(Sacred Heart University is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)
When entering the business world, few recent graduates have the benefit of being a former Division I student-athlete. Fewer still have the benefit of learning from a world-class MBA program. Kiana Ye has had both.
Ye completed her undergraduate course work at Sacred Heart University in 2018 while also playing for the school’s basketball team. When the NCAA granted her an extra year of eligibility, Ye enrolled in the MBA program to hone her skills off of the court.
The experience of balancing athletics and academics gave the guard from Williamstown, NJ a good idea of what to expect in the realm of business, where she now works as an account manager in sporting goods sales for Capelli Sport, where she works with a number of youth and professional soccer clubs all around the world.
“Every day I walk into work and get tasks from my supervisor and right away I see the importance of time management,” Ye said. “ I look at the rest of my coworkers and I see there’s a big separation of collegiate athletes and those that didn’t play sports in college in terms of efficiency. I put a lot of pressure on myself and because I’m just so used to the professional atmosphere my coaches created and that has helped me a lot in the real world.”
Ye’s familiarity with the school’s Welch College of Business & Technology gave her confidence to pursue an MBA and a good idea of what to expect from the curriculum.
“I knew our MBA program was tremendous and it was expedited. It had everything I needed. I was already familiar with some of the professors. In undergrad, I loved all the faculty and just being on campus. So why not spend another year? I will never look back and think ‘I should have gone somewhere else for grad school.’ I am so blessed to have the opportunity to graduate with a master’s degree from Sacred Heart.”
The individualized attention Sacred Heart provided made completing the program that much easier, Ye said.
“The student-to-professor ratio is great,” Ye said. “There you have a lot of attention from the professors because you have maybe 15 to 20 students max in on class. Their office hours are always available and you have a lot of one-on-one attention where you can actually learn and pursue the degree that you want without wasting your money.”
Ye also found the program’s Capstone Project, where students create a product and present a marketing and sales caset, to be very relevant for her current industry.
“Working in sales now, I use a lot of what I learned in how to market to our customers,” Ye said. I always look back on my capstone course and think of how I can apply those lessons to the real world and day-to-day communication with my customers.”
Students pursuing a career within the sports industry may be concerned that they need a sport-specific degree to achieve their goals. As Ye can attest, this is not the case.
“I don’t think that it matters,” Ye said. “My coworkers all come from different academic and professional backgrounds. Once you get that first big job, you’re learning from day one and then it’s a day-to-day situation. How do you approach it and how can you learn from it? So it’s about experience, more than anything.”
Because of the learning opportunities presented by Sacred Heart’s MBA program, students enter the workforce ready to contribute to the workforce very quickly, regardless of their professional history.