Next month, nine students from Shenandoah University’s Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, to gain invaluable work experience during the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game.
While the top two teams in college football battle for the championship, the students, who are all members of the Sport Business Club (SBC), will work with and learn from the organizers of this event, which in 2017 drew more than 74,000 attendees and 26 million TV viewers.
Over the course of their time in Atlanta, which runs from Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, through Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, the group will work several events in the days leading up to the game, as well as during the game itself, which is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. The students will work directly with representatives from the Atlanta Football Host Committee.
The students will gain experience by observing and learning from professionals while performing tasks related to media credentialing, hospitality and fan experience, as well as additional tasks at Playoff Fan Central, Taste of the Championship, and the VIP section of Playoff Playlist Live on the day of the championship game.
“The mission of the Sport Business Club is to provide its members with invaluable experience and knowledge within the field of sport management,” said master of business administration student and SBC President Casey Edsall ’16, ’18. “This trip will give us real-world experience and allow us to see how sport management professionals organize and operate one of the largest sport events in the world.”
The nine students, led by Assistant Dean of Student Affairs & Professor of Sports Management Fritz G. Polite, Ph.D., include Edsall, as well as: master of business administration student and SBC director of finances Jacob Shaffer ’18; senior sport management major and SBC director of administration Malik Henry ’18; senior sport management major and SBC director of events Brigitte “Kit” Gould ’18; sophomore sport management & marketing major and SBC director of marketing Jared Lowry ’20; sophomore mass communication major and SBC director of communications Mariah Graves ’20; senior sport management major Weldon Gilchrist, Jr. ’18; junior sport management major Michael Nguyen ’19; and freshman sport management major Jason Euman ’21.
“As a soon-to-be MBA graduate, I believe that this experience will set me apart as I enter the job market,” said Shaffer. “Having the opportunity to volunteer at the College Football Playoff National Championship will not only provide me with the knowledge and tools to understand what it takes to succeed in the industry, but it will allow me to network with principled leaders who share the same passion for sports as I do.”
This is the second year that a group from Shenandoah will travel to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, as Edsall and Henry worked last year’s game in Tampa, Florida.
“The game in Tampa Bay was an amazing experience, as I got to work with an extraordinary group of people and the media credentialing staff,” said Henry. “I am excited to take my previous experience and build on it in the new $1.6 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Last year, we were the only school outside the state of Florida to work with the organizers, and am very thankful for these opportunities that I would not have gotten at another university in the area.”
This year, Edsall, Shaffer and Dr. Polite have organized the trip, which was offered via an application process because of extensive student interest. Sport Business Club members applied for the trip by submitting a cover letter and resume; a group interview narrowed the pool to the final students.
“The application and interview process was eye opening for me because of the many well-rounded, qualified candidates with whom I was competing,” said Gould. “In the long run, this benefited me, as it’s exactly the kind of process I will face when I leave school to pursue a career. Getting the experience now directly correlates to improving for the future.”
The SBC is committed to providing students with experiential learning opportunities, and the trip to the 2018 College Playoff National Championship just one of many learning opportunities for SBC members as well as the students at the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business. Edsall, Henry, Gould, Lowry, Graves and Nguyen will develop more sport management experience when they join Polite and other Shenandoah University students and faculty to work the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea in February.