Author: Alex Rubinfeld

Interning with Asia League Basketball

Having the opportunity to work internationally is not unheard of when pursuing a degree in sport and this summer, three Sport Management students gained experience working abroad with Asia League, a start-up basketball company tasked with organizing some of Asia’s elite basketball clubs.  

Ivy Kim during her summer internship in Hong Kong with the Asia Basketball League
Photo credit: Ivy Kim

Undergraduates Dike Wei and Ivy Kim, along with graduate student Enbo Liu, each having roots in various parts of China, (Dike with Guangdong, Ivy with Taiwan, and Enbo with Xi’an) share their experiences as they branched out from their lifestyle in Connecticut to gain professional experience with sport in China.  

Despite interning for the same organization, Wei and Liu worked in Hangzhou while Kim worked at the league’s headquarters in Hong Kong. Although each of them recognized a strong and unique culture within Asia League, many of their tasks and responsibilities differed from their previous experiences working in sport.

Kim, who has worked with UConn's Women's Basketball for three years noted, 

“I remember our first game venue visit, which was only a month away from the tournament. I was surprised by the limited resources we were given and how much we had to do, to literally setup and brand the venue for the tournament, from scratch.”

Throughout the summer, the students worked with the event, facility and basketball operations side of the league with tasks that included setting up, facilitating, and managing events.  They also assisted in the production of the Summer Super 8 event in Macau, China. Macau, also known as the ‘Las Vegas of the East’ for its hub of gambling and entertainment, brought Wei, Kim, and Liu together for what they considered their favorite and most beneficial week of their internship.  

Not only was the Summer Super 8 event a memorable experience for them, seeing the organizational culture within each of their work spaces contributed to their deeper understanding of how the event came to fruition.  The organization was founded by American native, Matt Beyer, who was a former sports agent from Wisconsin. His influence and knowledge in the Chinese socioeconomic environment led to the creation of Asia League’s inaugural season last year.  Beyer combines American and Chinese cultures which contributes to the league’s success and development. Wei describes this experience as “a feeling like we were building the culture ourselves” with mention to a ‘laid back’ environment that allowed the interns to feel like they had a big impact on the organization.

Their experiences were not limited to the workplace, rather intrinsically allowed them to travel to various places abroad.  Macau was a great point of discussion as it featured an unforgettable opportunity to hang out with some of China’s premiere basketball players. For Kim, this experience was the perfect way to get closer to her coworkers and fellow interns, stating,

“Our time in Macau really brought everyone together, despite the long hours, everyone’s dedication inspired us to reach the daily goal, together.”

- Ivy Kim

west-lake-hangzhou-china-For Wei and Liu, one of their favorite places in Hangzhou was West Lake, an area known for its rich history and unique relics.  It is here that Liu was drawn to the Chinese garden landscape that reminded him of the famous French painter, Monet, expressing, “If Monet had lived in the West Lake for a month, I believe he could have created [even] more extraordinary masterpieces.” Indulging in West Lake’s art and historical culture is just another example of the benefits to obtaining an internship abroad.  UConn’s Sport Management program encourages students to maximize their internship experiences both professionally and culturally.

Sport is powerful and allows for people with varying differences to unite over a common interest.  This summer, our interns used their athletic interests to drive past some language barriers within the league.  Kim admitted that her unfamiliarity with Cantanese served as an obstacle when communicating with clients, suppliers, and even some of China’s professional basketball players, but she was still able to adapt and work through this challenge.  Various languages were utilized throughout the organization, but English was the main method of communication due to its heavy influence by the NBA Summer League. Despite the league’s language barriers, basketball serves as the universal language and is what drives their goals of increasing its marketing presence in Asia.

When you combine a sport management background, the ability to speak more than one language, and exuding confidence built off experiences like this, Sport Management students are bound for success. Asia League is only one example of where sport can lead you but this year our students returned with immense growth, both personally and professionally.


Asia League is currently looking for summer 2019 interns.  Please review this internship description if you're interested in applying.

Sport Management’s 5th Annual Career Night in Sport

Jennie McGarry, Jamelle Elliot, Danielle DeRosa, Laura Burton
Pictured from left to right: Dr. Jennifer McGarry, keynote speaker Jamelle Elliot, Danielle DeRosa and Dr. Laura Burton, October 2018

The saying goes, “it’s all about who you know” and this fall, UConn’s Sport Management Program successfully facilitated an incredible night of networking with sport professionals, at their annual Career Night in Sport Event, for its fifth year.

Although the idea of networking comes hand-in-hand with any profession, the event strategically hosted 22 sport management program alumni including current graduate students, who are now working in the field as sport professionals. Through various breakout sessions in addition to the keynote speaker, alumna Jamelle Elliott, the event focused on diversifying the networking experience by exposing its students to recent graduates and current graduate students in the Sport Management program.

This year featured a new approach which included six break-out forums, in the following areas:

  • Broadcasting and Journalism
  • Finding a Career in Sport
  • Graduation to Graduate School
  • Navigating the Field
  • Sport in Education and Community
  • Women in Sport

Students were invited to participate in two forums that appealed to their professional interests. Allowing students to choose these sessions exposed them to working professionals who shared real life experiences, their roadblocks and lessons, while simultaneously connecting them with local alumni as a means to hone in on their networking skills.

Department of Educational Leadership’s Program Specialist, Danielle DeRosa alluded to these changes and how these forums made the night’s more intimate and informative.

“This year we decided to reformat the event and change the structure to reflect one that was used a few years back. This allowed students and alumni to interact with each other in smaller groups that more directly aligned expertise and interests. In looking at the event feedback, it seems like both students and alumni really enjoyed it!”

The event also included valuable lessons shared by Jamelle Elliot, UConn’s newly appointed Associate Athletic Director. Elliot spoke about the ups and downs that relate to sport stating,

“A career in sport is never guaranteed, but with a combination of hard work, dedication, and proper goal setting, you will get to where you want to be.”

It is events like these that help UConn’s students realize their true potential and further prepare them for a competitive industry. The program continues to strive to provide opportunities like this throughout the year and appreciates everyone who contributed in making this a successful event.

Please visit the Neag School of Education's Facebook page for photos from the event.