“Huh? Sport business management? What’s that? What can you do with that?”
Since the fall of 2007 (when I first decided I wanted to pursue my Sport Business Management MBA) that has always been the response I have gotten when I tried to explain to friends and family “what I wanted to be when I grew up”. After two years of fielding that question while doing everything necessary to make that goal a reality – it is almost a surreal feeling that I am about to start my fourth week of classes in the DeVos Program.
These first four weeks have been a bit of a blur with so much going on and so many opportunities presenting themselves – at times it’s hard for me to sort out everything that I have already gotten to experience in just a short month. I only bring this up because I know that if time is flying for me, chances are it’s flying for you as well.
For many of you, you’re in the homestretch – you are studying up to take your GMAT, getting your resume together, and racking your brains about this admission essay; meanwhile you are trying to take advantage of every academic and professional opportunity that presents itself because you have been doing for some time exactly what I had to do.
You’re answering that question – you are trying to explain to people your passion and why you want to get into this program so badly. For some of you, you can straight up tell your parents that you one day want to be the President of the San Diego Chargers, the VP of Marketing for the PGA, the Athletic Director for USC, or the Marketing Director for Nike. Others of you are not sure exactly what you want to do but you know one thing – that you love sports, that you want to work in this industry, and [I hope] that you want to make a positive difference along the way.
In my case, a lot of my friends and family could not understand, and many of them, still do not understand exactly what I am studying or what my goals are – but it’s okay; because they see my passion for it and they support me in pursuing something that I absolutely love. My family does not necessarily like the fact that I am so far away – that I moved from rural Missouri to Orlando, Florida. Yet, they know that not only do I want to work in sports but I want to promote diversity and bring about social change. They understand that if these truly are my goals then the only program for me is the one here at the University of Central Florida.
I have been asked the questions, I am still being asked the questions, and sometimes it is hard to come up with an answer. I have been exactly where you are right now and I am telling you what my best of friends told me throughout this process – stay the course. If you are truly passionate about this program and what this program stands for then this is the place for you and I am excited for you to open this next chapter in your life.
I know what it is like for your friends and family to not understand the degree you are pursuing or why you worked long hours for little to no money in that summer sports internship but I am only four weeks in and I can tell you – it’s totally worth it. The reason that I know that it’s worth it; the reason that I have been able to make this transition; and the reason that I know that you can succeed in this program is because I know that when you choose to come to DeVos, you will be blessed with just as awesome as a class as I have already been.
When you choose DeVos you are not just choosing “another graduate program”, you are choosing something more than that – you are choosing to become a part of this family. I thought that when I first got down here that I was going to be intimidated because I was going to be surrounded by 28 other students in my class, many of whom got higher test scores than I did, or had better grades, or had more sport experience. I was a bit nervous because my undergraduate degrees were not business at all but when I got down here I realized that none of that really mattered – I had been chosen to be a part of the DeVos Class of 2011 and each and every one of us had been chosen for a specific reason.
You would think that the mindset among such a group of people would be one of competition – trying to get the best of the best jobs and opportunities. But the truth is we are one class, one team, and one family – we are all working together because we all have similar goals and the truth is – we need each other to accomplish whatever our individual goals may be.
I have only been around this group for a little over a month and I already know that I can go up to any one of my 28 classmates with a need and they are going to help me out. I know that they support my goals and dreams in the same way that I support theirs and the best part – I have a group of friends who doesn’t ask me, “sport business management? What’s that? What can you do with that?”; because they are along for the same exact ride that I am on.
It is amazing to be part of such a small close-knit group. It is incredible to know that I have that kind of support. And it is incredible to know that our class has three directors who will give us a more complete education about the sports industry than can be found anywhere else. We will learn about the business, marketing, and trends of the sports industry, but unlike other programs, we get the chance to learn about how to foster diversity and the ethics needed to succeed in the sports industry. These are lessons that are just as, if not more important, then the business aspects of the industry – and the only place that will teach you these lessons and give you such a holistic education is the DeVos program here at UCF.
I know that you are reading this blog because you have at least thought that this might be the right program for you. You are reading this because you want to be a part of the DeVos family. You have been working so hard – you did that internship, you are taking your GMAT, you worked hard to get the right grades, and I know at some point you have had to answer that question. You have had to explain to others why you are pursuing this degree and what exactly that degree is.
What is sports business management? Generally speaking, it is the application of business principles and practices to the sports industry. What can you do with it? Almost anything you want. You can have the opportunity to get that job you have always dreamed of having. You can promote diversity in a sports setting. You can bring about positive social change. Why DeVos? Because we’re more than a program, we’re a family. We’re a family that is dedicated to the ethics and diversity of sport. We’re a family that cares just as much about your professional goals as you do. We’re the family and we’re the program that can enable you to be the change. And Florida’s a pretty great place to live as well. :)
I know you’ve been working hard and I know you want to be apart of this program and trust me, your application due date, your interview, and your first week of classes will be here before you know it. Don't quit now - because trust me, everything that you are doing now and going through - it is absolutely worth it.
Keep up the hard work!