Over the course of the semester, I have learned a lot about what it takes to become successful as a sport manager. Despite the area of interest I am pursuing, many careers in the sport management industry involve similar qualifications. The initial paper I wrote on the interview with the Assistant Athletic Director of Compliance, I acquired an ideal amount of general knowledge on what it takes and the important aspects of achieving a professional career in sport management. After interviewing sport event manager Jeff Hiller, I realized his area of expertise is something I am more interested in than compliance. Through Hiller and great amounts of research, I discovered which roles and responsibilities are involved in planning an event which will be re-examined later. Lastly, after further research about the steps to take towards an event management career, I obtained information about interim positions I should consider to eventually becoming an expert in the area. I will revisit areas of each paper I have written and bring it all together for an overall vision of what it takes to succeed as a sport manager.
Kristine Kuhr Fowler, whom I interviewed for my first paper, is Athletic Director of Compliance at the University of Kansas. Although compliance is not the area of expertise I wish to pursue, there was a lot of valuable insight I acquired from her as to what is important in sport management careers in general. Fowler first explained that there is a great deal of responsibility expected of her due to her work with a major BCS institution. No matter what job it is that I obtain in the future, I realize that working with any major company, school, or team will require that I be on top of my work at all times. I understand that I will be under excessive amounts of pressure to be great at what I am expected to do, in which case will be to plan and execute sporting events in a smooth and efficient manner. Fowler also explained that professionalism, attention to detail, and a hard work ethic are important characteristics to have in compliance. These attributes are important for event planning as well. Attention to detail is especially significant, considering all that goes into planning an event. Every detail of an event must be prepared and carried out as efficiently and effectively as possible in order for the entire operation to run smoothly. A hard work ethic entails many long hours of preparation and planning prior to the actual date of the event. This means mostly work and almost no play. For some reason I am okay with this because I will be fulfilling my dreams and the workload will be well worth the outcome.
Fowler also recommends business classes, including a further education, volunteer work and internships, and mentors to be very helpful in the steps of becoming a professional. Jobs in sport are considered "big business", therefore, great amounts of business experience is critical. This is the reason why a sport management major at KU requires a minor in business. I never considered before how much business is related to sports. I have always just loved being around any sport environment and knew a career in it was what I wished to pursue. After taking Lumpkin's sport management class, I have realized how crucial business is to the world of sports and it has been verification that this is the path I want to be taking. Fowler also suggested that going into graduate school would be a valuable choice, considering the higher the education one partakes in, the chances of acquiring a higher level job and succeeding at it are greater than simply with an undergraduate degree. I feel as if a higher level of education would benefit me in the sense that I would become more confident in what I am pursuing, and the greater my confidence is, the more successful I can be.
I can also gain more confidence by doing volunteer work and internships because they can give me a first- hand encounter of what a professional sport career entails. The more experience I gain from working in a professional setting, the more comfortable I will become sharing my own ideas. At some point I intend to find a mentor to guide me along my path. Professional insight is very valuable information to have and becoming close to someone of a higher position can affect how my own career will turn out. I learned a great deal of general information from Fowler as to what she experienced as she went on her trip to becoming a successful sport manager, and much of the knowledge I acquired can be applied to my own journey.
The roles and responsibilities of a sport event manager include several major and minor details, all of which must be carefully planned and implemented. Jeff Hiller, Head Event Coordinator of Premier Sports Management explained that an event must include a schedule of tasks or a task list, a budget, sponsors and volunteers, a risk management plan, etc. By interning at a company such as Premier Sports, I can gain the knowledge of how the process of planning a major event goes down. I can learn what goes into creating a task list and all of the necessary details that are involved with it, I can figure out how they develop their budget and the various things they consider for it, and so on. Once I have gained all the insight of how to plan an event, I will be one step closer to greater involvement of planning other major events.
Hiller agreed with Fowler in the sense that detail matters. Paying attention to detail is a vital attribute one must practice to become successful at planning events. This is why so much time is taken in advance to prepare for large events. I must learn how to take things one step at a time and not rush the process. This is something I think I could get better at overtime and the more mistakes I make at first will only help me in the future. When planning an event, I will have to consider every revenue and expense that will come out of the event. Sponsorships are a huge portion of the revenues of an event. One of my goals I wish to accomplish as I am learning the ropes is to be able to spot certain potential sponsors and ways in which I can reel them in.
Networking is also a key aspect of a sporting event. Rarely does a single organization or event managing group ever put together an event on its own. Typically, collaborating ideas and work with other companies is critical to making an event happen. It is ideal to obtain external companies in which the company can rely on to carry out specific duties for one particular event or even all events. Being able to work well with others makes an event much more diverse and provides a greater competitive advantage than an event produced by a single company. I feel that I work very well with others in the sense that I am open to new ideas and can find ways to integrate two good ideas into one excellent idea, which is a positive attribute I can offer to future employers.
Large events come with many risks. Implementing a risk management plan is vital for any event to run as smoothly as possible. Having a plan in the event that something goes wrong will make everything much easier to accomplish and reduce the amounts of panic and tension that may arise from a stressful situation. I am one that tends to panic and worry in high tension situations, however, with a plan in place, I am confident I can reduce those feelings. Therefore, being prepared for anything to happen is highly encouraged when planning a sporting event.
Researching interim positions of a sport event manager has helped me realize how quickly I could make it to the top. So far I have worked in the events and facilities department of KU athletics and have met a lot of people pursuing the same career. Being surrounded by ambitious people motivates me even more to work my hardest and make sure I spread my name to as many people in the business as possible. Working for KU has given me inside experience that will look good on a resume. Therefore, applying for internships will become easier and I can acquire advice from my boss and maybe even an internship with KU athletics. Internships can lead to a part-time job that would be more than just hosting at the basketball games. I would actually have to apply what I have learned so far and I would be more involved with making decisions and giving my own input as how to solve a situation.
Once I have achieved a part-time job, eventually a full-time job may come up. Working full-time for the athletic department at KU is just the beginning of my goals. Once I can prove that I am a vital part of the team, I can apply or even be referred for other jobs on the professional rather than collegiate level. I understand that relocation and traveling is a major part of the job which I am willing to accept due to the fact I have lived in Lawrence way too long. My cousin began her career in the sport management field working with KU athletics and now she is traveling all over the U.S. to help with MLB events. Someday I hope to achieve that kind of success and I know that with a lot of hard work and cooperation, it is possible. As with most people, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up, which may take some people more time than others to do. I am willing to take all the time I need just as long as I can see a successful career in the future.
As I reflect back on all that I have learned from researching and interviewing professionals, I know exactly what to expect and what path I should be taking. It will be no surprise to me what future employers may be looking for in someone pursuing a sport event management career. I have obtained an inside look as to what a professional sport manager does and the attributes that are critical for a career in sport management. I know the roles and responsibilities that are required for planning sporting events. I have also acquired a knowledge of the steps will be involved in chasing my dream job. My next step is to actually experience and carry out those roles and responsibilities on my own or with minimal guidance. Experience is the key for the career I wish to acquire, therefore, it is crucial that I find all opportunities possible for learning and meet new people who may be of great assistance along the way.