Last Wednesday, I took a trip with some of my fellow sport business students to New York City for a long, but exciting day.
Aside from being able to take in all of the amazingness NYC has to offer, we were all able to learn from professionals about how to become successful.
If you are about to stop reading this because you’re not a sport business major — don’t. The advice and expertise gained on this trip can apply for any student, any major or anyone who just wants to hear some good tips.
After landing at LaGuardia Airport in New York, we hopped in some cabs and headed over to Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. We were greeted by Katie Mahon, the director of ticket sales. She took us on a tour around the ballpark where she explained some of the field’s high selling points. During our tour, we noticed that every TV in the park had “NY Mets welcome Mount Union students” on their screens. Talk about a warm welcome! Mahon wrapped up our tour and took us to one of the park’s suites where there was a beautiful breakfast waiting for us including fresh fruit, bagels, pastries and, of course, a lot of coffee.
It was in the suite that we met with Leigh Castrogine, the vice president of ticket sales and services. Castrogine and Mahon had some other employees from their departments there to give us advice on how they all got to be where they are today.
While Mount Union is always pounding the importance of internships and experience into our heads, it is always nice to hear it coming from professionals in the businesses we would like to get in. They could not stress enough that it was so important to fill our resumes with experience. Coming in at a close second, the Mets preach that networking is a huge factor to being successful. This goes along with the cliche; it is all about who you know.
Some other advice the Mets gave us was the importance of learning. They said to read books, talk to people and find out how other industries work. No matter what your career path, you can learn from other industries.
The speakers we heard from at Citi Field were all about passion. They said that once you lose your inner passion, you are on the wrong track. You have to work hard and prove yourself all while finding and following your passion. These are all very important tips on how to make yourself stand out.
“If you want something, no one is going to just give it to you,” said Castrogine. “You’ve got to ask for it.”
After our meeting with the Mets, we got in the car and went straight to Madison Square Garden(MSG) where we met with Adam Campbell, the director of inside sales and season subscriptions.
Campbell gave us an inside tour of MSG including the new renovations of the arena, the fabulous suites and, yes, the seats that are courtside.
It was no surprise that Campbell discussed the important of internships. He believes, however, that the purpose of an internship isn’t to find what you want to do, it is to eliminate what you don’t want to do.
He believes also that the willingness to learn complements a hard worker.
“Treat your internship as an X-month long internship,” said Campbell. “Always have your game-face on.”
Campbell talked next about what to look for in a job and in an employer.
“No matter what job you take, make sure you work for good people, people who care about you and your success.”
Campbell’s opinions on networking went hand in hand with the Mets’ views, however he contradicted one part.
“It is not about who you know,” Campbell stated. “It is about who knows you.”
When we were finished up at Madison Square Garden, we had about an hour to kill before we had to be at the National Hockey League (NHL) offices. This meant we had a short amount of time to wander around Times Square. We all went our separate ways to get some shopping and eating done. My group and I found a cute little pizza shop down the street from the heart of Times Square and we all picked up some delicious slices of pizza. We got it to go, however, because we wanted to make sure to eat our lunch on the bleachers in Times Square. Gotta get the whole NY experience, right?
The hour seemed to fly by and before we knew it we had to get to the NHL offices.
We were introduced to Nicole Allison from the Club Consulting and Services Department. She brought in Kelly Patterson, the manager of consumer products and retail, and Scott Jablonski, the director of club and financial reporting to help teach us more about the NHL.
They explained to us the differences of working for an actual team versus working for a whole league. In a job like this, they said, you have to look at it as any other business; it has the same functions as a business that has nothing to do with sports.
They taught us what kinds of fans the league has compared to other leagues and how they use these facts to be successful. This was all pretty cool because you never really realize or pay attention to the business side of sports. Especially in a league, you can’t pick a favorite team because you have to be fair to all and your job gets difficult because you can’t control the outcome of the games.
Of course, they all had advice for us on how to be successful. Jablonski was a big supporter in being a hard worker right from the get go. ”The biggest question you can ask yourself is, ‘What can you do on day one?’”
He also was a firm believer in the networking aspect.
“Everyone knows somebody,” Jablonski stated. “Everyone started out at the bottom and worked their way to the top.”
After the NHL offices, we had another hour or so to walk around Rockefeller Center and enjoy the scenery. That time went quickly once again and soon we were on the subway on our way to the Bronx to visit Yankee Stadium.
We were greeted nicely by Dan Rosenthal, the manager of inside sales for the Yankees. He took us on a great tour of the stadium. We were able to see the amazing suites, the awesome VIP areas and all of the history throughout the ballpark.
Rosenthal had nothing but great advice to give us. He, too, was a firm believer in networking.
“Build relationships and connections with people,” he said.
He knows that it is important to know your limits and what will make you successful.
“Put yourself in the best position to succeed,” Rosenthal said. “Go to a culture and place where you can grow your career.”
To have such an important role in such a great organization like the Yankees, Rosenthal has to know what it takes to land a job like that. He told us the five things that he thinks makes a god worker.
First, you must have a tremendous work ethic. Second, you must be passionate about your craft. Next, you must be open to learning and be obsessed with wanting to get better. You must also have a positive attitude that is contagious. Lastly, you must be a leader by example — be someone who does something little that leads to something big.