Nothing beats experience and that is why the value of internships is the key to success in Sports Administration.
Landing your dream career in the field of Sports Administration can be nearly as tough as landing one on the sporting field itself. There are limited spaces to fill and only the best of the best will make it.
As the Program Coordinator for Masters of Arts in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Brandon Urry makes sure his students stand out from the crowd by focusing on the “people side”. Something he has role modelled himself over the years.
“I have witnessed numerous friends and classmates apply to countless jobs within the sports industry only to receive rejection after rejection. The position I hold now was the only one I applied to out of graduate school. I had to be better than 99% of the candidates to be given this opportunity,” Mr Urry said.
“I take tremendous pride in the growth of our program. I love what I get to do!” he said.
Only in its third year, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Master’s Program is much sought after, and in his role, Mr Urry gets the unique vantage point of getting to know his students as prospects, then students and then alumni.
“College athletics can be a very small field to be a part of and being able to connect with others will help my students not only succeed and move up throughout their career, but to be much more effective in their day-to-day environments,” Mr Urry said.
“They will rely on the specific experiences and skills they receive within their respective graduate assistantships in the College of Business and the Department of Athletics to help them launch a successful career in the industry,”
“We guarantee *full-funding* for students for both years of the program through graduate assistantships in both the College of Business and the Department of Athletics. These GA positions provide a tuition waiver, a monthly stipend and a cover portion of health insurance for each student. Guaranteeing *full-funding* for all students of a graduate program in this field is rare,”
“And we have such a focused experience into the field of athletic administration. There is a very strong relationship here at Nebraska between athletics and academics, something that is not common everywhere. Both parties equally share in the success of the program,” he said.
Mr Urry said it was incredibly fulfilling to watch the educational and career progression of his students play out each day.
“I specifically look forward to making the “offer” phone calls to the twelve students we admit each year because of the raw, emotional and relieved reactions I hear. It’s special to be part of a moment they will remember the rest of their lives,” he said.
When setting out on the road of discovery himself, Mr Urry originally wanted to work in sports broadcasting but after interning within the industry soon decided his place needed to be interacting with students on a university campus.
“I obtained a master’s degree in sport management from Cal State Long Beach and while there worked as a graduate assistant for the program,” he said. “As I was coming up to graduation, this program at Nebraska was beginning and my wife and I decided it would be an excellent fit for not only my skills and abilities, but our family as well.”
“Not only is the brand of Nebraska Athletics well-known and respected throughout the country, our college is proud to be a member of the Big Ten Conference. Our campus has an extremely unique and collaborative culture which transcends to the entire state. If you’ve ever been to Nebraska, you know that Husker pride runs very deep throughout all parts of the university and state.”
It was as a young broadcast journalism student that Mr Urry discovered the importance of internships and practical experiences and how this, along with getting the people side right, set students up for success.
“I noticed how much time outside of class the most successful students were putting into internships and practical experiences. I call them successful because these were the students who went on to get positions in a very competitive industry. I knew that if I wanted to be successful in those terms, I’d have to apply myself outside of class just as much as them, if not more, and that’ exactly what I did in my graduate program,” Mr Urry said.
“Within 18 months I obtained a master’s degree, worked as a sports information assistant in an athletic department, completed two other internships, worked many one-off events and built a network that has ultimately led me to where I am today.”
“If we don’t try, we don’t do and if we don’t do, why are we here on this earth?”
And now, Mr Urry prides himself on giving his students the same opportunities and the resources they need to truly succeed. More than that, he instils in them a “no fear” mantra.
“What advice would I give someone starting out in their sport management career? Eliminate fear. Never be afraid to take a chance. Never be afraid to meet people. Get used to living outside your “comfort-zone”. Always be building your network. Capitalize on opportunities: volunteer, intern, shadow and conduct informational interviews often. Use every moment you are not in-class to be gaining experience as a professional. Experience is gold within the sports management world – obtain as much as you can,” he said.
Mr Urry uses the Athlete Assessments Sports ManagerDISC Profile in his classes and believes the personal insight, education and knowledge that the DISC Profile Assessments provide, along with class sessions with Bo, has helped his students become much more aware of their capabilities.
“I have really enjoyed working with Athlete Assessments over the last few years. Despite being located on the other side of the globe from, the team are very responsive, extremely personable and you can tell they care about and enjoy the work they do,” Mr Urry said.
“I have my students use their Sports ManagerDISC Profile Assessment each week to explain why they feel they would/would not be a good fit for the area of athletics our weekly guest speaker is from. It’s helped the students better understand how they function best and why that is. Also, it’s helped them to determine why they should go after a career in a specific area within athletics, not just because they want to try it out,”
“It’s been nothing but a pleasure working with Bo, Liz and the rest of the Athlete Assessments staff. I’m extremely happy to work with them and looking forward to continuing our partnership in the future.”
What do the students have to say?
“The opportunities I have to work hard and to learn come every single day. I have been challenged, grown and been successful. Nebraska gave me everything I needed to really have a future in intercollegiate athletics.”
John McCaig, 2nd year MAIAA student
“There really is no place like Nebraska. The unique MAIAA program integrates the business school and the athletic department to provide a world class education as well as experience in a Big Ten department of athletics.”
Brenna Boulanger, 2nd year MAIAA student
“The competitive graduate assistantship offered to students in the program was the number one reason I chose Nebraska. Nowhere else are you offered a debt-free education with hands-on, front row experience in an athletics department.”
Sean Bourke, 1st year MAIAA Student
“The connections, experiences and resources an athletic department such as Nebraska’s brings to the table are invaluable and provided the best opportunity for me to grow both personally and professionally.”
Cameron Wilson, Assistant AD for events at Marshall Athletics and MAIAA Alum
“Nebraska is a recognizable brand in the world of intercollegiate athletic and I knew that I would receive the highest level of instruction that would in turn lead to career success.”
Ben Wheeler, Olympic Education Coordinator at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and MAIAA Alum
About Brandon Urry
Brandon Urry joined the UNL College of Business Administration in July 2014 as Program Coordinator for the Master of Arts in Business in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration (MAIAA) program. In his capacity as program coordinator, he is responsible for marketing the program on a national level to recruit a diverse and highly talented pool of candidates. He oversees program admissions, advises current students, leads the program seminar course (GRBA 898 – The Administration of Intercollegiate Athletics) and coordinates the internship program with the Nebraska Athletic Department. In addition he advises current and incoming students in UNL’s highly-ranked MBA program.
Where to from here?
Brandon Urry uses Athlete Assessments’ Academic Program as part of their curriculum in their Masters of Arts in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Whether you teach Sport Management, Sport Coaching, Sport and Health Sciences or Sports Psychology, provide your students with the skills which differentiate them when they enter the competitive sports industry. The success of your students reflects the success of your University Academic Program and we want to help you achieve success on all fronts.
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