Twenty students who are members of Niagara University’s Sport Management Association traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, over the weekend to gain insight into the sport management industry. They were accompanied by Dr. Patricia Millar, assistant professor of sport and recreation management.
On Nov. 4, the students participated in the fifth annual Michigan Sports Business Conference, which took place at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business on the campus of the University of Michigan. It was here that the students were able to not only interact and network with industry professionals, but hear from some of the most powerful people in the world of sports.
“The conference was an amazing opportunity as a sport management student,” said Jon Borek, an NU senior double majoring in sport management and tourism and event meeting management. “I felt that having that many people who are at the top of their field in a variety of sport realms was absolutely spectacular.”
Among the speakers were Ross, the building’s namesake and majority owner of the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and Don Garber, commissioner of Major League Soccer.
“I thought the speakers that were there had some excellent experience and could speak to different career pathways, different experiences that they’ve had, and different challenges and barriers in various areas of the sport industry, which I think offered some important insight to the students,” said Dr. Millar. “I think there were some good points about how your first job isn’t going to be your forever job. Listening to Don Garber, he stated how he wasn’t a soccer person and it wasn’t a sport that he thought he would work in. The position was a good fit because the sport wasn’t necessarily the guiding thing, but it was more about the position itself and what he brought to the table that could be applied to soccer.”
The following day, the students were among the 110,626 people packed inside Michigan Stadium, otherwise known as “The Big House,” as the Michigan Wolverines downed the University of Maryland Terrapins, 59-3, in college football. The Wolverines have now gone more than 200 consecutive home games with at least 100,000 fans in attendance, dating back to November 1975.
To be selected for the trip, the Niagara University students had to submit an application and resume before undergoing an interview process.
Niagara University’s Sport Management Association was formed in September 2014 and currently has over 40 members. The club endeavors to help all students with a passion for sport management engage in a variety of events, including networking opportunities, so that they can thrive upon graduation.