News

January 28, 2010

Robert Fargnoli ’12 Gets a Taste of the Big Leagues

Economics and business major writes about his externship with Dave Buck ’86 at the Philadelphia Phillies

Economics and business majors Robert Fargnoli ’12 (Garden City, N.Y.) and Lisa O’Donnell ’12 (Roslyn, Pa.) spent two days over the winter break as externs with Dave Buck ’86, senior vice president of marketing and advertising sales for the Philadelphia Phillies. Fargnoli is an outfielder on the College’s NCAA Division I baseball team, and O’Donnell plays on the women’s lacrosse team.

This January, I was fortunate enough to have a two-day externship working with the Philadelphia Phillies. Alumnus Dave Buck has worked for the Phillies since the summer he graduated from Lafayette in 1986. Mr. Buck was a great externship host who made us feel comfortable from the minute we arrived. He answered all of the questions we had about his career and workplace, as well as provided us with insight in regard to the benefits and drawbacks of a position such as his.

A benefit of his kind of profession is the work environment. You arrive each day at the ballpark instead of a generic office building, and if you love sports and baseball, it is exactly where you want to be. A drawback is that the summer, when many people are at the beach or vacationing, is the busiest time for club employees. They often must work 13 or 14 hour days when the team has a home game and baseball is a sport where it is commonplace for a team to play seven days in a row. Mr. Buck now oversees the entire marketing department after beginning as an intern with the Phillies.

We began the first day by taking a tour of Citizens Bank Park, which has been the home of the Phillies since 2004. Aside from the standard tour fans can see, such as the Phillies locker room, dugout, press boxes, et cetera, we had access to the executive floor which contains the marketing, sales, and financial/accounting departments. For a good portion of the externship, I worked with Maggie Ebert, advertising sales coordinator.

Ms. Ebert introduced us to numerous people who work in various departments. We met a few members of the sales department, one of whom worked with group ticket sales. Jerry O’Connor, a club sales representative, gave valuable advice on getting into the sports business industry. One thing he stressed was the importance of developing relationships with many different people because you honestly never know where it will lead.

Not only does this help with acquiring a job, but for his position it is critical for him to foster friendly relationships with customers and maintain those relationships over time. In addition to this, he suggested considering Minor League teams as well as teams that are located all over the country, as flexibility and willingness to work in many places can open a lot of doors.

One of the tasks I was asked to perform was to put together packages for their corporate sponsors. The kind of work I was doing is fairly typical for interns as everyone pays their dues so to speak before they land a more attractive position with the organization. In addition to summer internships, I learned that the Phillies and other organizations have a graduate internship program in which approximately five to eight college graduates work for a full year with pay and benefits. At the end of the year generally one or two of the interns are offered a full time position.

Sports have been my greatest passion since I can remember, and baseball far above all other sports. I would be thrilled to work for any professional sports organization, so being able to see behind the scenes of a top Major League Baseball team was an unbelievable opportunity.

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