From Internship to Dream Job

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: January 28, 2011

Internships are about more than making copies and brewing coffee. They serve as a springboard into the real world of business. Texas A&M University former student Hannah Matthews '10 knows this firsthand.

The sport management major landed an internship with the Fiesta Bowl organization after she graduated last August. "I knew I was interested in sports and considered doing marketing in the business school, but looking into sport management I realized it was a better fit for what I wanted to do," Hannah says.

Internships have changed. Gone are the days of filing and sorting. Now interns are responsible for major events and programs, and given the responsibilities once reserved for paid staff. Hannah's involvement extended to operations with the Fiesta Bowl, Insight Bowl and the BCS National Championship.

The Fiesta Bowl organization also hosts more than 40 community events throughout the year.

"I worked in event operations," Hannah says. "I helped with the Northern Arizona University Volleyball Tournament in September and the Million Dollar Hole-in-One golf event in November. I also ended up being in charge of over 2,000 participants and 400 volunteers in the Fiesta Bowl Parade. Hannah learned about working with caterers and vendors, and holding games for kids. "Even with the VIP party for the parade, they tell you that this is your event and here's your $40,000 budget," Hannah says.

"They trust you to take on a lot and not have to look over your shoulder all the time."

On game days, her department was in charge of pregame events, including "College Football's Biggest Party," a massive pregame tailgate for the Fiesta Bowl and National Championship. Over 21,000 tickets were sold for the event, and Hannah was in charge of the VIP area, with more than 5,000 attendees.

The work was hard, with long days, but Hannah believes it was worth it. "It's hard because you have to come in and learn everything," Hannah says. "But then I've learned so much and met so many people. It's been an invaluable experience."

While interning, Hannah continued to network in hopes of finding a full-time position. Her work at the Fiesta Bowl got her noticed by the Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets.

"I literally did the interview in my car because I was out at the pregame site working," Hannah says.

After a phone interview and a final interview in Houston, she was offered a position with the Toyota Center. She starts as the event services coordinator this February. Hannah will be working with the Houston Rockets (basketball), the Houston Aeros (hockey) and special events that are hosted at Toyota Center.

Eventually Hannah wants to move into the sponsor activation world of sports, acquiring sponsorships for events and facilities, and catering to the needs of those sponsors. For now, she's excited about the decisions she's made so far and is a proponent of the internship process.

"I've applied for jobs that want years of experience, but because of my internships, they believe I can do it even though I just graduated six months ago," Hannah says. "Plus, the interns I worked with are from all over the country, and now we are spreading to different areas. Those are connections I'll have for the rest of my life."