(*UOnline is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)
To advance within the sports industry, working professionals need an edge to ultimately achieve their goals. The University of Miami offers the chance to gain that advantage with an array of online graduate programs fit for working professionals in the 21st century through UOnline. 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 programs.
Deirdre Buchta received a Master’s in Education with a concentration in Sport Administration from UOnline in 2018. She is currently the Marketing Director for Sportsmonkey, a sports and fitness center in the Houston area that provides adult recreation leagues for a variety of sports.
With a full-time staff of just three people, Buchta finds herself doing a little bit of everything. She runs the company’s social media accounts, manages their email campaigns, and works to cultivate corporate sponsorships. Lately, Buchta has also found herself managing Sportsmonkey’s corporate wellness initiative, which consists of creating field days and other team-building events for companies in Houston. It’s the sponsorship side, however, that draws much of her interest.
“I like working with potential sponsors to create a partnership where they receive a good return on their investment and participants also receive something of value,” she says.
After finishing her undergraduate study at the University of South Carolina in 2015, Buchta was unsure of what she wanted to do specifically within sports. She ultimately was drawn to Sportsmonkey because of the organization’s dedication to treating sports as a means of socializing.
“Sportsmonkey is very focused on community building and the social aspect of sports and allowing people to create relationships,” she says. “I found that very appealing.”
In the fall of 2016, Buchta began to look for options to continue her education. She quickly found the program through UOnline, which came to be a natural fit.
“I love being in the sports industry and I wanted to do something that would allow me to grow within this career, particularly within marketing and sponsorship,” she says. “An online program made sense for me because I wanted to keep my job. UOnline seemed like a great program with a manageable class load, and it was very interactive.”
Part of each student’s grade in the master’s of sport administration program comes from whether or not they are active in class discussions or responding to the message board posts of their classmates. That element of the curriculum made Buchta feel engaged with her coursework as well as helped instill a sense of community. Interestingly enough, those two feelings are also telltale signs of a good fan experience, which benefitted Buchta in her full-time job at Sportsmonkey as well as in her part-time role as a marketing associate with the Houston Rockets.
“The marketing and sponsorship classes were very insightful,” Buchta says. “I learned a lot about creating a great fan experience from Windy Dees and the rest of the faculty. I’ve already used lessons from those classes in my role with the Rockets.”
By earning her graduate degree through UOnline, Buchta prepared herself for the next phase of her career in sports. She believes that anyone looking to do the same should consider one of UOnline’s programs.
“Through UOnline, you have professors who have worked in all different aspects of the sport industry. You get to interact with them one-on-one during and after the class. They’ll keep in touch with you. It’s a great resource for the short and long term, so it’s definitely worth your time and money.”