During the fall semester, students in Karen Mattison’s Sport Management Senior Seminar have interviewed sport management alumni, written a paper summarizing a sporting event, prepared a flyer promoting the sport management major, discussed how the classes they have taken fulfill Erskine’s mission, and prepared a résumé. They recently took a short trip that inspired them.
Erskine College sport management majors got some advice from a professional when they traveled to Fluor Field in Greenville Oct. 21.
Assistant Professor of Business Administration Karen Mattison reports that her Sport Management Senior Seminar students met at Fluor Field with Nate Lipscomb, executive vice president of the Greenville Drive, a minor league baseball team. Lipscomb spoke about careers in sport management and led a tour of Fluor Field.
The Greenville Drive is a Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Fluor Field, opened as West End Field in 2006, is modeled after Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox.
Mattison said students in the seminar, a new class this year, have heard from several Erskine staff speakers this semester, including Coordinator for Student Transitions Trent Payne, who talked about résumés and careers, Associate Men’s Head Basketball Coach Drew Wallace, who told the story of his career, and Director of Human Resources Hope Harrison, who spoke about employee benefits and interview techniques.
The students expressed enthusiasm about what they learned from Lipscomb at Fluor Field.
“He made the point that to be successful in the sports business you need to be in it for more reasons than just because you like sports,” said Marlee Rhodes, a senior from Williamston. “Mr. Lipscomb emphasized how important it is to be able to market and talk to people.”
Caitlin Bullock, a senior from West Columbia, also cited Lipscomb’s stress on marketing as a key component of sports management. “I think the biggest thing I picked up from the tour was how important marketing is to keep the Greenville Drive alive,” she said.
Adrienne Bannerman, a senior from Watha, N.C., said taking the tour and hearing about the facility “allowed me to see what opportunities could be available for people with sport management degrees.”
The seminar students are currently “preparing a paper and presentation explaining their career goal and the steps they need to take to make it a reality,” Mattison said. The day at Fluor Field offered them a look at real-world sport management.
For Zach Smith, a junior from Lexington, “The tour of Fluor Field was a great experience and gave me some insight into the sports management field as a whole, and also into the Greenville Drive organization.”
Bannerman appreciated Lipscomb’s thoroughness in explaining what a career in sport management might entail and how students can enhance their preparation for it.
“He went through a whole list of jobs and duties employees had to tackle on a daily basis,” she said. “He told us it was important to start shadowing and interning for jobs we may be interested in during the year.”
Mattison noted that sport management majors are required to complete a one-hour field experience, which she describes as “sort of a mini internship,” as well as a three- or four-hour externship.
“The field experience allows them to spend 24 hours shadowing someone in a field in which they are interested,” she said. “The externship is usually completed during the January term of their junior or senior year. We encourage the students to work with someone off campus in their area of interest. Those interested in college coaching often work with some of Erskine’s coaches.”
Cody Dystart, a senior from Greenwood, takes a special interest in the Greenville Drive, and was encouraged by the talk and tour.
“I learned that as long as you are willing to work hard, then there is always going to be a job somewhere for you,” he said. “I attend games regularly each year, and it was very interesting to see how things worked behind the scenes. Merchandising, marketing, and a positive attitude go a long way in the Drive organization.”
Smith, too, is hopeful about his future in sport management. “I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and would love to work for an organization as successful as the Greenville Drive one day.”
Rhodes shares Smith’s optimism. “Visiting Fluor Field and meeting with Mr. Lipscomb was a great experience and I left feeling more confident about being prepared for life post-graduation.”