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Schools with focus on Sports Industry

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Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 03:17
Hi I would like to know which schools have a strong focus on the sports industry specially in marketing and sponsorship side. I am not looking for sports management programs but Schools which are strong in marketing and who also attract recruiters/ place students in the sports industry.

Also, is the recruitment in the sports industry only open to US nationals and the international students are at a distinct disadvantage?

thanks a lot!
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 04:08
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I would look into UCLA Anderson as they do a good amount of sports management recruiting. I can't speak to domestic vs international recruiting though.

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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 06:02
vranjan wrote:
Hi I would like to know which schools have a strong focus on the sports industry specially in marketing and sponsorship side. I am not looking for sports management programs but Schools which are strong in marketing and who also attract recruiters/ place students in the sports industry.

Also, is the recruitment in the sports industry only open to US nationals and the international students are at a distinct disadvantage?

thanks a lot!


I don't know of any schools in particular with this focus. I'd recommend a school with a huge sports scene though, that way you can try to get some experience within their marketing program (Michigan, for instance). If you're looking to follow a career in sports marketing, find a school with a huge sports scene that has an effective marketing program and try to find out if there is any way to become part of that team while working on your MBA, whether it's an internship or even a part time (or volunteer) work. I think if you're trying to get a job in this field, experience like that would be something that would really help you.

Good luck with your search!
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2012, 03:24
thanks a lot for for replies.

So far I have shortlisted Kellogg, Wharton, Stanford, Duke and Columbia. I did not know UCLA has a big sports recruiting. I will check that out as well.

I am more interested in fortune 500's like Nike, Coca-Cola, Visa etc. but I did not find them listed as top recruiters at any school. I would like to know if these companies recruit actively at schools (and which ones)? Also what kind of roles are offered to the graduates.
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2012, 03:38
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Nike, Coca-Cola, and Visa aren't exactly/directly sports management :P

You will have better chances at these companies if you go to school locally. Nike's in Portland, OR and I think Visa's based out of SF (but obviously they probably have offices in all major cities) so you'd likely have a better chance coming from a West Coast school.

Coca-Cola is out of Atlanta so schools like Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, and Emory would be easier to get you there.

Regardless, if you're proactive with your job search while in your MBA program, you can recruit into most any firm you want to be at. People from the West Coast go to Wall Street and people from the East Coast join SF startups -- it's up to you to prioritize what you're looking for in a bschool/job and take the steps you need to to meet your goals.

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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2012, 02:10
I know Nike, Coca-Cola and Visa are not directly sports management but I want to work for very specific divisions within these companies. For example, I would like to work for Olympics Sponsorship program of Visa.

I dont know if these particular roles are offered to MBA graduates. I know Visa hires a lot of marketing people but I dont want to do any other marketing job. I want a very specific role. So is it possible to really negotiate these kind of roles coming out of a B-school or you take a related role and try to move within the organization? Because for me it would not make sense to go to a B-school if I am not able to make the transition I am looking for. I am already in the sports industry so I am only looking for change of Role.

thanks for your input :)
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2012, 03:41
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I'm not sure if anyone here can answer that for sure. If you're already in the industry and you know which teams you want to work on (which it definitely sounds like you do), you might be better off using your network to contact someone in a role you want. See what they have to say about the usefulness of an MBA in their role and if it's a degree that would make sense for you to get.

Best of luck -- those jobs sound really cool :)

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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2012, 06:04
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vranjan wrote:
I know Nike, Coca-Cola and Visa are not directly sports management but I want to work for very specific divisions within these companies. For example, I would like to work for Olympics Sponsorship program of Visa.

I dont know if these particular roles are offered to MBA graduates. I know Visa hires a lot of marketing people but I dont want to do any other marketing job. I want a very specific role. So is it possible to really negotiate these kind of roles coming out of a B-school or you take a related role and try to move within the organization? Because for me it would not make sense to go to a B-school if I am not able to make the transition I am looking for. I am already in the sports industry so I am only looking for change of Role.

thanks for your input :)

Hi there! I am in a very similar situation to yours. I want a very specific role within the companies I am targeting and they do not come to campus to recruit for it. Also many of these jobs are filled internally, which I am sure is also the case for the roles in which you're interested. While these companies may not recruit MBAs for these specific jobs, the MBA skillset is definitely recognized as being beneficial. I would target schools at which the companies you're interested recruit with a keen eye for a strong and engaged career services center. You will also need a pretty extensive alumni network because they will be the ones to get you on people's radars.

Most of all you need a really strong stomach for uncertainty. Oftentimes you almost have to create your own opportunities by filling a need that you bring to the company's attention (this takes prolonged interaction to do). You will also see the majority of your classmates secure internships and jobs much earlier than you. You have to be willing to wait it out until the March, April, maybe even May before you will know if you definitely have a job. It is a very long and stressful road and you have to really be prepared for a lot of no's.

I hope this gives you something to go on in terms of choosing schools.
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2012, 13:15
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I echo Cheeterah. You'll definitely help yourself in getting to your goal with an MBA, but you'll probably need to do more recruiting on your own and not through the normal channels. I'm in the same boat myself, but different industry.

And as Aerien suggested, if you have any industry contacts who either have the job that you want or at least work in your target companies, I would consult with them and explain your situation and ask what you can do to get the job you want.

As an anecdote, I've heard that Nike doesn't regularly recruit at any schools, except for Stanford, but that's because Phil Knight went there. I've also heard that Nike tends to promote from within, making it hard to get your foot in the door. However, someone told me that Nike has started to recruit a little for certain departments at the encouragement of alums of business schools who work there.

Finally, my other piece of advice is to not only look at industry connections to sports marketing at the school level, but also at the professor level. For example, at Tuck, Professor Kevin Keller (a superstar in marketing) has extensive personal connections with Phil Knight from their time together at Stanford. So you might want to check out professors' CVs and see what kind of consulting work they've done outside of their teaching and research activities.
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 21 Nov 2012, 09:52
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Ward2012 wrote:
I echo Cheeterah. You'll definitely help yourself in getting to your goal with an MBA, but you'll probably need to do more recruiting on your own and not through the normal channels. I'm in the same boat myself, but different industry.

And as Aerien suggested, if you have any industry contacts who either have the job that you want or at least work in your target companies, I would consult with them and explain your situation and ask what you can do to get the job you want.

As an anecdote, I've heard that Nike doesn't regularly recruit at any schools, except for Stanford, but that's because Phil Knight went there. I've also heard that Nike tends to promote from within, making it hard to get your foot in the door. However, someone told me that Nike has started to recruit a little for certain departments at the encouragement of alums of business schools who work there.

Finally, my other piece of advice is to not only look at industry connections to sports marketing at the school level, but also at the professor level. For example, at Tuck, Professor Kevin Keller (a superstar in marketing) has extensive personal connections with Phil Knight from their time together at Stanford. So you might want to check out professors' CVs and see what kind of consulting work they've done outside of their teaching and research activities.


I've been meaning to participate in this discussion, but b-school keeps getting in the way. Now that I'm on Thanksgiving break, I have some time to share my thoughts.

The sports marketing career within a non-sports organization is much easier to achieve than any particular career within a sports firm. On the one hand, Nike, Coke, Pepsi, American Express and Citi among others all recruit on campus at Duke. On the other hand, based on my experience, sports organizations do not recruit on any campus for the following reasons.

1. Their hiring process is not cyclical like those of most other traditional industries. Therefore, there is no guarantee that they will have any spots that they need to fill after spring.

2. Although they are slowly warming up to the idea of recruiting MBA's for management roles, they get way too much interest from people (including undergrads and professionals) who are willing to work for free. And so, they do not necessarily feel that they have to hire MBA's, who require high salaries, for non-executive roles. Most of the MBA graduates whom they hire for the top positions typically spend time in other industries before moving over to sports.

With that said, it is not impossible to penetrate the industry immediately after b-school. In order to do this though, you need to have the following things.

1. NETWORK - You are almost screwed if you do not make the right connections. Research the schools and find out if any professors, athletic department employees, alumni, clubs or current students have any solid connections in the industry. At Duke, I have tried to leverage all the connections that I have discovered, and this strategy has helped me get a huge number of informational interviews done.

You should also work with the sports business club so that you are aware of all the conferences that occur throughout the year. Duke alone has had three different sports conferences/symposiums, where executives from different leagues, franchises, sports agencies and sports marketing departments of top firms have attended. There are also the annual Ivy Sports Symposium, which is hosted by one of the Ivy League schools, the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and Sports Industry Networking and Career Conference among others, from which some MBA's get their internship offers.

2. Passion for sports business (not just sports)

The sports industry is a business before anything else. You cannot simply be a fan of sports to get a job. They are looking for people who can help them make more money, not people who would call in sick to watch afternoon games.

3. Patience and persistence

Recruiting for sports is tough. You will hear your classmates talk about all of their offers by February. At this time of the year, you will be lucky to have interviewed for one or two internship opportunities. For most of the year, you will have no idea if and when you will get an offer. And so, you have to be proactive and try creating opportunities for yourself. Most of those who have succeeded had to make a case and pitch their ideas to various sports firms just to convince these organizations that they need interns.

4. Willingness to work for a lower salary

High supply of potential employees and low demand for applicants so you get the point...

My advice is that you should pick a school that has connections in the industry; a club that can provide you with the support system as you go through this grueling process; and alumni or current students who have succeeded so you could ask them to mentor you. I cannot speak for the other schools, but my experience at Duke has been great as they have all three components. In case this helps, I have also come across a lot of HBS, Sloan, Kellogg, CBS, Ross, Anderson and McDonough alumni or current students who are already in or interested in the industry.

Good luck!
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 28 Nov 2012, 05:55
Sorry for this delayed response. Just came back from a crazy work trip to a crazy part of the world.

I appreciate all your responses. A lot of information to get started with. . I have tried contacting a few students/ alumni with specific queries but sometimes I do not get back the response. I know that the students are busy with hectic school life and do not always have the time to respond back. So what is the best way to contact current students / alumni ?

Another things: do these companies try to recruit locally i.e. Pepsi more from the North East and Coca-Cola more from Georgia? So would targeting specific schools based on geography be of any significant advantage?

thanks again for all the help.

best,
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 29 Nov 2012, 07:16
vranjan wrote:
Another things: do these companies try to recruit locally i.e. Pepsi more from the North East and Coca-Cola more from Georgia? So would targeting specific schools based on geography be of any significant advantage?

thanks again for all the help.

best,
V.

This is really going to depend on a combination of the company and the school. Most companies have a target school list. The schools on this list are usually a combination of those in the region and national schools with strong programs in the functional areas for which they are recruiting. It would be really difficult to choose a school solely based on which companies are in its region. Some of your targets companies will be and others won't. I will say that if you go to a top school even if a company doesn't specifically recruit there you can often use your school's alumni network to get on the company's radar.
Regardless, for what you want to do on campus recruiting will probably only be 25-30% of your job search, max. No matter where you go you will have to seek out your own opportunities. It does help to go to a school with a strong brand, network, and career services center.
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2012, 01:25
It seems that most of these companies recruit from top 15 schools and an MBA would definitely help get a foot in the door.

My only concern is regarding visa sponsorship. Do CPG companies (Coke, P&G, Nike) hire international students and sponsor H1Bs ? From what I have read on the forum it seems that most of these companies do not hire international students. Maybe someone could give me a more clearer answer.

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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2012, 00:51
Just to deviate slightly from the OP.

Do top-5 consulting firms (read MBB/booz/AT etc.) also have a sports practice? I know Delloite has a small team called 'Sports Business Group' in UK. Being a fan of the premier league and test cricket, I absolutely love the work they do :)
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2012, 06:33
jumsumtak wrote:
Just to deviate slightly from the OP.

Do top-5 consulting firms (read MBB/booz/AT etc.) also have a sports practice? I know Delloite has a small team called 'Sports Business Group' in UK. Being a fan of the premier league and test cricket, I absolutely love the work they do :)

Check out each of their websites. They list all of their practice areas. If there isn't one dedicated solely to sports/athletics then it is likely that those cases are folded into the practices based on subject. For example, the NBA goes to Bain for help with an operations issue. The operations practice handles it.

That's my assumption, so don't take it as gospel. As I said before, start with each company's website and go from there.
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Re: Schools with focus on Sports Industry   [#permalink] 04 Dec 2012, 06:33
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