Teacher speaking to sports management students

The Main Difference in Sports Management Programs (and how to choose the right one)

By Brian Clapp | April 06, 2015
Georgetown Masters Sports Industry Management
Teachers like Nicola Murphy, Senior Director of Marketing at Octagon, provide a relevant learning experience for students at Georgetown University
Critics of Sports Management degree programs will often point out that the sports industry is a practical field, where experience is valued over an ability to craft research papers or translate irrelevant studies conducted by professors who are far removed from true experience themselves.

It’s a harsh criticism…which has merit.

Many programs in sports management have failed to intertwine a practical experience with a classroom one, instead focusing on tasks that don’t result in post-graduation work and ignoring those with the highest rate of success.

That is the frustration that many take with them after they enter the real world, repeating the refrain, “I wish I had chosen another major.”

Their frustration is real, their conclusion is wrong. It’s not the major, it’s the program you choose.

Take Georgetown University’s Masters in Sports Industry Management program for example – their courses are taught by active professionals with practical and current experience. They are able to relate information and teach with relevance, which greatly benefits students.

“We are very proud of our outstanding faculty, who inspire, challenge, and engage our students,” said Bobby Goldwater, Interim Associate Dean of the Sports Industry Management program. “The top-level sports executives who serve as our instructors are the backbone of our program and we are grateful for everything they do on the students’ behalf.”

Being taught by active participants of the sports business world doesn't just result in a top-notch education, it also helps bridge the gap to employment.

“I’m open and available to my students, if they are looking for connections in the industry I am more than happy to help them connect the dots,” says Nicola Murphy, Sr. Director of Marketing, Octagon and Georgetown Sports Industry Management faculty member.


You Have the Power


When you interview for jobs you are interviewing your potential employers just as much as they are interviewing you. You get to determine if they are your right fit, right culture, right title and provide the right career path.

The same is true when you choose an academic program, you have the power to choose if it is the right fit.

Study the faculty biographies of every school that interests you and discover what level of practical and relevant experience they have. If they are out of touch, or far removed from practical experience, your chances of graduating with the skills employers want diminish.

The starting line-up of faculty at Georgetown is an industry who's who: Vice Presidents in the NBA, Advisor to the Commissioner of MLB, NFL executives, financial leaders of sports conglomerates and more.

These are the people that can change your future.

The decision making pressure you face is real. Choose the wrong program, rooted in the wrong philosophy, and you have a strong chance of building debt rather than skills. Choose the right program, taught by industry leaders who are on the front lines of the sports industry daily, and you will build a foundation of knowledge and skills that employers want, and a network of contacts that can introduce you to real-world opportunity.

Now get out there and choose wisely.

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