The day I walked into my first Sports Management class at Seton Hill University (NOT SETON HALL), I was feeling extremely confident and ready to learn how to become a famed super agent. I took a seat near the front anxiously awaiting Dr. Robert Zullo's arrival. As he entered and began to go over the syllabus, I quickly realized this wasn't the course I thought it would be. There weren't going to be any lessons in contract negotiations and there were going to be zero case studies about how to garner endorsement deals, instead this was going to be a class about the business of sports. Not QUITE what I expected, but hey, definitely better than my accounting class.
As the semester progressed, Dr. Zullo taught the many disciplines of sports management to the class; event management, sports marketing, coaching and collegiate athletics just to name a few. I remember being amazed by the number of career paths available to pursue in the sports industry. As a kid I never thought about who made sure we had adequate fields to play on or who provides the scoreboards I gazed at during a game or even who coordinates the performers for the many halftimes we used as bathroom breaks when the Washington Wizards were losing by 20. Although I was fascinated by all the new information I was learning, I still yearned to learn more about my intended career path. Sure I could google "How to become a Sports Agent" and find some general information but how was I going to know how agents recruited clients or how to persuade companies to "show me the money?" Little did I know, the answer to that question was in the Syllabus all along.
"What is an informational interview?" I asked with a perplexed look on my face, meanwhile Dr. Zullo's trademarked mischievous smile was changing the complexion of the room. He went on to explain that each of the students would be required to contact a minimum of 10 professionals in our intended career path, interview them and begin to cultivate professional relationships. Like most of my classmates I assumed this assignment to be a waste of time, how would this help me learn how to be an agent? Though reluctant, I began to attack this assignment and I quickly realized its value. Not only were these informational interviews a tool to grow my professional network, but it was a way to gain insights from professionals whom were actually working in my career field! Who would've thought that there was actually some benefit to a class assignment?! The first informational interview, led to a series of informational interviews (stay tuned for my informational interview Blog series coming soon) that's helped me develop a growing professional network to this day. In Part 3, I'll tell you about the informational interview that's changed my life and given me the opportunity to achieve my dreams.