Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Windy City - Part II

Our recent trip to Chicago reminded me once again just how lucky I am are to be part of such a remarkable and giving program. I met some fantastic people from the sports industry and learned a lot from their experiences and advice they gave to us.

On the first day of our trip we had the opportunity to tour Notre Dame as well as listen to and speak with Men’s Tennis Head Coach Bob Bayliss, and Athletic Director Kevin White. It was a great feeling to be in a university with so much history.

That evening we went to see “The Color Purple.” It was exciting to experience some of the culture in Chicago during our trip, especially since I had never been to a Broadway play or seen the film. It was an excellent musical with a very talented cast and I look forward to the next time I get to see a Broadway play.

The next morning we went to the United Center to listen to some speakers from the Chicago Bulls office and get a tour of the arena. It was very interesting to hear how this franchise was able to have continued success after the Michael Jordan era and some of the strategies they use in marketing, sponsorship and ticket sales to ensure this success and continue to grow.

We had a dinner that evening with some special guests from different sectors of the sports world. I had the privilege of sitting with Beth Cunningham, Marketing Assistant for Northwestern University and David Dowd, Director of Ticket Sales for the Chicago Bulls, two of the kindest, most humble people I have met in a long time. They were happy to answer all of our questions as well as give us career advice and talk about their own experiences in the sports industry.

Another highlight of the night was getting to meet Arthur Agee (star of Hoop Dreams) and listen to him speak. We watched the film in Dr. Lapchick’s class last fall and were all very touched by all the hardships these young athletes had to endure during their life. It was wonderful to see how he was doing and the type of man he grew up to be.

On our final morning we had an exceptional panel of speakers representing different areas of the sports industry; Jonathan Jensen from Relay Worldwide, Eric Kussin, Director of Ticket Sales and Retention from the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, and Scott Paddock, Director of Sports Marketing for Gatorade. We spent much of the morning in a question and answer session, discussing topics of interest and current issues facing the sports industry.

It is hard to say exactly what my favorite part of the trip was; the entire trip was a wonderful experience and I am so fortunate to have had this opportunity. But I do have to say that one of the highlights for me was going to the Cubs game at Wrigley Field. While I am not a Cubs fan, I am a big baseball fan, so it was an incredible experience to watch a game in such a historic baseball field.

Marina Bustamante
Boca Raton, FL
DeVos Class of 08

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Windy City - Part I

I approached the DeVos Chicago trip with some skepticism primarily because I wasn’t sure what to expect or if the trip would benefit me at all. On the plane ride back from Chicago, I could not help but be appreciative of the fact that I had been granted the special opportunity to be part of such an experience.

The Chicago expedition embraced every aspect of what the DeVos Sports Business Management Program stands for. The trip gave me a practical insight into the sports business industry. Examples include the interaction with Chicago Bulls executives, the dialogue with a top representative from Gatorade, the relationships built with sports marketing agencies, and the increased understanding of the business model for college sports.

The tour also highlighted the importance of community service. This importance was evident through the guest speaker Arthur Agee from Hoop Dreams who gave me a renewed sense of selflessness, and an increased desire for community service.

Finally, the Chicago trip exposed me to my first live musical (The Color Purple) and to my first Chicago Cubs baseball game. As a result, my entertainment horizons have been expanded.

I am delighted that our leaders in the DeVos Program have the vision to understand the business and social impact of this trip on the lives of their students. Thank you again.

Boma Ekiyor
Lagos, Nigeria
DeVos Class of 08