thought the event was a terrific opportunity for students to have a nearly one-on-one conversation with an industry professional, including the Commissioner of Hockey East, a Vice President with Bauer Hockey, and Merrimack’s own Athletic Director, Jeremy Gibson,” said Dr. Jonathan Jensen, an Assistant Professor in the Sport Management program who teaches sports marketing. “Students were able to receive advice about seeking internships, job opportunities in the sport industry, and networking.”
It is no secret that networking is one of the most powerful marketing tactics used for anyone looking to successfully gain or sustain a job. Although landing a career in Sport Management may not seem like the easiest task to accomplish, the window of opportunity is much larger than people are lead to believe. “Given that students in the Sport Management concentration earn a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, the possibilities after graduation are endless,” noted Jensen. “In addition to opportunities in marketing, event management, or public relations with sport organizations, students also can seek positions on the corporate side of the sport industry, for brands such as Converse, Reebok, New Balance, or virtually any firm that engages in sport sponsorship.”