A Student Perspective: Crucial Takeaway’s from the UConn Sport Business Conference
The University of Connecticut Sport Business Conference was held on Saturday, Jan. 28 and was organized by students in the Sport Management program. The conference welcomed students from schools throughout New England and speakers from organizations including ESPN, New York Mets, Major League Baseball, FOX Sports and many more. The event offered a unique opportunity for students to listen to keynote speakers and panels, network with professionals in the sport industry and participate in workshops with other students focused on specific aspects of the business.
Network, network, network! Approaching professionals in the sport industry tends to be somewhat intimidating and nerve-wracking, especially as a student who one day hopes to pursue a career in their field of expertise. Despite the difficulties of doing so, it is important to remember that starting a conversation offers significant potential and has the ability to form the foundation for a beneficial professional relationship. In events like the Sport Business Conference, it is vital that students take advantage of the minimal time they have with these mentors. Don’t be afraid to take a chance – no potential connections can be made if there is no initial conversation.
Don’t compete, collaborate. At the conference, students were given the opportunity to learn about the importance of working as a group, and coming together with people who may be unfamiliar, to achieve a goal. Students at the conference participated in workshops focused on sales, event planning, communications and many others, to create proposals and presentations that the mentors would eventually evaluate and critique. Although it is tempting to view other students as competitors for job and internship opportunities, it is vital to remember that networking with students with similar interests and goals can be as valuable as doing so with professionals.
Follow up. It is always beneficial to thank people for taking the time to talk with you by sending a quick email about how much you valued their words and insight. The mentors and professionals in the sport industry are the people that you can learn the most from, so it is worth a shot to reach out and ask questions about the path that they took to lead them to wear they are now. Remember, your path may be very similar to theirs, so any advice or knowledge they can give you about their own experience is something of value that has great potential to help you along the way.