Earn The Master's Degree Sports Employers Respect

By Brian Clapp | September 26, 2017
smu master's in sport managementEach calendar year U.S. colleges and universities award approximately 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees, an artful piece of paper delivered with a handshake and framed for a lifetime spent on parent’s walls.

But after the handshake, most in graduating glory begin to hear the clock ticking in their head.

Like a stopwatch racing towards zero, the crowd in gowns begin to realize that in just a few moments the celebration is over and the next phase of their life begins.

This is where confusion takes hold for many.

Unsure whether to head out into the workforce, or pursue an advanced education in the form of a master’s degree, a large segment of each graduating class forgets to ask themselves the most basic of questions: Why?

Should I Pursue a Master’s?


If your idea to go to graduate school is to push off the inevitable requirement of entering the real world, that is a mistake. A master’s degree isn’t a distraction from reality—it’s a program designed to train the elite, to go deeper into subject matter and be tested like an undergraduate degree couldn’t begin to do.

But, if you have a plan, an idea of how the right master’s program can get you to a higher career level, well, now you are on to something. Which brings us to your next pressing question – how do you decide on the right master’s program? There are options everywhere across the nation, and online, so how do you choose?

Here’s a hint: The sports industry is a multi-billion dollar business, and while many view it as just another form of entertainment, it is an amalgamation of organizations challenged by the advanced rules of business, with a dash of the event based excitement that makes sports unique.

“An aspiring sport management executive should choose SMU over another M.S. Sport Management program because our program offers a rigorous, interdisciplinary program with the Cox School of Business,” says SMU Director of Sport Management, Peter Carton. “Our program is taught by some of the best business and sport management professors in the U.S.”

Let’s unpack that statement a little, shall we?

We’ve already determined that sports are a business, a huge one at that, but this statement implies that many sport management programs don’t focus on, or aren’t intertwined with, a business curriculum.

Surprisingly enough, this is true in many instances.

SMU Masters of Science in Sports Management
Only 20 students are accepted each year into this one of a kind learning experience
Many sport management graduate programs focus on teaching the business of sports without focusing on the business side of that phrase. Some programs lean on leadership training, or focus on research, while skirting the deep business teachings required to advance in today’s sports industry.

Take a look at the background of many of the current general managers in sports – many, if not all, of them have educational backgrounds with traditional business focuses like economics, analytics and statistics.

As a student in the SMU master’s in sport management program, you can bet there is a focus on the business in sports. In addition to utilizing the Cox School of Business, ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the top three MBA programs in the nation*, the MSSM program at SMU takes an experiential approach – understanding that students need to get out of the classroom and apply what they are learning in a real-world environment.

Location also plays a major role in the success of the SMU program, as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex harbors some of the biggest names in the sports industry, ranging from professional sports teams to marketing and sponsorship agencies.

“The SMU name provides a powerful network, and our location in one of the most dynamic and growing cities in the U.S. provides the type of sport management experiences and opportunities that top sports executives find critical to career success,” adds Carton.  “Abundant outside of the classroom field trips and world-class business internship and career opportunities are minutes away from campus in the 5th largest sports market in the U.S. where SMU maintains deep institutional and faculty connections.”

There are specific skills in high demand in the sports industry, and the SMU MSSM program goes to great lengths to ensure they are delivering an education that will result in a positive career for their graduates. A deep emphasis on business principles, sports facility management, negotiation, sponsorship, sales, case studies and more helps students stand out from the employment pack.

Acceptance into this program is competitive, with only 20 students enrolled per year. This allows for a very personalized and hands-on educational experience. Preference is given to those with 2-3 years of sports industry experience along with solid undergraduate GPAs and GMAT scores.

*the statistic cited from Bloomsberg Businessweek is based on students surveyed

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