Sport Business Students Take Unique Finals
January 15, 2014
ALLIANCE, Ohio – University of Mount Union sport business students had to do some extra work as they prepared for final exams last semester.
Several of Jim Kadlecek’s sport business classes were tested on interviewing skills and project proposals as part of their final grade. Kadlecek, associate professor of human performance and sport business, had students in his Intro to Sport Sales course take part in sales call role play with a decision maker played by Dan Halley, business development specialist for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Students were evaluated on their sales techniques by sales managers Josh Young of the Cleveland Browns, Nick Arndt of the Cleveland Indians and Eric Clouse of the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the role of a potential client, Halley asked students difficult questions and kept them on their toes as they worked to sell event tickets to his organization.
According to Young, it’s important for sport sales professionals to work with college students in order to shape future salespeople at a young age.
“It allows us to have a bigger candidate pool and we can improve that pool if we’re able to assist them in projects like this and start to hone those skills at an earlier age,” Young said.
Arndt said he has hired Mount Union graduates in the past and has been pleased with their professional performance.
“In order for us to be successful, we need employees who are successful as well,” he said.
Clouse said it’s encouraging to see students who are interested in the sport business industry.
“We’ve all been fortunate enough to make the business of sports a career for us and got here by having people hone our craft,” Clouse said. “Because of that, we can give that opportunity to students.”
In addition, members of Kadlecek’s Seminars in Sport Business course interviewed with representatives from a variety of organizations including the Cleveland Indians, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Canton Charge and the Pro Football Hall of Fame for their final. Members of the course also traveled to New York City recently, where they met with numerous professionals in the sport business industry.
Ryan Robbins ’00, director of premium sales and service for the Cleveland Indians, visited campus during exam week and conducted 15-minute mock interviews with students.
“It’s great as an alum to have the opportunity to give back and help some of the graduating seniors prepare for upcoming interviews with sports teams,” Robbins said. “I’m impressed with how students handle themselves and what’s on their resumes more and more each time I come to campus.”
Public Relations and Marketing
For its final, Kadlecek’s Public Relations and Marketing of Sport class presented their own sponsorship proposals to the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Cleveland Cavs and Positively Cleveland. Representatives from each organization met with groups of students to provide them with an overview of their needs with respect to a sponsorship proposal. Finished proposals were presented to the rest of the class during finals week.
According to Mike Muhall, director of partnerships for Positively Cleveland, the organization set up simulated sponsorship opportunities and students served as “agencies” which put together compelling packages for Positively Cleveland to offer those companies. At the conclusion of the semester, students presented their ideas to Muhall and other members of the organization’s executive team.
“They were really well prepared, asked great questions and delivered a great end product,” Muhall said.
According to Shelly Cayette, senior director of corporate partnership for the Cleveland Cavs, Mount Union students were provided with real life case studies of Cavs partnerships and were given the background, history and objectives of those partners. Students researched those companies and created Prezi presentations on ideas to solve those businesses’ problems and meet their objectives.
“It was a great experience working with students,” Cayette said. “They were very inquisitive, interested and engaged.”
Kadlecek said hands-on final projects are a good way for students to be prepared for jobs in the sport business industry.
“A real world approach is really the foundation of the Mount Union sport business major,” said Kadlecek. “All of these projects, whether interviewing with sport organizations, making a one-on-one sales presentation in front of professional sport sales managers, or presenting a sponsorship proposal, provide students with relevant experience that they can’t get taking a test.”
Kadlecek noted that working with professionals in the sport business industry gives students a good way to showcase what they’ve learned in class.
“It can be intimidating, but in the end, the approach allows students to gain better insight into what it would be like to work in the sport industry and also build relationships with industry professionals.”
To learn more about Mount Union’s sport business major, visit mountunion.edu/sports-business-major.
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