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OHIO’s sports administration alumni open doors for the next generation of students

Friday, April 15 2016 12:00am

27 MSA students traveled to New York to pitch research projects to industry professionals and alumni

Ohio University alumni bleed green and white when it comes to athletics–both on and off campus. The Master’s of Sports Administration capstone project proved just how strong this alumni network is when students met up with former Bobcats during their recent trip to New York City.

“My goal for the capstone trip is to provide our students with high level consulting experience with a real life, blue chip client,” said Dr. Norm O’Reilly, professor of the MSA capstone course and chair of the Department of Sports Administration. “Our students undertake major projects, put in hundreds of hours of work, and present their findings to the client, who they’ve worked with right up until the presentation.”

This semester, O’Reilly challenged his students to position themselves as consultants for several of New York City’s well-known sports-related companies including: Genesco Sports Enterprise, Google, Major League Soccer, NBC Sports/Universal, National Football League, National Hockey League, New York Giants, New York Jets, Roc Nation, and the Women’s Sports Foundation.

The students had the unique opportunity to work with these companies partly because many of the executives were once in the students’ shoes at Ohio University.

“It was a privilege to get feedback from Ohio University MSA alumni. We worked hard all semester to present our best work. I was exhausted after day one, but it was worth every minute,” said Travis Misner, Ohio University MBA (’15) and MSA (’16) dual degree student.

Misner worked with his team to develop an initiative for Google to livestream sporting events. Preparing a proposal for Jon Kaplan (’99) required Misner and his team to stay current on the latest industry trends. This made the project as realistic as it could get.

"At any minute we could find out that a social media platform, such as Twitter or Facebook, purchased the rights to an NFL stream, and we'd have to adjust our project real-time. Having to work under real life circumstances like that during what some call a 'digital revolution' for our capstone project was invaluable," said Misner.

The five-day trip concluded with a networking event at the New York Athletic Club. Nearly 100 alumni and students were in attendance, along with three renowned speakers: Managing Director for Goldman Sachs Gregory Cary, Executive Vice President for the NBA Emilio Collins (’96) and Chief Marketing Officer for the NHL Brian Jennings.

“Our alumni are so impressive. They are leaders in their respective fields, committed to supporting the College of Business and dedicated to helping other Bobcats be successful in New York City,” said Hugh Sherman, dean of the College of Business.

The College of Business MSA graduates are recognized as leaders in the global sports industry. More importantly, they are recognized as leaders who open doors for the next generation of students.

“The loyalty of the sports administration alumni along with classroom opportunities, such as the capstone project, have led to recommendation letters, job opportunities, professional mentors and friendships,” said O’Reilly.

This bond between students and alumni was clear right up until the end of the week.

“It was fun to feel the energy in the room and the excitement about our College and University. Many students and alumni continued to talk in the hallway for at least an hour after the official event room was closed,” said Dean Sherman. He continued, “These graduates are our future and the future is bright!”