SportBusiness International asked the providers of the top three ranking postgraduate courses in North America about the secrets of their success.
1. Ohio University | Master of Sports Administration
Norm O’Reilly, Chair, Department of Sports Administration
SBI: Why are Ohio’s alumni so successful in securing full-time employment in the industry?
NO: “Ohio University’s MSA programme is the No.1-ranked programme in the world and has been for five of the past six years, because it offers our graduates a tremendous platform to enter the industry. In almost every one of those years we have had 100-per-cent placement in the industry shortly after graduation.
“We are housed in a nationally-ranked business school that preaches balance between teaching and research. We focus on hard and soft skills. This is coupled with the fact that our faculty must be contain thought leaders and be industry-engaged, so that those providing the training are of the highest quality.”
SBI: How will you build on your success?
NO: “We’re increasing the quality of our programmes, adding rigour to our curriculum, enhancing our faculty, internationalising our programmes, students and research, and driving our resource base through our department’s AECOM Center for Sports Administration.”
2. University of Massachusetts Amherst | Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management – MBA/MS Sport Management
Steve McKelvey, Associate Professor, Associate Department Chair & Graduate Programme Director
SBI: What does your institution offer to individuals seeking a career in the sports industry?
SM: “Given the hyper-competitiveness of breaking into the sports industry, contacts and connections are critical assets. As the second oldest sport management programme in the world, our students have direct access to arguably the largest and broadest alumni network in the industry.
"Through professional development trips, guest speakers and our graduate mentorship programme, our students have many touchpoints with our 3,500-plus alums who work across a multitude of sports industry segments.”
SBI: Where do your alumni end up working?
SM: “As our alumni network is across so many industry segments, we see our graduates going into a wide range of sectors.
"By design, each year we have a very competitively-selected and small cohort – our MS classes average about 22 students – and on average about 25 per cent of our students are international, but always representing a variety of countries, global perspectives and sport systems that always add value and insight to class discussions and curricular activities.”
3. George Washington University | MBA in Sport Management
Lisa Delpy Neirotti, Director, Sport Management Programmes
SBI: What is the purpose of the programme?
LDN: “The programme is designed to provide students with the practical skills needed for success in the field, including courses in marketing, media, law and facilities management. In addition to our experienced full-time faculty, students learn from and have the opportunity to meet senior industry professionals.
"Our success is built on a personal approach for each student and on integrating into the curriculum knowledge, practice and networking.”
SBI: What opportunities are available to your students?
LDN: “For most course assignments, students do real work for real clients, gaining knowledge as they acquire experience and contacts. We also offer off-campus experiential courses during which students go behind the scenes for a different view of sport sectors.
"These courses include focuses on mega-events, such as the Olympic Games and World Cup; Major League Baseball marketing and player development in China; sport globalisation and Japan; corporate social responsibility in action sports; and a course on the evolving sports footwear and apparel industries.
"We continue to look for new developments and disruptions in the marketplace, and adapt the curriculum. For example, we offer courses in the Business of eSports and also Sport Philanthropy.”
FURTHER READING - SportBusiness Postgraduate Course Rankings 2017
- Overview - Established schools continue to set the course
- Top 40 courses
- Europe - Leading the way in times of change
- Future course - How schools are embracing sport’s brave new world
- Emerging markets - When will developing regions make the grade?
- Data - Sports masters in numbers
- Data - Career prospects for graduates
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