Alumni Week: Friday, September 11

On Friday, the SMBA ’16 class was treated to an all-star cast of alumni speakers. With diverse professional backgrounds and perspectives, the speakers provided the class with insights into their career paths and current day to day responsibilities in the sports world. Check out some of the highlights from the speakers below.

Michael Schwartz (SMBA ’14) – ESPN

Michael SchwartzMichael Schwartz (SMBA ’14) is currently a Production Researcher at ESPN in Bristol, CT. He has a background in Journalism and launched his sports career at ESPN after the SMBA program. As a researcher, Michael is responsible for answering any questions that arise before, during or after production of ESPN programs. He is the “go to” for producers- and even anchors- for information. Michael provides statistical analysis for scripts, graphics for television and game notes for crews calling live sporting events. Some of the highlights of Michael’s role include: seeing his work come to life on live TV, interacting with prominent sports personalities and being in the middle of the action analyzing sporting events as they happen.


Walter Franco (SMBA ’14) – Victus Advisors

Walter FrancoWalter Franco (SMBA ’14) is an Associate at Victus Advisors. Victus provides market research and financial advisory services for professional sports franchises, athletic departments, venues and events. Walter has used many tools from the SMBA program including marketing research techniques, in-depth statistical analysis and financial modeling. Walter provided some valuable insights into his experience working with various franchises and leagues for the SMBA students. One of his most important pieces of advice for the class was the importance of building and maintaining business relationships. He also emphasized providing quality service and in-depth, comprehensive analysis for clients.


Dan Scali (SMBA ’06) – Tiger Woods Foundation

Dan ScaliDan Scali (SMBA ’06) is currently the Director of Marketing and Corporate Partnerships at the Tiger Woods Foundation. The Tiger Woods Foundation manages six major events including three PGA Tour events. Dan discussed his day to day duties and the current evolution of the Quicken Loans National and Deutsche Bank Championship PGA Tournaments. Dan also discussed the current state of PGA events and their future as major sporting events for spectators of all backgrounds. One lesson Dan left with the SMBA class was the importance of telling the story “outside the ropes” at PGA events.



Jim Steeg (Special Guest)

Jim SteegThe SMBA class was privileged to have special guest Jim Steeg speak in multiple sessions over two days. Jim spent over 30 years as an executive in the NFL and most recently served on the CSAG in San Diego. Jim is widely credited for transforming the Super Bowl into the international mega-event it is today. While on campus with the SMBA class, Jim discussed a variety of topics from his experience in the NFL, his recent work with the CSAG and Los Angeles’ recent Olympic bid. Here are some key concepts the SMBA class took away from Jim’s time with the cohort:


  • Strive for excellence – critique yourself and always review, reflect and learn from your experiences
  • Events serve a purpose – always remember that events exist to create lasting memories for fans and participants
  • Build lasting connections – provide opportunities for people, cultivate personal relationships, communicate clearly and thank everyone for their efforts


The SMBA class was delighted to host all of the speakers and gained invaluable experience from the discussions they led.