Where Exceptional Begins

What I Learned From a Team of NBA Champions – And What They Learned From Me

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By Riley Schenk ’18, sport business major double-minoring in business administration and psychology


When I first started my college career at the University of Mount Union, I never thought I would be working with The Cleveland Cavaliers Organization as directly as I have.

Being an athlete basically my whole life, the sports atmosphere is something I have always been a part of.  The sport business major was a perfect fit for me for so many reasons:

  • the vast amount of hands-on experiences it providesimage003
  • the professors who have experience and connections in the field
  • the amount of different routes you can take after graduation

This past summer I was able to work for the Cleveland Cavaliers and The Canton Charge, their NBA Development team, in the ticket sales department. I was able to work all of the NBA 2016 Finals games in Cleveland, not only go to the parade but walk in the parade with other staff members of the Cavs, and got to meet so many great people along the way! This all started after taking Dr. Kadlecek’s sales class at Mount Union during my sophomore year. I never thought sales would be a department I would be interested in, but after succeeding with the Cavaliers directly on that project, I was recommended for the Seasonal Account Executive job I took with the Canton Charge.

The most recent project in which I took part was with the Cleveland Cavaliers for Dr. Kadlecek’s class. The Partnership Proposal Project was something I worked on myself for the Cavaliers’ partnership with Sherwin-Williams. Using Prezi as my whole presentation, I was able to create all of my own ideas for ways the Cavaliers would partner with Sherwin-Williams.

This project was something I invested a vast amount of time in, and I was very excited to present it to the Cavaliers staff.

image001Leading up to the big presentation day, I spent most of my time researching the Cavaliers Company and also Sherwin-Williams trying to come up with new ideas that would impress the Cavaliers staff. I wanted to stand out and show that sales is not my only talent in the industry!

December 6th, the day of my presentation, came and I knew I was ready. I arrived with my professor at Quicken Loans Arena and met with Jeff Kadlub, Carrie Anne Smith and Beth Stephano from the Cavaliers staff. I had met with them prior to starting the presentation to get some background on how Sherwin-Williams and the Cavaliers had partnered in the past.

My presentation lasted about 13 minutes and I felt confident the entire time. The feedback I received from the staff helped me tremendously, and I do not think it could have gone smoother for myself. There were two other groups from my class presenting to the Cavs as well, but I was the final one! After the presentation was over, my individual presentation was requested for the staff to use for future plans with Sherwin-Williams! 🙂

riley schenk presenting to cleveland cavaliers

If I could take away 3 major lessons from this experience I had with Mount Union’s sport business program and the Cavaliers, they would be that:

• the professors in our program truly do want to see you succeed as an individual and are always going to be there to support you.
• the number of hands-on experiences I’ve been apart as an undergraduate is so much more than I ever thought possible – and I still have an entire year left!
• the Cleveland Cavaliers staff has helped me grow as an individual in the sports world and always provides feedback and resources that I will never forget.

To say that I have made the most of my experience so far at Mount Union would be an understatement. With only being a junior in the program and all the opportunities I have had so far, it is hard not to absolutely love my major.image002

Although I have not decided on the exact career path I want to pursue, the professors I have will be there to help guide me along the way. The classes I have been a part of and the people I have developed close relationships with are something that not all students can attest to so young in their careers. Though my experiences have just begun, I have so much to look forward to in my upcoming years!


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