The Sports Career Consulting Blog has a great guest post up about how to choose a sport management program for one’s undergraduate studies. Dr. Heather Lawrence, an assistant professor of sport management at Ohio University and the brains behind the Everything College Sports Blog, gave five questions to ask before selecting a program:
1. Does the faculty have industry experience as well as academic credentials?
2. What classes are included in the curriculum?
3. Does the college or university provide ways to get experience working in sport?
4. How do I know if the program is accredited?
5. What kind of jobs are program graduates getting?
Her conclusion to the guest blog post really resonated with me, which is why I’m including it below, but please do go read her entire post if you’re considering a SM program in college.
In conclusion, these are a few key areas in which prospective students should ask questions to potential colleges and universities in sport management. Perhaps more important than the responses to ANY of the above questions is the willingness of the student to do what it takes to be successful. Employers want to hire graduates who have been completely immersed in the sport world, taken advantage of volunteer opportunities, understand the business of sport (and are not just a fan), stood out among their peers in college, and are committed to being in the sport industry for the long haul. So, the choice of college is important but the main responsibility is on the student to take advantage of whatever opportunities arise (academic and non-academic) to prepare for working in this incredibly exciting yet competitive field.
Some students in my SM classes at the University of Michigan will say the aspire to be the GM of the New York Knicks or the PR Director for the Dallas Cowboys. Dreams are great and I’m not the person to say that can’t happen, but if you have zero experience by the end of your sophomore year in college and just have the SM degree to your name, you better start booking it over the next couple years or it just isn’t going to happen. The demand for these positions is intense and you’ll need every out-of-class work experience you can get to boost your resume. I know that my SM and Communication Studies degrees will likely not be the reason why I get a job, but it will show that I have not only gained valuable experience in the industry but have studied the world of sports business as well.