As the Sports MBA Class of 2018 heads into the home stretch of their in-class work, students have also been exposed to some great lectures from visiting guest speakers and alumni:
Chris Clark (SMBA ’12), founder of Shaper Studios here in San Diego, stopped by for a short series of lectures in entrepreneurship. Chris shared his real-life experience founding and maintaining a global brand, including the bumps in the road along the way. His lessons included exactly what should go into a business plan, how to prepare for a meeting with potential investors, and when to get going and get to work!
Alumni Jack Tipton (SMBA ’06), Mike Warkentin (SMBA ’13) and Amy Wesson (SMBA ’17) flew thousands of miles out to San Diego last week and shared their respective experiences in different facets of the hockey business – from Jack’s perspective selling corporate partnerships for the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, to Amy’s point of view from the other side of the sponsorship equation as an Account Specialist for PPG Paints, and the career lessons that Mike learned and shared with us on his way to becoming Director of Event and Entertainment Development at Northlands in Edmonton, AB.
Rounding it out for us was Chris Codington’s guest lecture in effective sports sponsorships. As President of the marketing consulting agency Sports Strategies, Chris shared some highlights and lessons learned from his 20+ years of experience in the industry, including exactly what goes into an effective and successful campaign.
We’re thankful for the time that these industry professionals took out of their busy schedules to come into the classroom and share some knowledge with us. We’ll definitely keep their lessons in mind as we fly towards the finish line of our final semester!
Julia Hernandez (SMBA ’18) spent the summer reading all 373 pages of MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement. She shares some of her newly-found knowledge with fellow classmates (and fellow baseball geeks) Drew Pomeroy and Forrest Lockwood, who add a few thoughts of their own.
These five Sports MBA graduates reunite to provide information about their careers, offer up some tips for the current Sports MBA class to get through the remainder of the program, and provide general advice for aspiring sports business professionals.
Neda Tabatabaie, Vice President of Business Intelligence with the San Jose Sharks, stopped by to talk about data management through CRM and how she has helped the Sharks become one of the most data-driven organizations in the NHL. Originally from Iran, Neda and her family moved to Toronto when she was young, which would ultimately lead to her entry into the sports world. She graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Toronto and landed her first gig as a Marketing Coordinator at Holt Renfrew, a high-end chain of retail stores in Canada. Much like anyone’s path into sports, hers was as unconventional as they come. Given her expertise in analyzing customer loyalty, Neda was exactly the candidate Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment were looking for. Upon her hiring in 2005, Neda was tasked to manage the CRM data at a time when very few sports organizations had adopted a CRM system. After years of successfully managing the CRM system for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Neda was hired on at KORE Software, one of the top CRM software providers on the market. As Vice President of Best Practices, Neda was able to help ensure KORE Software remained a leader in CRM data management. After a little over a year with KORE Software, Neda landed her current position with Sharks Sports and Entertainment as the Vice President of Business Intelligence. What Neda has been able to do for Sharks Sports and Entertainment is nothing short of amazing.
Her goal was to be able to use CRM to become more efficient with ticketing, sponsorship, and marketing. After accomplishing that goal, Neda was then able to integrate all the departments into the CRM system to ensure the entire organization operated more efficiently. The San Jose Sharks have now become a full digital ticketing organization; they have also significantly improved several aspects of the fan experience, with a better arena wi-fi system, more useful mobile app, and stronger content being posted on their social media outlets. Every single one of these improvements can be attributed to Neda Tabatabaie, as she has centralized every single department in the organization into one robust CRM system. Neda stated that her goal is always to “acquire fans through a holistic view of their behavior.” In doing so, her main focus is always on customer retention, which is the hardest task any organization faces.