Many of the women holding C-suite level positions are former athletes, demonstrating a clear correlation between sport and success in business. However, in the sports industry, professional women are far outnumbered by men.
To answer this question, we spoke with four women who work in the sports industry. Specifically, we asked for their advice on how women can start Successful Careers and ultimately succeed in today’s sport. Here are their biggest tips.
Choose a Complete Academic Program
For many, a sports-related degree marks the beginning of their journey in the sports industry. The professionals we spoke to all noted the importance of choosing a school with a strong curriculum, a wide range of work experience opportunities, and an active alumni network.
We offer specialized classes to meet changing industry demands, such as courses on gambling, esports, data and analytics, and the globalization of sports, says Windy Dees, Ph.D., a professor, and director of graduate programs at the University of Miami (UM).
Erin McNary, Ph.D., assistant professor of sports administration at the University of Miami, advises students to consider student-teacher ratios, faculty composition, and opportunities for exposure to the sports industry.
Find Ways to Explore the Sports Industry
The sports industry offers a variety of professional pathways. Exploring different roles early in your career can help you find your passion and where you are most likely to thrive. Caitlin Moyer, who spent two decades working in Major League Baseball (MLB), now runs her communications and marketing agency.
She recommends using internships, informational interviews and volunteer work to explore potential career paths. There are many ways to get involved in sports, from outreach, marketing, sponsorship sales, and ticket sales to working in finance, human resources, on the pitch and more.
Moyer realized he wanted to pursue a sports career during his baseball apprenticeship — and after trying several paths. That’s why internships are so valuable, he says. You learn what you want to do as well as what you don’t want to do before you go too far. You don’t have to chart your career path from the start — many people find what they like along the way.
See Internships as a Gateway to Employment
Internships are often seen as an important step towards a career in sports. Moyer, for example, credits his internship as the start of a successful career. Getting my foot in the door as an intern with an MLB team eventually led to nearly two decades with clubs in various capacities as I moved through the ranks.
It’s important to use your time as an intern to show your character and make connections. Adding experience to your resume is undoubtedly beneficial, but the impact you make on the people you work with can leave a lasting impression.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Network
While networking can be a great tool in any profession, all the women we spoke to emphasized that it is very important in the world of sports. The sports industry may seem big, but it’s very close-knit. If you are a kind, intelligent, hard-working person, those connections will come in handy in the future, and people will want to help you succeed.
It is common to meet the same people at different points in your career as you change organizations. Having existing connections can help you build a good reputation that will lead to new opportunities.