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Volume 21 No. 1
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Spotlight: Jordan Solomon, NBA

Solomon’s path leads from McKinsey to NBA

From the excitement of working his first job at Fenway Park to the disappointment of a missed opportunity out of college, Jordan Solomon managed to keep a level head and now brings an outside perspective to his new role as vice president of team marketing and business operations for the NBA. Solomon spoke with staff writer Bryan Ives.

Age: 35
New title: Vice president of team marketing and business operations, NBA
Previous title: Associate principal, McKinsey & Co.
First job: Sold Coca-Cola in the bleachers at Fenway Park
College education: Undergraduate degree, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2000; MBA, Dartmouth College, 2006; MPA, Harvard University, 2006.
Resides: Manhattan. Two boys, 5 and 3 years old
Grew up: Marblehead, Mass.
Executives most admired: Warren Buffett and Greg Becker, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Bank
Brand most admired: “Disney. I think the way they’re able to resonate with both young and old is extremely compelling.”
Favorite vacation spot: Martha’s Vineyard
Last book read: “Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem,” by Mac Barnett. Read it with his sons. “It’s an awesome kids book.”
Last movie seen: “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
Favorite movie: “Good Will Hunting”
Favorite band: U2

What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
The NBA is a fabulously run organization, as are all of our teams, so identifying the most impactful ways to apply data and analytics to help grow our businesses while maintaining a deep appreciation for what is already working.

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
I left what was a fun and successful career in Silicon Valley to go back to graduate school and try something different.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
At McKinsey I worked closely with a client to increase the productivity in their sales force by combining art and science. So we used data to identify what the best sellers were doing and then developed and rolled out a training program to 15,000 salespeople.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
I’d probably say it’s not playing point guard in the NBA. That would be my first answer, but my other would be out of college I interviewed and did not get what I thought was my dream job working at Disney.

What career advice do you have for people wanting to get into the sports industry?
Develop a set of skills and perspectives from outside of sports that can help the sports industry to innovate. So whether that is through analytics, customer experience, technology, marketing — but bring a new set of best practices and insights.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
I think the impact of technology on the in-game experience, especially virtual reality technologies like Oculus, could dramatically change the value proposition of coming to an arena or stadium.

What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
As the father of two young boys I’d like to see more games played at times when my boys can attend them and watch them live.