Greta Swift, a sophomore sport management major from Chittenango, New York, shared her internship experiences with attendees the 2016 Dean's Development Council. Swift will graduate with a bachelor's degree in the spring of 2018. She also plans on getting her MBA and eventually a doctorate in sport management.
Swift currently works for Learfield Sports as a Texas A&M Sport Property Assistant. She is also involved with an undergraduate research study that inquires about the process of adding a sport to a school's NCAA-sponsored sport listing.
Since her freshman year at Texas A&M, Swift has participated in three sport management sponsored internship programs. She interned with the FCS Championship game in January 2015 and 2016, as a marketing intern for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic in December 2015 and as an intern for the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four in April 2016.
What impact did your internships have on your growth/development?
Working for the NCAA Final Four and other internships taught me that my education is valuable in this industry. This was a maturing point for me because prior to these internships, I treated my education like another thing on my to-do list. It was just another series of tasks I had to complete in order to satisfy my parents and move forward with my life. Through these internships, I realized that acquiring my education was absolutely essential to success in my desired career. If I want to have a job I enjoy I realized I have to work hard in school to earn these positions. Essentially, I learned that education is my gateway to a satisfactory career. Not only have these internships motivated me to excel in my learning, they also have given me the opportunity to network and get to know sport industry professionals who embody the characteristics that enable success in the business. The people I’ve met have acted as role models for me. For example, I met Carrie Snyder, a NCAA Final Four Employee, who was charged with coordinating and executing the entire event. She presented herself to be hardworking, structured, businesslike, organized and sharp. She was quick on her feet and prepared when unforeseen issues appeared. She was an excellent problem solver and that’s what I now aspire to be.
How did your internship enrich your educational experience? Did it help solidify your career ambitions?
Each internship I have participated in has acted as an excellent supplement to my education at TAMU. I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned in class and apply it to the internships and vice versa. While interning with the Final Four, I was able to apply my knowledge about the sociology of sports during the mascot contest to explain to fans why schools have mascots. Also, the knowledge I acquired from my internships has helped assist me in developing business model projects. As I acquire each internship, it creates a snowball effect that leads me to more jobs, volunteer and internship opportunity. This snowball effect is created by the knowledge I acquire and the people I meet while on the job. For example, I met an NCAA employee at the FCS Championship game (Amanda) that introduced the group of interns to the opportunity with the Final Four. Sport Industry is a very experience-oriented field and these experiences provided to me through my major are securing a better future. When applying to grad school, these internships will stand out on my resume and set me apart from the pool of applicants. These opportunities also taught me I still have a lot to learn about the sport business world before I actually dive in and make a real impact on the industry. My yearning for more knowledge and understanding of the industry has even inspired me to declare a minor in communications.
How did your internship lead to transformative experiences?
I became a sport management major because I knew I was a business-oriented person and that I loved sports. Starting out my freshman year at TAMU, I had no idea if I would graduate with the same major I started with. I wasn’t sure if sport management was the right fit for me but the internships I participated in since have solidified my choice and set me down the perfect path. Starting with my first internship in January 2016 with the FCS Championship Game, I was the only freshman on a team of mostly graduate students. Being the youngest, it felt like I was doing something right and it was motivating. What ensured me that I was in the right field was when I was on the field when North Dakota State University won the championship game and the crowd stormed the field. The energy in that stadium was so incredible that I couldn’t stop smiling. It didn’t matter what team had won or lost to me but the fact that I helped make this experience happen was amazing. That feeling I had there alone solidified my future in sports. After that internship, I began dedicating myself to school and applying to every opportunity possible because I wanted to have that feeling again. Most recently, I interned with the NCAA Final Four, my most recognizable gig yet, and found that feeling when I was coordinating a charity Hardwood Heroes Game and saw the appreciation in the player’s faces for the opportunity. The sport industry isn’t about creating sports; it’s about creating the experience. I know I’m in the right field because I love creating the experience and I wouldn’t have learned this if I hadn’t participated in the TAMU sponsored internships.