SBJ/November 29 - December 5, 2004/SBJ In Depth

Five to watch: Sports MBA programs

Arizona State University
W.P. Carey School of Business
Tempe, Ariz.
Niche: Only nationally ranked MBA program to offer primo sports management training
Course of study: Full-time MBA program with a sports business specialization that includes 18 credit hours, solid internship placements, consultative projects and a rotation of front-line speakers
Avg. GMAT: 649
Avg. work experience: 4.5 years
Estimated cost: $46,298
The sheepskinny: The W.P. Carey MBA is the driving force for most students, who figure they’ll walk away with a degree that will carry weight even if they run into roadblocks in sports. That, complemented by access to a major college athletic program and a wealth of pro sports properties, should make this the choice for elite candidates looking for a foot in the door, or a leg up, in sports. Wowed by the stats but still worried about a network? Program director Jim Kahler, who ran the Cleveland Cavs marketing department before coming here, is a distinguished Ohio U. alum whose connections run deep and wide. He takes only 12 students a year, so polish up that résumé now.

Ohio University
Athens, Ohio
Niche: Granddaddy of them all has the best-connected network, with the greatest pull coming in college sports and facilities management
Course of study: Joint MBA/MSA program starts with one year in the B-school program, which runs from September through the following August, followed by a 43-credit stint in the master’s-level sports administration and facilities management program.
Avg. GMAT: 548
Avg. work experience: 1.5 years
Estimated cost: $25,780 for one-year MBA, plus about $20,000 for one-year MSA
The sheepskinny: Fabled program is widely regarded as the cradle of college athletic directors. The program delivers an instant network, with 800 grads since its founding in 1966. ACC Commissioner John Swofford went here, as did Memphis Grizzlies president Andy Dolich, Cincinnati Reds assistant GM Dean Taylor, Nike VP Elliott Hill and ASU sports MBA director Jim Kahler.

University of Central Florida
DeVos Sport Business Management Program
Niche: This top-shelf sports business education with a social conscience has a fondness for helping student-athletes make the transition to the work force. The program was founded three years ago on a $2.5 million endowment from Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos.
Course of study: Full-time MBA program supplemented by 27 credits of master’s-level sports management education, including a full-time summer internship and part-time work in the UCF athletic department or with area pro sports properties.
Avg. GMAT: 558
Avg. work experience: 2 years
Estimated cost: $35,000
The sheepskinny: Run by noted athlete advocate Richard Lapchick and sports marketing guru Bill Sutton, the program puts students to work on real-world projects with pro and college teams and requires them to study social issues in sports and work in community service.

University of Massachusetts
Isenberg School of Management
Amherst, Mass.
Niche: Big-name program backed by a large, specialized faculty and a network of heavy hitters who got MS degrees here
Course of study: PMBA with MS in sports management opens with 36 MBA credits in the first year, followed by 27 sports management credits in second year, along with six-credit internship and final semester practicum, typically tied to university athletic program.
Avg. GMAT: 629
Avg. work experience: 4.5 years
Estimated cost: $34,808
The sheepskinny: While the sports management master’s program has been around since 1971, UMass is relatively new to the sports MBA game and hasn’t turned out many grads. Its current class of eight is the largest in five years. Still, the faculty is the deepest and most specialized around and the network of sports management grads includes Sports Illustrated CMO Jeff Price, Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, Trail Blazers CMO Declan Bolger, action sports honcho Wade Martin, and NASCAR new media director Jeffrey Pollack.

University of Oregon
Lundquist College of Business
Eugene, Ore.
Niche: Research-driven program offers access to the nation’s premiere sports marketing think tank, the Warsaw Center.
Course of study: First-year core MBA program, supplemented by weekly sports colloquium and Warsaw Center projects that offer industry orientation. Summer internship followed by 21-credit concentration of graduate-level sports marketing courses.
Avg. GMAT: 632
Avg. work experience: 3.9 years
Estimated cost: $31,722
The sheepskinny: The campus’s proximity to sporting goods titans Nike and Adidas, coupled with chances to work on real-world projects at the Warsaw Center, makes this an unrivaled incubator for those who want to create and build the sports brands of tomorrow. Notable graduates include Ty Stewart, NFL marketing director; Andy Koper, NBA senior manager of marketing and retail development; and Lauren Anderson, Adidas America senior events manager.

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