Perhaps the ultimate of the “sexy” post-MBA career goals is the desire to go into the sports business. We’ve supported quite a few Brave Supplicants with their MBA apps over the years where they pitched this idea to the adcom, and while we can say that in recent years, it’s become a bit more feasible, it’s still a very big pitch to be making. The main reason that some adcoms are softening to this in their MBA candidates is because there’s been a shift in the sports world where the business side is not considered the enemy. The guys in suits from the front office have not always been welcomed as part of the players’ organization and the concept of sports as a business produces lots of conflicts. It’s kind of like business and fashion; there’s been a tension between the artistic side and the commercial side. Same deal with sports. Both sports and fashion have changed and now it’s very possible to use an MBA to transition to either industry.
But it’s not easy. These sectors don’t have gobs of recruiters flocking to bschool campuses for hiring. If you’re really passionate about switching into sports (or fashion, for that matter) then you’d better be doing your homework, and laying the groundwork for this now. You can’t assume that a job will waltz its way into your life. You’ll need to be creating a network and making connections to make it happen.
That being said, there are more and more bschools putting an emphasis on the sports business either through student-driven clubs on campus, some of which now host industry conferences, and also some specialized classes and a dedicated curriculum. Ross and LBS have both hosted Sports Business Conferences in the past few years. Michigan Ross has an undergraduate degree in sports management (apparently no graduate offerings though). MIT has held a Sports Analytics Conference. Kellogg has started to support this niche more.
Here’s a video that came out from Stanford GSB last year called Inside Sports Management – with a notable quote: “It’s not enough to love Michael Jordan”:
The first step if you’re considering a career in the sports business is to understand what career paths are available. If you want to go into consulting for the sports industry, then you’d better have a) consulting, and/or b) sports business experience. The competition for the limited consulting jobs that come available is intense. You need to have some credentials pre-MBA in order to be a viable candidate post-.
Or, you can look around at the other types of front office jobs that exist. Do your research. Is it business development that you’d be good at? Something in sales? What about marketing?
Or, are you a fit to go to a consumer products company like Nike and do brand management? That’s still the sports business, right?
It really depends on what you want to do.
You also need to examine the motivations. Just because you love sports does not mean that you’re qualified to pursue a career in the sector. You need more than that. It’s a clear case for where “passion” is not enough.
Any Round 1 BSers pitching sports business goals around to share their experience in getting into a top MBA program? Or any current students? There might be one or two of you bouncing around here still. If so, please share your thoughts! What type of opportunities exist? Was the adcom amenable to your pitch? What type of feedback have you gotten from Career Services? We’d love to get your experiences for others to benefit from.
You may also be interested in:
- Stanford essay critique: What matters most to me is sports (September 2014)
- Request for a free profile review (where the BSer is interested in entrepreneurship in the sports industry, May 2016)
- Archive of EssaySnark posts tagged “passion”