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Beyond the Bricks: Sport Management seniors take on Atlanta, present research projects to industry giants

Monday, June 4 2018 12:00am

Bobcats travel, meet with real clients to present sports consulting projects.

Toronto, Charlotte, Chicago, San Diego . . . the list goes on. OHIO’s College of Business, takes learning beyond the doors of Copeland Hall. Those are just a few of the cities that our sport management Business Bobcats have tackled to network with industry leaders and present consulting projects. This year seniors added Atlanta to their roster.

After months of research and preparation, more than 100 seniors traveled to Atlanta to present their findings and solutions to clients including IMG College, Atlanta Hawks, PGA Tour, Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee and AECOM, partner of the AECOM Center for Sports Administration

“This was the largest class that we’ve had to date since we began taking students to present to clients,” said Sport Management Lecturer and Career Coach Anne Brackley. “The trip is designed for them to experience what it’s like to present to a real client and prepare to contribute to the operations of an organization.” 

Students split up into teams to develop solutions for a real area of improvement with each client. Group members had to conduct their own research and communicate with the client to get the information they needed to build a strong proposal.

The projects aimed to generate more revenue for clients. Topics ranged from creating exclusive tour opportunities for the new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta to attracting more millennials to purchase tickets for Atlanta Hawks games. 

“My group was actually asked to put together an economic impact study for the PGA Tour,” said Nick Sherwood, senior of Glendora, California. “We were pretty nervous because we had never done a project like this, especially for a prestigious organization like the PGA Tour. We felt the pressure to get the research right.”

When they arrived in Atlanta to present their presentations, the pressure was on. Although, most were prepared for the experience due to previous experience.

“During my sophomore year, I worked on a consulting project with Calgary Sports & Entertainment,” said Erin Hollowell, senior of Columbus, OH. “I skyped some of their staff and conducted research for them. But there’s nothing like traveling and being in a client’s territory with them, it’s more intimidating.”

During the presentations, executives and staff members posed tough questions about the group’s findings and vetted their ideas further to determine if they were realistic for their organizations. 

“It shakes you when you get in front of others during these experiences and they critique you,” said Hollowell. “I like to think that I’m a very confident presenter but with a future career in sales, those experiences will be invaluable.”  

All in all, each organization came away with a new way of thinking or an idea from the group presentations. Students offered to continue research for the organizations if their ideas were fit for implementation.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with the Ohio University Sport Management students,” said Allison Fillmore, OHIO alumna and executive director of the PGA Tour Championship. “They kept to task, asked great questions, and ultimately provided myself and our staff a great framework to utilize when selling in the Atlanta market.”

The presentations were made possible through alumni connections and friends of the college. Some alumni also provided exclusive tours of their facilities and offices for the students after their presentations. Each experience concluded with a casual Q&A where students asked their clients about their experience working in sports and for advice as they prepare for their careers. 

“These trips always present great opportunities to network. Our faculty tell us that it’s 80 percent who you know and 20 percent what you know in this industry,” said Hollowell. “Every employer that I’ve talked to in sports is really focused on the experiences that you have. Atlanta was incredibly great city. It gave us the skills and connections to succeed.”

Check out some of the photos from the 2018 Atlanta capstone trip. 

Learn more about some of the specialized experiences in the sport management program at OHIO.