What You Need to Know About Sports Internships - Part 1

An Interview with Graduate Student Ryan Morse

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I regularly teach a Personal Branding course at the University of San Francisco in their Master's in Sport Management Program.  One of the students - Ryan Morse - had completed multiple internships and had opinions to share on the process of landing internships and maximizing their value.

His experience - and the resulting advice - emerges in the following two part interview.

You have completed three sports related internships.  How did you land the first one?

Morse: It didn’t take long as a graduate student before I was exposed to the power of networking.  With a general interest in working for the LA Galaxy, I came across fellow University of San Francisco Sport Management student, while searching their LinkedIn employee list.  I reached out to to her with an introduction email and a few questions related to the program and how she liked working with the Galaxy.  My contact was more than happy to share her experience and help out a fellow Don.  A few weeks after our initial conversation, she heard about an internship opportunity with the team, asked if I would be interested and referred me to the hiring manager. Two weeks later I had my first internship as a Game Day and Sales Intern with the LA Galaxy.

Being selected for the Tiger Woods Foundation internship must be incredibly competitive.  How do you think you differentiated yourself from the other applicants?

Morse; Coming to the interview well prepared provided me the confidence to feel comfortable.  Prior to the interview, I conducted extensive research on the foundation, the position itself, and who the decision makers were. From the get-go you’re in awe of the opportunity, with a majority of the interview being held in Tiger’s personal office decorated with Wheaties boxes and numerous trophies.

Through my research I discovered that the Tiger Woods Foundation is much more than your traditional foundation, aside from general donations, the foundation hosts three PGA certified golf tournaments and a number of large-scale experiential fundraising events.  I was interviewing for an internship in Corporate Partnerships, so I researched their current partnerships and used the questions portion of the interview to demonstrate that I had done my research and also used tangible examples of how I could fulfill the positions requirements.

How did working multiple internships develop your understanding of the sports industry?

Morse: Honestly, it took me a while to grasp the complexities of the sports industry.  From brands and agencies to properties and leagues, there is an abundance of opportunities and I really didn’t know where to start.  After graduating with degree in Marketing, I recognized my passion for thinking outside the box and using analytics to make strategic solutions.  I decided to make the most of my two years as a graduate student and try to understand the sport industry from a variety of angles.  I would use this time  to explore a  variety of endeavors and when I was ready to delve into my career, I would have the advantage of understanding what it’s like to be sitting in each seat at the table, and understand the  needs and wants from all perspectives.

Marketing, sales, sponsorships, there are an abundance of opportunities to be involved in sports and I wanted to use my time as a student to explore them all!

So what are the key takeaways from Part One?  First, heed Morse's advice that being well prepared for the internship interview is a great way to give yourself a leg up on the competition. Second, be prepared to explore multiple internships while in college or right after.  A similar experience was had by Rebecca Corman who subsequently landed a role in social media with the Oakland Raiders.  So do not think of an internship as a one time experience.

In Part Two, Ryan Morse offers advice on getting that first internship and what to expect the first week.

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