SBJ/February 18-24, 2013/Opinion
How internships, like spring training, can lead to roster spot
Published February 18, 2013, Page 14
Spring training also means watching for that rookie in his first big league camp, looking to prove himself. It’s exciting to watch young talent blossom under the guidance of veteran managers, coaches and players, then getting a chance at the major league level.
The start of the baseball season parallels college students juggling plans for spring break, midterms, graduation, summer jobs and starting careers. For non-graduates, this may include preparing for summer internships. Internships are similar to “spring training invites” for emerging prospects. There are no promises, but if one performs above expectations and with maturity, there’s a good chance that a roster spot will open up somewhere down the line.
Sometimes, an employer hands off an internship responsibility to a middle manager who’s barely keeping up with his or her own workload. And sometimes, the problem is the intern who feels a sense of entitlement based on his or her pedigree and/or the glamor of working in the sports and entertainment industry.
Nonetheless, here are a few spring training tips for both employers and interns to optimize the “special invite” experience and lead to a mutually beneficial relationship.
■ Performance outweighs privilege
Brand-name colleges and/or influencers from family connections may open doors for initial sports internships. Students should take advantage of these placement connections, but with a caveat:
Results, initiative, perseverance and adaptability will be the underpinnings of their future marketability.
Hiring managers should pay close attention to how internship candidates present themselves in the interview process (e.g., cover note, or follow-up
■ Promote skill, experience and diversity
Sports business organizations continually face pressure to do more with less, as in staffing head count, marketing and travel budgets. As with rookies, it’s wise for interns to make their skill set both deep and varied to maximize their value. They never know who may be watching and what skills may be desired and/or transferable between functional areas (e.g., ticket and sponsorship sales).
■ Mentoring rewards the initiated
Seeing life through a millennial can keep “older folk” informed on how the world is and will be changing. Students are immersed in digital and social media. Similar to first-round draft picks, they are better positioned than ever before to offer employers immediate help in an area of high interest and revenue potential.
Executives should embrace the opportunity to gain knowledge from those still using a meal card. It’s an exceptional value if played right.
Every summer, students wanting to break into our industry hang their hopes on exciting internship opportunities. Though
Glenn Horine (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the executive director of Iona College’s Center for Sports and Entertainment Studies and is a business development consultant, industry career counselor/lecturer and entrepreneur.