Rice Sport Management’s Alumni Network is Extremely Valuable for Students

Rice Sport Management’s Alumni Network is Extremely Valuable for Students

Approximately 75% of jobs are filled through networking. In today's job hunting age, networking is critical as is learning how to leverage your connections. In Rice University’s Department of Sport Management, the vast network of alumni gives students the connections they need to land high profile internships. Three SMGT students had the opportunity to intern under alumni and learn from those who had the same experiences as they did.

Pax Kaplan-Sherman '18 served as a business analytics intern for the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros. Working under Justin Wolin '15, Senior Business Analyst, allowed him to be recognized immediately as one who could meaningfully contribute. Kaplan-Sherman noted, "We had a lot of shared experiences, so he understood what my abilities were from day one."

Wolin & Pax

Kaplan worked on research projects to help the Astros organization drive revenue by optimizing operations in ticket sales, marketing, and other business factors facing departments of the organization. The expectations set forth as a student of Rice's Department of Sport Management were high, but Wolin expressed his satisfaction with the work that Kaplan-Sherman completed noting, "He was able to tackle tough projects and continued to handle any challenge we threw at him. I definitely credit that to the Department of Sport Management."

Kaplan-Sherman capped off an incredible internship by walking in the Astros World Series victory parade and was able to contribute in an extremely meaningful way to the organization.

Lindsey Hodge '18 also had the chance to work under a Sport Management alum, Bo Sripharphan '15 as a business planning intern at Nike. Sripharphan himself used connections in the Department of Sport Management to help land his spot and Nike and was happy to pass on the favor. He noted the parallels between being successful with the company and succeeding in the classroom, highlighting that "Lindsey came in with a willingness to learn and an eagerness to contribute quickly."

Bo & Lindsey

Hodge was grateful not only for the mentorship, but also the friendship developed during her time at Nike. Shripharphan was always willing to answer her questions and help her continuously learn. Sharing the same background allowed the two of them to connect and Hodge remarked, "We got along really well as friends, which I think helped our work relationship."

Hodge enjoyed her experience at Nike and having the opportunity to apply what she learned in the classroom was very valuable for her. Upon graduating this spring, Hodge hopes to continue in the Business Planning sector and use what she learned at Nike to stand out among her peers.

Yelovich & Madison

Student worker Madison Nasteff '19 worked under Brandon Yelovich '11 as a product development intern with SportStar Athletics. In her role, she focused on developing sports equipment for football and lacrosse and was able to utilize Yelovich as a resource on transitioning knowledge from the classroom to the real world. Of her interaction with Yelovich, Nasteff commented, "It was great to be able to work under someone who understands the capabilities of a Rice student and who pushed me to produce the highest quality products each and every day."

As an alumni, Yelovich knew the importance of the internship as a learning and growing opportunity. He worked hard to ensure Nasteff received "an experience with SportStar that would help further her in her own career, while at the same time benefitting [the company]."

Now that the pipeline is established, SportStar will continue to hire students from Rice and can expect quality work. Nasteff will continue in the sports equipment industry as she interns with Nike in a Design Engineering role next summer.

Rice’s Department of Sport Management constantly seeks to use previous connections to help their students gain valuable internship experience and learn from those who were in their position not long ago. As the alumni base grows, former students look for ways to mentor and give back, and that makes the department strong. Maybe one day these students will turn the tables to become mentors themselves.

Madison Nasteff is a junior Mechanical Engineering major with a minor in Engineering Design from Liberty, MO.