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Show me the Money - Why Sports Management is gaining momentum

Raoul Bhandari, a Sports Management graduate from Rutgers University, tells us why millennials are gravitating to a career in sports management.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   11-03-2020

Why Sports Management is gaining momentum

Rutgers, the largest state university of New Jersey has been around since 1766, offering 150 undergraduate majors in a diverse range of subjects.

There are three different campuses within the state with the main campus situated at New Brunswick in Central Jersey with various sub-campuses Livingston, Busch, College Avenue, Cook, and Douglassfound sprawling throughout the town. Connected to each other by Route 18, an infamous bus system, which seems to be the most convenient form of transportation in the absence of a car for the 35,000 students on these campuses.

Raoul Bhandari, a recent Sports Management graduate from Rutgers University, New Jersey gives the low down on why millennials are gravitating to a career in sports management.

How did you decide to pick sports management as your major?

It was a quirk of fate that I chose sport management as my major. I had initially registered in the Business School at Rutgers but at the end of my freshman year, I was given the opportunity to intern for the Philadelphia Union, a professional soccer team. That summer I found myself engaged and learnt enough about the industry to propel me to make the huge transition. I consider myself the kind of person who enjoys hands-on work to break up the monotony of sitting at a desk all day, and the field of sports holds the perfect combination. I often heard that “No two days are alike” in this business and that it is an exciting and rapidly growing industry. When I returned to Rutgers in the fall for my Sophomore year, I promptly switched majors to sport management.

What was your curriculum like?

I took many different classes over the course of my education, including Sports Psychology, Sports Sociology, Event Planning, Sports Marketing and Sport Law, among others. One thing I definitely picked up on is that your professor can make or break a class. The best ones teach from experience, and I found myself most engaged in those classes. I realized it was important to connect with the professors as I approached the end of my college education, especially in those courses most pertinent to what I had envisioned pursuing career-wise. I continue to be in touch with my favorite professors and regularly ask them for career advice whenever I feel the need for it.

What was campus life at Rutgers?

New Brunswick is dubbed the “Hub City” due to its close proximity to two major cities NYC and Philadelphia and its easy connectivity to the entire Tri-State Area. This provided easy access to concerts, festivals and events in the cities which I attended on a regular basis with my friends. On campus, Rutgers also offers a wide range of student activities. There are well over 400 clubs and organizations as well as a number of fraternities and sororities to pick from. I participated actively in their intramural sports program for the entirety of my education and made some close friends through it. It is the perfect place for students with vast and varied interests, as there is no dearth of options and it is safe to say there is something for everyone.

Why are more people gravitating to this field?

The sports industry is turning into a highly coveted field and follows closely on the heels of the entertainment business. Being able to work for a sports team is an exciting prospect for a vast majority of the millennial population, and as a result the industry is highly competitive and does not see much turnover. It is not for the faint hearted either; often the work hours are long and extend well into the weekends, with only a brief reprieve during the off season of the sport. But once you get a foot in the door of a sports organization, you make a choice to be a part of something bigger than yourself and one that contributes to a community of fans both local, or global. I feel that the sports industry stands apart because it transcends differences and brings people from all backgrounds and races together, making it a highly desirable field to work in.

What kind of jobs are there in this field?

Unlike popular belief that sports management is relegated to talent scouting and coaching alone, a sports organization is similar to any other business structure and has just as many departments. In order to run a sports team effectively, all of those positions need to be filled. To state a few, there are jobs in: Sports Marketing and Sales, Sponsorship and Partnership Sales, Retail and Merchandizing, Data analytics, Sports Administration, Business Intelligence, Public relations, Human Resources, the Team’s Legal Department, Player Agents and Ticket Sales. A Sports Management degree definitely helps strengthen the focus on any aspects of the sports industry that one chooses as a potential career path.

What words of advice do you have for students interested in this field?

I was fortunate enough to find my passion at the right time and for those who are contemplating a career in sports management, I highly recommend doing as many internships as possible to get a firm grasp of what it really entails. I spent four consecutive summers interning and took to it like a duck to water; first with the Philadelphia Union Soccer team, then with World Team Tennis/ New York Empire, next with US Soccer and finally with the Miami Heat. Each internship taught me new skills, opened up the world of sports and broadened my perspective on the industry. It helped me shed any childish dreams of becoming a world class soccer star and transformed them into a more tangible and achievable one. I had all four internships completed by the time I had graduated, and it was instrumental in solidifying my career path. I walked away knowing I was born to do this.

Working for a sports organization takes a lot of effort, teamwork, and long hours but the payoff is worth it. The most difficult aspect is the fierce competition for jobs sports is still a relatively small industry and sport management graduates are churned out every year at an alarming pace. This makes competition for even an entry-level position very strong, but once the right opportunity comes along, there’s no looking back.



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