(UOnline is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)
Front Office Sports is proud to share the stories of UOnline alumni who have elevated their sports career by earning a graduate degree through the school’s online MSED in Sport Administration program.
After 15 years in the business of finance and mortgage, Keith Benz made the decision to pursue a career combining his passions of sales and sports. Benz earned a Master of Education in Sport Administration from the University of Miami’s UOnline program graduating in 2018.
“I woke up one morning and decided to do a 180,” Benz remembers. “I thought to myself ‘what makes the most sense?’ ‘Is there something where I can put my love of sports and my, you know, sports background and my sales background together?’ So I started looking into sports management and sports administration programs.”
Now currently in his second year working for the NFL’s Chicago Bears, Benz is a premium season ticket sales representative focused on selling permanent seat license season tickets. The personal nature of sales is what attracted Benz to the world of sales and what he still loves about it today.
“Working with mortgages, I was dealing with probably the biggest purchase and biggest transaction someone will make for the rest of their lives,” Benz says. “I really feel with sales that you have the ability to make the most impact on somebody’s life. It’s that opportunity that kept me within the sales aspect of anything I’ve done.”
In many ways, Benz’s work in the mortgage world and his current role with the Bears have allowed him to help people achieve their dreams.
“My favorite part of my current job is being able to walk in the doors of Halas Hall and feed off of the fans excitement,” he states. “For a lot of these people it’s a lifelong dream to become a Chicago Bears season ticket holder. It’s fun being able to reach out to them and have them achieve their goal of being a season ticket holder for the team they’ve rooted for since they were a little kid.”
Part of achieving success in sales is being able to relate to customers. Benz believes the wide variety of material covered at Miami improved his ability to do that in the context of sports.
“One of the things that really drew me to Miami was the vast experience of the faculty both in the sporting world as well as the business world,” Benz remembers. “I think that the ability of the professors to relate to everyone in the classes, especially me because obviously I’m a little older than the average student, was great. Miami was really kind of a full focus. I feel like I use things from each class that I took in every sales call and I use those things to really tailor my pitches to potential clients.”
The wide array of experience that Miami’s professors brought to the online classes allowed Benz to make a seamless transition into a career in professional sports. Because of the knowledge he gained from graduating from UOnline, Benz remembers this educational experience fondly.
“The biggest thing for me was that whether you’re earning that online or you’re in the classroom, it’s the same curriculum by the same professors at Miami. That’s top-notch,” Benz says. “The ability to do it on your own pace, but still having the same exact requirements as the on-campus program is priceless. That is what led me to Miami and it’s probably one of the best decisions I have ever made.”