As a big Philadelphia Flyers fan who is looking to learn about possible careers, economics and art double major Sara Sproul ’13 (South Abington Township, Pa.), was drawn to the opportunity to serve an externship with the team.
“I thought this would be an exciting opportunity to witness what goes on behind the scenes of a successful sports brand,” she says.
Sproul joined Adam Lucosky ’13 (Stroudsburg, Pa.), an anthropology and sociology major, Chris Rodrigues ’14 (West Easton, Pa.), a government & law and history double major; and Brandon Turner ’14 (Bay Shore, N.Y.), an economics major, in the job-shadowing experience. They were hosted by Shawn Tilger ’94, senior vice president of business operations for the Philadelphia Flyers/Comcast-Spectacor.
Tilger helped her see the importance of liking your work and networking in the industry.
“He spoke to us about the importance of doing something that makes you happy,” says Sproul. “Even if it’s not the best job financially, if you work hard and connect with people in the industry, you will be better off in the end. Although this idea is simple, I found it to be incredibly honest and inspiring coming from such a successful businessman. I hope that when I have my first job I will be able to say I am happy in the work I am performing.”
Sproul would like to have a career in marketing research, and her externship gave her more insight into successful brand marketing.
During her time with the Flyers, Sproul helped the team’s public relations department conduct a presentation for elementary school students. Although the topic was sportsmanship, the PR team made sure the Flyers brand was strongly associated, from giving out Flyers T-shirts, pucks, etc. to using Flyers players as examples in the presentation.
“All of this was done in order to introduce the kids to Flyers hockey and facilitate loyalty to the team. As a person trying to get a job in marketing, I found this to be an essential concept to understand since my main duties would involve performing strategies to influence buying behaviors,” Sproul says.
Turner, who plays on the men’s soccer team, was inspired by the elementary school presentation and is looking for ways to bring a version of it to Lafayette’s Athletes C.A.R.E. organization.
Turner is interested in a career in sports psychology, so getting a behind-the-scenes look at a professional sports organization was a good experience as he pursues his goals.
“This externship helped me solidify my career path in the detail,” he says.
Networking opportunities were a valuable part of the externship.
“I enjoyed that the multiple employees I talked to and came in contact with were extremely and sincerely honest with their advice on the career path process,” says Turner. “I learned that in order for you to love coming to work every day, you must actually love what you do. You must have passion for it.”
Tilger has participated in Career Services’ externship program for several years.
“We would like the students to take away a better understanding of how a professional sports and entertainment organization works,” he says. “There are many facets that have to work together to put the product on the ice. A lot of times, students are fans and don’t realize that beyond the actual playing of the game, we are running a business. While they are with us, we have them spend a day in a different department within our business model and by the end of the week, and hopefully seeing a game live—what they have seen throughout the week in the office makes more sense.”