(Ohio University is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)
The sports industry has always been a highly competitive field. The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic have only made this even more true.
The Ohio University Professional Master of Sports Administration (PMSA) program gives alumni the tools and knowledge to become leaders across college and professional sports even in uncertain times. Currently, 85% of the program’s graduates are employed in the industry.
Chase Jolesch, senior director of ticketing, premium & operations with the Vegas Golden Knights, graduated from the PMSA program in the spring of 2018. Jolesch believes that having a graduate degree is extremely important for sports professionals in today’s climate.
“Having a master’s degree from the #1 sports administration program in the country matters,” Jolesch said. “While this degree can help in the short term, where I believe it makes the biggest difference is based on your long-term career goals in the sports business industry.”
Lindsay LaBennett, senior manager at Wasserman, is another 2018 graduate of the program. She recalled how the program enabled her to provide strong leadership, be adaptable, and offer innovative ideas in her career.
“The faculty we engaged with who led our classes were top-notch educators, but also natural leaders,” LaBennett told Front Office Sports. “They challenged us in ways to help us grow, maintained expectations for our performance, while also giving us the autonomy to own the process. The best way of teaching can be by example. And professors like Dr. Heather Lawrence-Benedict and Professor Christina Wright set the tone and the standard.”
LaBennett also currently works alongside three other Ohio University alumni and regularly interfaces with other Ohio graduates in a professional setting. This is a testament to the strength and size of the PMSA program’s alumni network.
“I love that the OU alumni I engage with are always looking to help and build up each other. It’s all about reciprocity of support, which makes the relationships so meaningful,” she added.
On the program’s alumni network, Jolesch also had this to add:
“The future of sports business will not necessarily be the same once the dust settles. This is why it is valuable to have a strong network of like-minded individuals that you can rely on and support each other like the Ohio University alumni network.”
As the sports industry continues to evolve, a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the industry will be essential to surviving and excelling professionally. The PMSA alumni on the front line are a testament to this and feel ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.
“The advanced education provides sports industry professionals with the extra refinement and that deeper understanding of how our world is part of the larger business story,” LaBennett said. “Because I’ve obtained a graduate degree, I was in a position to become an adjunct professor at a local historically black college, which ultimately allowed me to give back in a way that goes beyond making network connections. The true value of the experience is about personal growth and alignment with a larger purpose.”