A handful of Drexel students gathered in Nesbitt Hall the morning of Feb. 4 to take part in a unique sales-oriented workshop hosted by the Drexel Sports Management program. Led by Sales Huddle principal Sam Caucci, the workshop offered real-world tactics employed by sales force professionals in the sports industry as well as advice on how Drexel students can improve their prospects of getting involved in the sports industry.
“At Sales Huddle, we interview over 150 students a year for our competitive internship programs,” Caucci said. “I can speak for both myself and many other industry executives [in charge of hiring] when I say that I believe a major factor that is overlooked by most students when they walk in the door for an interview is the fact that many other people are also interviewing for the same job. They forget to actually prepare.
“Preparation for an interview includes not only researching the background of the organization and the person conducting the interview, but also preparing yourself mentally [and rehearsing] answers to common questions that you know you will receive in the interview,” Caucci continued.
With the recent economic climate putting an increased pressure on recent graduates to find gainful employment soon after graduation, the sports industry presents a viable option for employment. Profits in excess of $400 billion last year make the sports industry a competitive field that demands first-time job seekers have a little something extra.
“The key for students is getting involved as soon as possible,” J.P. Lutz said. “Finding internship or volunteer opportunities is critical for their long-term success. I believe that Drexel Sports Management students do have an advantage over other programs because of the great sports city they live in; Philadelphia has so many resources in the professional and collegiate areas of sport.
”Additionally, the co-op program is attractive for sports teams because of the six-month commitment that students can make to their organization.”
Lutz, who is a 12-year veteran of the Eagles football organization and now adjunct professor in Drexel’s Sports Management program, stressed the importance of having a sales philosophy. In a broader sense, this need for a guiding philosophy is also an important aspect for a school to have.
“Drexel Sport Management’s slogan is ‘Take the Field,’” Lutz continued. “I really think the program embodies that philosophy. It provides students the knowledge base needed for this industry but also works with industry leaders to create opportunities for students to get involved. Programs like the Leadership Academy, co-op, and Speaker Series really differentiate Drexel and their students as a whole.”
This exposure of Drexel students to real world professionals earlier on in their education relative to their counterparts at other colleges is an ongoing theme within the Drexel Sports Management program, a point that auxiliary assistant professor Brett Burchette was able to expand on.
“Drexel Sport Management puts a high priority in bringing industry leaders into the classroom and to campus to share their expertise and provide networking opportunities,” Burchette said. “Each term we feature a ‘Sport Management Speaker Series Event,’ which is free and open to the Drexel Community. In the fall, we featured Michael Sheehey, Senior Vice President at NBCU/Comcast Sports Group discussing the business and legal issues in sport television content.
“On March first, the Sport Management Student Union will be hosting a discussion with Andrew Brandt from 6-7 p.m. in [Room 112 of the] Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building,” Burchette continued. “Mr. Brandt is a former agent, NFL front office executive with the Green Bay Packers, consultant to the Philadelphia Eagles, and is President of NationalFootballpost.com. This spring, we are excited to feature Drexel Alum, Tom Murphy (LeBow ’86), Senior VP of Affiliate, International, Digital Media, Finance at ESPN to speak on the business of ESPN.”
And with Caucci’s closing comments to those gathered for the Feb. 4 workshop focusing on the importance of taking responsibility and being proactive, a decision to enroll in a dynamic program like Drexel’s Sports Management is an important first step.
Quizzed about why Sports Huddle had selected Drexel as a host for the workshop, Caucci added, “When holding these events, in primarily major cities, we look for a partner with strong core values and a similar goal as our own: to better prepare future sports industry professionals. With turnover in the sports industry exceeding 90 percent, there is a greater need for institutions and organizations to better prepare professionals that are entering the sports industry. The Sales Huddle is focused on filling that gap.”
Burchette emphasized this point as well.
“I think Drexel Sport Management does an excellent job of preparing our students for a career in the sport industry,” he said. “I believe when you look at our sports business curriculum, practitioner faculty and access to numerous industry experts and experiential learning opportunities that our program can offer, we are definitely a leader nationally in the field of Sport Management.”