Monday, March 17, 2014

March Update

Happy St. Patrick’s everyone, I hope you’re wearing green!

As promised, here are the pictures from the Levi Stadium tour. If you are a 49ers fan, live close, or like to travel to sporting events, this will be one you do not want to miss. The way the stadium was described made it seem as if it’ll be more of an experience than just watching a football game.

The areas for concessions, bathrooms, and shops were state of the art. There will be restaurants within the stadium as well. I think the coolest thing (and most different) is that there will be an app you can download on your phone that lets you order food and have it delivered to your seat, as well as checking how long the line for the bathroom is! How cool is that?

Meanwhile with school, my cohort just started Sport Business Research Methods with Dr. Nola Agha. I’m looking forward to this class mainly because of the interests I have with what industry I want to work in. With media, it’s constant research. I know other departments need research as well, but I think this class will really benefit what I hope to do.  With the multiple positions I’ve had, the ones involving media definitely had the most research to do.

We got a week off of school after one day with Dr. Nola because of spring break. In undergrad, I never got a spring break because I was in season with gymnastics, so this didn’t feel too terribly different. Since I work more days than I go to school, I couldn’t exactly take a week off. Fortunately for me, the workload at Pac-12 Networks last week was light because of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament. With that and having an awesome boss, I was able to leave early Thursday to take a short vacation in Arizona for spring training.

As a lover of baseball and traveling, I don’t think I could have had a better weekend. I went alone, which was an experience itself.  If you’ve never experienced a new place on your own, I recommend it. Moving to San Francisco on my own back in July opened my eyes to what I thought was a whole new world. With so much to digest in San Francisco, it made me want to explore so much more; which is why I was okay to go alone (and develop a love for traveling).

I went to four games and one bating practice during my three-day stint. On Thursday, the first game I went to was the Arizona Diamondbacks versus the Milwaukee Brewers at the Maryvale Stadium. It wasn’t the prettiest place I’ve been, but I sat third row behind home plate, so I was happy. Later that day, I watched the Seattle Mariners and Colorado Rockies batting practice before their game.

Friday I went to two games starting with the Texas Rangers at the Oakland Athletics. The Phoenix Municipal Stadium was nice, but I think it’s because the Rangers players made it look so good (okay, maybe I’m a little biased). But man, it was the slowest game of my life. It was about four and a half hours. The final score was 16-15 Rangers, so I was a very happy the Rangers pulled out the win. During the game I saw two familiar, famous faces. I’ve always been a fan of Chelsea Handler and her talk show, books, etc., so when I saw her sidekick and friend, comedian Sarah Colonna, I sort of froze. She’s dating the punter for the Seattle Seahawks, Jon Ryan, so seeing them was another perk of spring training. After that long game, I got to see two of the best pitchers in baseball in the same game: Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale. The Chicago White Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4, but witnessing them pitch had to be a highlight of the trip.

I saved the best game for last and that was watching the Rangers at home against the White Sox. Surprise Stadium was amazing, and I’m not just saying that because it’s where the Rangers call home (along with the Kansas City Royals). It had a huge lawn, big video board, most seats were in the shade, and had an overall feeling of a regular season game. I would have liked to see the Royals play there as well, just to see if I would give it the same reviews.

Although I went for a vacation, I couldn’t help but use the networking tools I’ve learned throughout the program. As many know by reading these blogs and mentioning earlier, I’ve always wanted to work in media, specifically a sideline reporter. I recently applied for a position with the Modesto Nuts, the Advanced A minor league team for the Colorado Rockies.  I applied the week before spring break, so the organization didn’t have my information for that long. I e-mailed the guy hiring for the position, letting him know I would be in town getting the spring training experience and asked if he had time available to meet me to talk about the position. Overall the interview went well, although I’m not sure if that position will help me as much as I hoped with the aspirations I have. He was impressed with how I reached out to him and my ‘go-getter’ mentality, so I’m glad I went to make that connection because our paths could cross in the future. I would definitely recommend reaching out to someone in an organization while traveling because more connections never hurt, and you never know where it could lead.

When opportunity allows, take a trip, go somewhere new. Moving out here was the biggest leap of faith I’ve ever taken and it has helped me develop the fearlessness of trying new things and taking chances. A year ago, I would have never done this. I probably would have laughed if I was told I would go on a trip like this alone. This weekend in Arizona was not only a lot of fun for me, but it had much more value to me than just being a baseball fan.

When an opportunity presents itself for a job or for good time, don’t hesitate, go for it. You never know what it could lead to..
Brewers vs. Diamondbacks (Maryvale)

Rangers vs. Athletics (Phoenix Municipal)

Dodgers vs. White Sox (Camelback)

White Sox vs. Rangers (Surprise Stadium)

Friday, February 14, 2014

New Year, New Fun

A new year means new fun, and new resolutions to go along with new beginnings. To be honest, I didn't have a New Years resolution, I've been working on one that I started to pursue as soon as I moved here: try new things and take advantage of every opportunity. I know it’s already a month and a half into 2014, but I didn't write much about the New Year in my last post. 

The first opportunity I had in the New Year was to be a part of the student panel at cohort 40's orientation. Back at my orientation, I loved hearing the advice and stories from current students, so I was really looking forward to it. 

As I expected, I had a lot of fun and was able to meet all the new students as well as alumni of the program. When I was asked how much I had left in the program, I kind of stared into space before answering next year. I didn't actually believe the words that came out of my mouth. Cue Dr. Cellini reminding my class that the program goes by quickly! In two weeks I'll be finished with my fourth class, meaning I'm a third of the way through the program. 

Although public speaking isn't new for me, it was an opportunity to meet more people to add to my network. USF is known for the alumni and network, so it was nice being able to meet even more, rather than those I've only spoke to via e-mail. 

A few weekends later, some of my classmates and I made our way to Berkeley to watch the #1 basketball team in country. I expected Arizona to pull out a win against Cal, but I think everyone in Haas Pavilion was just as surprised as me when Cal upset Arizona. To say the least, it was crazy witnessing Justin Cobbs' final shot to get the win over Arizona. Even the aftermath when I went to work Monday at Pac-12 Networks was insane.
Our view
Nicole Loscavio (cohort 39) and I
The next event most of my cohort got together to watch the Super Bowl. I've been a Peyton Manning fan ever since I met him last year, so it was a little disappointing for me. But overall, it was nice being together not sitting in a classroom.

Our Lombardi Trophy made by Amanda Holtz (cohort 39)

Another opportunity I got to do was tour the San Francisco Giants stadium. Thanks to the alumni who work for the Giants, other alumni and current students were able to attend a private tour as well as a social with everyone afterwards. I was able to meet even more alumni, as well as reconnect with cohort 40, and learn more about the Giants than I ever could have by just being a fan. Here's a fun fact, there's a two-lane bowling alley within the stadium. Who would have ever guessed that!? 

Lastly, my cohort and I are going to have the opportunity to tour Levi’s Stadium, thanks to Amanda Holtz. I’m really looking forward to being able to see the stadium in person, rather than just online. I will post pictures in the next blog!

Again, these are just a few of the fun events I've been able to do all because of the USF program. These have been only a few of the fun outings I've had here in San Francisco, and I definitely couldn't have done any of them without being a part of the USF program. 

Be back next month!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Classmates From Around The World

There’s no doubt this program has already opened so many doors for my classmates and I. I’ve praised this program for the network it provides all across the country. All of the jobs I currently have and ones I’ve been eyeing are all because of this program and the alumni who are involved in these organizations. To say the least, being in this program creates such a large network all across the country.

But, this network goes beyond the country; it’s global. In my cohort (cohort 39), there are six students who were born in other countries and I believe there are seven in cohort 40s’ (if I’m remembering correctly) from the orientation I attended. These students have studied all over the world, making our network even larger than anticipated. The six I have gotten to know over the last seven months have opened my eyes to what really occurs beyond the borders and not what is shown in the news.

Over the last few days, I’ve been talking with my classmates about their experience so far and what they hope to learn while studying at USF. Here’s a brief biography about the six in my cohort!

Sissy Feng, from Jiaxing, China, is taking advantage of these opportunities to gain experience in the American sports industry. “The sports industry is much more commercialized in the US than in China. There are a lot of political factors included in sports in China, the state sport system dominates the industry”. With the knowledge of how Chinese and American sports operate, she hopes to bring an American view of sports back to China. Feng plans to work in professional sports' development in China after graduation. She says that if any of her friends were interested in this program and coming to America, she tell them to do so because of the nation's passion for sports and how professional the industry is”.

Similar to Feng, Jinhee Byun from Seoul, South Korea is eager to learn what the sports industry is like here. She always knew American sports were a big deal, but didn’t actually understand until going to a Stanford football game. As of now, Byun is eager for more experience is all different areas of the industry because she hasn’t found a specific focus she wants to concentrate on. The USF program allows us to work in many areas with all of the connections this program has. As far as being away from home, it has definitely been something Byun has struggled with. “Frankly speaking, it’s not easy to live and study in the U.S. I had to overcome some difficulties such as homesick, language barrier, or culture differences”, Byun says. “However, I was really satisfied with staying there. The school and people that I met there were so amazing”. She advises that if anyone she knows were to be given an opportunity like this, she would not want anyone to pass it up.

Natalya Ratan, from Dubai, has lived in California for a few years and is currently working with the Oakland Raiders. She says, “in the middle east, sport is not a huge industry, there are few opportunities to work in the industry because it is so small and there is far more focus on American/European or international sporting events”. Cricket is the most popular sport in India, so pretty much every other sport suffers in terms of funding and participation. It’s why a country of over a billion people struggles with success on the international stage. With her schooling and knowledge of sports here, she will one day want to return to Dubai, but not anytime soon. She is hoping to get a better understanding of what exactly she wants her career in sport to focus on through the Sport Management program. She’s interned and worked in a number of different departments, which is where she developed her passion for CSR and environmental sustainability with an NFL team.

As most in my cohort grew up playing sports or went to college on scholarship, Jana Soethout from Cologne, Germany, is still living out her athletic life. She is on the track and field team here at USF where she competes in distance running. She is able to balance track, grad school as well as internship opportunities because of the support from her coaches and professors. After graduation, she plans to return to Germany to focus on her track career. Until then, with her time at USF she hopes to “get a different perspective of the sports industry, to gain contacts within the sport industry all over the world”. As far as her professional career, she hopes to pursue a position in marketing at a sports related firm.

Another classmate from China is Ruoyang Wu. I’ve had the chance to work with her in a group project and she has to be one of the most knowledgeable people I know. She has told me that in China, the majority of the sports resource is under the control of the government. At the moment, there is no real and open sports industry. She has the smarts to definitely make a change in China, just from the ideas I’ve talked with her with in class. As far as jobs after graduation, she hopes to stay in the United States for a few more years. She has been training for a half marathon (which she completed earlier this month) and has found a passion for racing and running events. She hopes to one-day work with events similar to the San Francisco Marathon and Tokyo Marathon.

Last but certainly not least is Madeleine Ellingsen-Larsen. She is from Oslo, Norway and is a roommate of mine. She has probably taught me the most about international sports and Norway in general. The US is more professional and on a commercialized level while the sports industry in Norway is really small and built on volunteering. Ellingsen-Larsen has always aspired to work with the Olympics, especially if they’re in Norway in 2022. When asked if she would recommend this program to friends back home, she said “I would tell them to take the chance. It’s really good opportunity to learn another language better, understand a different culture and meet many new people”. She’s taught me a lot about winter sports in exchange for baseball lingo. She may not be an expert, but she understands the basic rules (proud roommate moment)!

Collectively, they all have studied if more countries I can count on my fingers and toes, which is why I think it’s so cool to have people with this much global experience in my cohort. They have made our cohort more aware of the sport industry across the country, and have been very willing to learn about American sports. These six ladies are motivated and determined to excel in school while finding their niche in the sport industry, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of their friendship and the knowledge they’ve shared.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Summary of The Last Six Months

Ever since I can remember, I've been obsessed with photos and videos. I always love capturing moments. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So rather than telling you about all the fun I'm having in San Francisco, I thought a few pictures might do the trick. Here's a little summary of the last six months:

When I first moved here I was like:

And learning that public transportation is the best way to get around:

Walking into orientation:

When friends from back home can't believe I only go to school once a week:

Sometimes when I don't get something in class I think:

But then the USF professors and staff remind me:

Dr. Cellini is really big on learning how to properly speak in public. So, at first my classmates and I were all like: 

And he was like:

And occasionally like:

But after 8 weeks with him, this is how he reacted to our final presentations:

After those 8 weeks, we were told no other class would have as much work as Dr. Cellini's:

So, after that class, we all couldn't wait until class #2:

By this time we've all interviewed for jobs, so we all start the process like:

But leaving the interview and getting the job, we all felt like:

Class #2: Marketing. Not knowing anything about marketing:

But Dr. Goldman made it easy to learn and I felt like:

After my group nailed their final project and moving on to class #3:

Remembering how good I am with numbers before Accounting & Budgeting in sport:

And when Professor Faas asked who had an accounting background:

But then he assured us we would be just fine with no previous accounting knowledge:

And then doing well on his final:

How I felt leaving class knowing I won't see them for three weeks:

And realizing I'm a quarter of the way through grad school:

I think these GIFS perfectly sum up my adventure and emotions so far in the city and school. As excited as I am to see what the future holds at USF, I can't emphasize enough how much I need everything to slow down! I'll never regret this decision to move out here and continue my studies.

Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Perks of San Francisco You Don’t Hear Everyday

Hello everyone! Crazy to think it’s that time of the month to blog again, it’s going by too quickly. I know the last few posts I’ve mentioned a lot about my growth as a person or the fabulous experience I’m having, so I hope to accomplish something different in this blog post. My title might be promising something wild and crazy, but it’s still within some facts about this city (that I absolutely love):

1.     Amount of sports companies and teams there are in the city.

        Okay, maybe this is included, but the amount of possibilities in this city is truly unlimited. I mean, when I first moved here I immediately thought Raiders, 49ers, Giants and Athletics (go Rangers), but the possibilities are really endless. As much as everyone wants to work in these big name organizations, it’s perfectly fine if you don’t. Honestly, I’ve learned that working hard at an organization people may not familiar with, is more important towards your personal skills as an employee and person. It’s places like those that can teach you the true value of hard work by either juggling different jobs within a job or even earning that solid recommendation for that next job. With those assets, it could make your dream come true and possibly easier when trying to break into those big name businesses. This city offers more opportunities than I ever imagined.

2.     Location, location, location!

      Let’s be honest. California, it’s kind of like a dreamland. Especially having the program in Los Angeles and up in the bay, you get the best of both worlds. Now being from the south, I’m used to the heat, humidity, rainstorms, etc. So, being in weather that ranges between 50 and 75 degrees throughout the year with no humidity is perfect. The fog up in the bay was a change for me, but I’m used to it and actually like it. Lately it’s only been around in the morning and at night, so it’s perfect when I’m inside and relaxing. But having the luxury of sunny blue skies during a run or walk on the beach is perk I’ll never get tired of.

3.     This city is so convenient

      San Francisco is the home of about 815,000 people, in an area of 232 square miles. If you haven’t pictured by now, yes everything is super close. Big city, not that big in distance. This makes parking difficult, which is why the public transportation is given two thumbs up. Hailing from Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, public transportation isn’t that popular. In fact, we have a train system, DART, that is similar to the one here, BART. In my 17.5 years of living in Texas, I think I’ve taken it five times. But, let me tell you, it took me two months before I ever stepped on a bus here. I was terrified. Mainly because there’s a lot of options so it can be overwhelming, but I’m also kind of a germaphob. Not only have my hand sanitizer purchases increased, but I have a really odd, new found love for public transportation. It’s just so convenient. Buses frequently stop so you don’t have to walk far and my immune system has seriously boosted, which is why I refuse to get a flu shot (sorry mom but the shot clearly didn’t help last year). Also, I live as far west as it gets, right on Ocean Beach. I could run as east as it gets, by AT&T park and back to my house and I wouldn’t even be at a full marathon of distance. That’s just another perspective for how close everything is and how easy public transportation is.

4.     The diversity in this city is eye-opening

    Alright, I realize that I will probably inadvertently write something controversial in this section, I've lived a somewhat sheltered life and not had an opportunity like this. I normally don’t share my views, especially on topics that might be controversial or that put me into a situation where I lack experience. I have opinions but now I am exposed to so many new experiences that some reexamination is in order. The fact that my opinions require examination is testament to what makes this area unique. No matter where you live in the country or world, there will always be someone with a different and in some case opposing view.  There are so many cultures, religions, political views, you name it, that literally all one has to do in San Francisco is turn a corner and a new experience awaits. As much of a culture shock as it was, I enjoy the great diversity and that fact make me realize what an awesome privilege it is to be able to live in the area. Living here broadens my horizons and exposes me to what else is out there, not just the bubble I've lived in and known my whole life. It’s not only humbling but it puts everything into perspective, or at least it did for me. Being able to connect with people of different cultures is beneficial to my personal and professional life. In my professional life, I will encounter situations far outside anything I had previously experienced. Living in San Francisco broadens my experience so that no matter the audience or customer, I think I will be prepared for the situation. While USF increases my knowledge, San Francisco has increased my “knowledge”

Even if I would have known the in depth details about these four points before choosing where I went to grad school, I would have still picked USF. This city is unlike any other, which is why it’s important to experience in a lifetime. Yes I’ve learned a lot in class and at my jobs, but this city has taught me just as much.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Taking it all in..

Only 575 days until graduation.

I’ve been in the program for 98 days.

These 98 days have gone by so quickly, yet I’ll keep saying, “they’ve been so rewarding”. I think the most important thing I’ve learned this last month is to really take in and value my time in San Francisco.

Last Thursday was Cohort 39’s second internship meeting with Dr. Cellini. For this meeting, Cohort 37 joined us to not only share their experiences, but to give us advice as well. Just like all the professors, they advised us to constantly network, because you never know who someone knows. It was a great opportunity to not only hear what their interests are and the jobs they have, but how far a long they’ve come in the program and what they have left. Although our interests may vary, we all have had ups and downs along the same lines. These struggles and successes have helped mold us into the people we are becoming, and who knows how much more we can grow. Even from our first internship meeting, I’ve seen a huge change in myself as well as my classmates. These are the moments I’ll value. It’s humbling already to know how far we’ve come; it makes the future that much more exciting. Although I have no idea what is in store for my future, I’m confident in the direction I’m going.

Between the first and second internship meeting, my class and I revised our career ‘game plans’ that includes current jobs that will help us obtain our dream job. When I first started the program, I wanted any and every opportunity that came my way. Although a few did not fall in the sports media category, as great as those jobs are, they helped me realize how much I do want to work in media. So, I made it a goal to start looking and trying to get a job working in that industry.

About two and a half weeks ago, I took a position at the Pac-12 Networks. It is really exciting because sports media is the industry I want to pursue a career in. It has been great so far and I have already fallen in love (again) with sports media. I have always been told to make it in media, you have to start at a small company. So when I got multiple callbacks and eventually the position I was really surprised. I still pinch myself because it is honestly such a cool job and place to work. This is where I have learned to open my eyes and take it all in. There’s no guarantee with what this job could turn into, but only a few are given an opportunity like this.

Although some positions I have are only temporary or internships, it’s only times like these where I do not mind being called a student or an intern. Companies love interns, or part-time employees who are doing a lot of work for a little pay. I only have 575 more days left of being a student, so these are the moments I plan to value and take advantage of while in San Francisco. It is moments like these that have allowed me to learn even more than I ever thought I could (and build up my résumé of course).

Not only have I learned a lot, but also this program has allowed me to transition into what it’s like to have a real job or a busy work schedule. I only graduated from Arkansas back in May, so it was somewhat of an identity crisis those first few months. My friends at other graduate programs go to school a few days a week, not giving them a free schedule to go out and explore with job opportunities.  

In 575 days when I graduate, I know I’ll have a lot smoother of a transition into the ‘full time employee’ status compared to those friends. But until then, I’ll be taking in every bit of San Francisco.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

One Down, 11 To Go..

Remember how I mentioned last post that I was warned this experience goes by fast? Well, all the alumni and faculty who preached that wasn’t lying.

I feel like it was just yesterday I was moving to California and now it’s already the middle of September. Maybe I should refer back to the cheesy saying of: “time flies when you’re having fun”, but I’ve been living up to that saying.

When friends from Arkansas or Texas ask me about school and life in California, they all say they can’t believe I’m having this much fun for grad school. Or, they’ve never actually heard of someone who ‘loves’ their program. With all of the opportunities USF provides, I’m reminded each day how much of an impact this program is already having on me now, as well as my future.

Two weeks ago marked the ending of our first milestone. It was a little bittersweet ending Dr. Cellini’s class. We all enjoyed his class and learning from him, but we were ready and anxious for the next class to begin.

Before that, we all celebrated completing our first class together Labor Day weekend. We went to Mission Dolores Park to hang out and throw the football around in honor of football season being here. After that, a lot of us went to Austen Powers, Nick Walsh and Nate Sullivan’s apartment to barbeque. It was nice to be able to be together on this holiday weekend, especially for me when my family is back in Texas. But, I couldn’t be happier being a part of Cohort 39 and the USF sport management family. 

Here’s a cool picture I took at 20th Street and Church Street overlooking the park!

After our fun weekend, it was time to get back to work. We began sports marketing with Dr. Goldman two weeks ago and none of us were really sure what to expect. From cohorts ahead of us, we were always given a few tips and advice to help us in the program, but since Dr. Goldman is new, we had no insight. We were a little nervous. 

After the first ten minutes of class, we all finally relaxed. Dr. Goldman has the ability to create an environment, for me at least, that is stress free. I’ve never studied sport marketing, or any kind of marketing for that matter, before stepping into Dr. Goldman’s class. Not only are we learning a lot already from him, he also brings a lot of international perspective and knowledge to the classroom.

The major assignment for the class is to create a new marketing strategy for a company or organization. We were put into groups and from there, we collectively decided on a place to work with. Similar to Dr. Cellini’s class, this allowed us to make connections within the business. But unlike Dr. Cellini’s class, it was in an area some weren’t necessarily interested in. This project teaches us how to get into the customer's minds. We get to talk to people first hand and conduct research of our own. Although this marketing strategy is only pretend, the organization has the ability to use our work if they want. So having the potential of helping an organization better is a bigger reward than just the grade Dr. Goldman gives us. We’ve learned connections in the business will help us in the long run, so having multiple connections in different areas of sport will only be beneficial in the future.

I talk about the future as if it’s so far away, when in actuality it’s happening now. It’s still hard to believe I’ve already been a part of this program for 10 weeks. I still feel very fortunate to be a part of this program but can’t believe how fast it’s going. I’m just reminding myself to take in every moment because graduation is just around the corner.

One class down, 11 to go..