For Michael Kelley ’14 (Westfield, N.J.), it’s his dream to make his career working for a professional sports team. By spending the summer interning with New York Islanders, he made a major step toward fulfilling that dream.
“Going to sporting events my whole life, I always thought it would be an amazing job to be able to work behind the scenes with a sports team,” says Kelley, a double major in economics and psychology. “Meeting Islanders staff members and players was a special experience and allowed me to gauge the personality of the organization. I am now a big fan of both the Islanders players and the staff as a whole. It is truly a special organization.”
Kelley participated in the Islanders’ nine-week rotational internship program, in which he spent three weeks in group sales, three in ticket operations, and three in merchandise. He also worked with the communications department, writing articles for the website and covering events such as rookie mini camp and the NHL Draft.
For Kelley, who aspires to a career in the sports industry, this internship provided a real-life taste of the business end of running a sports franchise, as well as a lesson in office etiquette and behavior.
“This summer has really helped me gain experience in how to best and most effectively work with my co-workers in an office setting. With my dream of working in sports still strong, it was also important to adapt myself to the fast-paced environment of the sports industry,” he says.
He was somewhat surprised by how interconnected the front office is.
“It is a full group effort behind the scenes to produce the final product on the ice. Seeing that final product skate out in front of the crowd is extremely cool,” he says.
Kelley had many opportunities to listen to presentations from everyone from the general manager to the director of merchandise, from the strength coach to entry-level employees.
“Learning more about their jobs in depth gave me a lot more knowledge of what it takes to work in sports,” he says.
Kelley’s internship was supported by Career Services’ Class of 2012 stipend, which provides students with $1,500 for expenses.