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Volume 22 No. 19
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We asked the Forty Under 40: What advice would you give to students who are hoping to work in the sports industry?

Christopher Benyarko

Leverage every opportunity to learn as much as you can about the sports industry.

 

Daniel Cohen

It is all about the people you work with and how much hustle you put in.

 

Gideon Cohen

Listen more, talk less.

 

Russ D’Souza

There are so many angles to get into the industry now that didn’t exist before. Technology is the disruptive force within sports. Many companies — from two-person startups to the tech giants — are shaping how the industry evolves. I’m 100 percent biased, but that’s where I’d advise any student to start. Being an outsider is sometimes the best way to have an impact.

 

Camilo Durana

Take a step back. The best path forward may not be the obvious one.

 

David Foster

Be patient and try and figure out as best you can what type of work you want to do in the sports industry. Once you have determined the type of work you do, be willing to take a non-sports industry job in that field in order to gain experience until the right position in the sports industry opens.

 

Lloyd Frischer

Network as best you can by casting a wide net. Be persistent, don’t take no for an answer, and hope you get a little lucky. 

 

Libby Geist

Take the internship or the odd job, say yes to the grunt work, stay late and get in the door. You’ll find what you love (and don’t love) with each job and can steer yourself along the way. 

 

Michael Goldstein

Work hard, build relationships, and be flexible about what and where you start working.

 

Al Guido

Be relentless!

 

Amanda Herald

Build a specific skill set outside of sports first, then transition in.

 

Broderick Hicks

There are so many different paths into this industry. I try to encourage them to find what they are good at and knock on every door until you get a chance.

 

Bill Hudock

Keep on truckin’. You won’t get your breaks without a lot of effort and willing to be flexible. So you need to get in somewhere and work hard.

 

Martin Jarmond

Work hard and do the things that others are not willing to do to set yourself apart.

 

Shelby Jordan

Start in your backyard with your athletic department and when you do, be humble.

 

Stephanie Joukoff

There are many ways to have a career in sports. Focus on building transferable skills, gaining diverse experience and doing something you love. 

 

Tucker Kain

Find the area of the business that you are most passionate about. Being a sports fan is not enough. Identify an area of focus and figure out how you can impact that piece of the business.

 

Matt Kalish

Learn analytics or something quantitative you can apply to sports. Just being a big sports fan won’t land you a spot in the space. So get a technology background or analytics background.

 

Brian Kantarian

Don’t pigeonhole yourself out of the gate, focus on finding a reputable company that has the infrastructure to properly train you in the field you want to pursue — finance, marketing, etc.  It’s always easier to narrow focus as opposed to widen as you advance in your career.

 

Tim Katz

In addition to loving sports, figure out what part of the business excites you and learn everything you can about it.

 

Christopher Lee

Cast a wide net and take an opportunity in golf, even if you want to work in baseball. Very few in sports start and end at the same place. Once you get in the door, it’s about a willingness to learn and work hard, and the work ethic is a lost art in many cases. 

 

Zach Leonsis

Be prepared to work 9 a.m. to midnight. Weekends too. And say yes to new responsibilities even if they’re not always what you were originally looking for. New experiences and putting yourself in unfamiliar territory are the best experiences.

 

Devi Mahadevia

Gaining experience in the broader ecosystem of sports, media and technology — or even the startup world — helps differentiate skill sets and allows for a deeper understanding of various business models and industry factors that influence sports. 

 

Will McIntosh

Find a way in and make sure you capitalize on whatever opportunity is afforded to you. Look for opportunities to come in and potentially support an executive inside of a company (learn a lot) and/or don’t be afraid to try and get a job that may not be your specific passion.

 

Chad Menefee

Reach out to as many people as you can and don’t be afraid to start at the bottom. If you show the passion, someone will give you the opportunity. I’ve never had a job in this industry that came through an application.

 

Nate Nanzer

Be entrepreneurial. There is a lot of opportunity that’s waiting for someone to grab it. 

 

Peter Nelson

Rejection can be your friend — just don’t make it your best friend.

 

Ashley Page

Focus on honing your professional skills and building relationships and BE PATIENT. Sports jobs are highly coveted and sought after and are often given to those who spend a good deal of time preparing to be the right person in the right place at the right time.

 

Jake Reynolds

Be willing to do anything and everything to learn and always take a job based on the people you will be working for.

 

Whalen Rozelle

Be prepared to sacrifice and work incredibly hard, but the payoffs in both intrinsic motivation and personal satisfaction are worth it.

 

Patrick Ryan

There is no such thing as the “perfect” first job in sports. They all have their ups and downs. So the key is to just get started and then immediately get your hands dirty. Understand that there are many paths to success, but that being said, the first one in the office and/or the last one to leave never goes out of style.

 

Frank Saviano

For law students hoping to work in “sports law,” seek out the field within the law that interests you first, become well trained in that field and then apply that expertise to the sports industry.

 

Rob Schneider

Keep your sense of humor. 

 

Daniel Sillman

I would advise that before entering the sports industry to build a skill set that’s transferable to the sports and entertainment industry. Also, be curious. The sports industry can always use people that will challenge the status quo and be creative.

 

Sara Slane

In any industry, be prepared for twists and turns. That time that you don’t get what you think you want, you may end up with something better. You just never know.

 

Joe Smith

If you focus on being authentic, building and fostering relationships, thinking strategically and doing the right thing, the right results will follow.

 

Fabian Stechel

Work hard; be genuine, patient and curious; believe in yourself and have fun.

 

Eric Sudol

When I worked at the Memphis Grizzlies and Andy Dolich was our president, he gave me a basketball when I went to work for the Cowboys that said, “The harder you try to play it safe, the more likely you are to fail.”

 

Morgan Sword

Be really specific about which job in sports you want to do.

 

Keli Zinn

Attach yourself to someone who is willing and able to give you an opportunity and then do everything you can to make that person’s life easier.