Rowland School of Business

MLB Diversity Summit is a Game Changer for SAEM Students Aspiring for Careers in Sports

Thursday, March 17, 2016
Pictured are SAEM students Hailie Sandor and Jessica Martin at the 2016 MLB Diversity Business Summit. | Photo submitted by Sandor and Martin
L to R: Sandor and Martin at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. 

For sports, arts and entertainment management students Jessica Martin and Hailie Sandor, having access to connect with all 30 Major League Baseball clubs and many Minor League Baseball clubs at the 2016 MLB Diversity Business Summit was the chance of a lifetime for these aspiring sports industry professionals.

Back in the fall, the Pittsburgh Pirates offered Point Park the opportunity to send two students to the Summit March 8-9 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Co-hosted this year by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the MLB Diversity Business Summit is recognized as a premier sports employment conference and supplier diversity trade fair.

“We selected Jessica and Hailie based on their hard work and dedication in the SAEM program as well as their demonstrated interest in sports management careers,” remarked Steve Tanzilli, J.D., associate professor of SAEM and chair of the Department of Management. “They also have terrific grades and strong internship experience in the sports industry.”

Below the students discuss their unique experiences at the Summit, how their SAEM classes prepared them for this opportunity and their career goals.

Why did you decide to apply for the MLB Diversity Business Summit?

Jessica Martin, SAEM junior, from Brentwood High School, Pittsburgh, Pa.: I jumped at the opportunity to network with every MLB team, as well as the MLB Network, MLBAM and Minor League Baseball. It was the chance of a lifetime and a game changer for my career.

Hailie Sandor, SAEM junior, from Seneca Valley High School, Evans City, Pa.: It was an opportunity to meet new people who may be different than me or have a different outlook on life. I learned so much there that I wouldn’t have been exposed to without going to the Summit.

What was your favorite part of the Summit?

Jessica: The easy answer was the opportunity to finally try a Churro Dog at Chase Field! On a serious note, my favorite part of the Summit was coming home and counting the number of business cards I collected and reflecting on the networking meetings I participated in during the trip. You’re taught early on in your career that networking is the key to your success. I can assure you, this trip was certainly a success.

Hailie: One of my favorite parts of the Summit was getting to sit down with club representatives and talk to them about the industry. Having worked in social media for the Pittsburgh Penguins, I was not only able to compare how other sports teams use their social media, but also how another industry uses these platforms to leverage their assets. 

How did your SAEM classes prepare you for this opportunity? 

Jessica: My SAEM classes definitely prepared me for this trip. Classes such as Marketing and Promotion, Event Management and Facility and Venue Design/Administration were all extremely relevant. Not to mention, special topics courses including Sports Communications, Ticketing and E-Commerce were also beneficial. I’m not going to lie, I felt very intelligent and well prepared!

Hailie: Professor Steve Tanzilli taught me on my first day at Point Park that I’m going to get a job in the industry of sports by the connections I make and the networking I do during my last two years of college. From that day, I have made it my personal mission to use all of the tools and opportunities Point Park has given me to leverage my network to help me secure a job after graduation. 

What are your goals for after graduation?

Jessica: After graduation, I would love to land a job working in business analytics for a sports league. While many leagues now incorporate analytics into their team operations, not as many have fully developed them in front office operations — except for baseball. I learned throughout my time at the Summit that grassroots initiatives are tactfully planned out to seamlessly integrate youth-based programs to further enhance their fan development. 

Hailie:
My goal is to work in the Premium Service Sales industry for a sports organization in the NFL, NHL or MLB.

What key message did you take away from the MLB Summit? 

Jessica: Wendy Lewis, senior vice president of diversity and strategic alliances for Major League Baseball, said many times during the Summit that “diversity is opportunity.” I agree with her. I am beyond grateful that I was given the opportunity to attend the Major League Baseball Diversity Business Summit. 

Hailie:
Something I’d love to share that was shared with us is “CAR,” which stands for Confidence, Attitude and Relationships.

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