Alumni Week: Wednesday, September 9

As our Cohort XI group of the Sports MBA program at San Diego State University embark on their third semester on campus, we now find ourselves a little more than halfway through the program… where’d the time go by?!

Fortunately for us last week, we were able to meet and interact with several recent alumni from the SMBA program who found success both during and after their days in the program on campus. We were very fortunate that some of these esteemed alumni were able to make time out of their busy schedules to come into Room 206 on Wednesday, September 9th.

Matt Hiler (SMBA ’10) – Business Development at Team Work Athletic

matt hilerThe first alumnus up was Matt Hiler, who currently works at Team Work Athletic in the Business Development department. He immediately got our attention by showing us a video produced by Gary Vaynerchuk, a self-made entrepreneur. The video can be seen at this link:

Hiler emphasized Vaynerchuk’s point that in order to become successful; don’t be afraid to hustle as needed, do our research in advance, work on bolstering our strengths and utilize these as our selling points in our future paths. He also referenced several prominent sports business publications as well as leaders as a ‘must-follow’ on social media to better understand what the ‘current trends’ might be, their philosophy/mindset to success might be as the prime, living examples of success within the sports business world.

One quote from Matt Hiler that struck me the most was was, “Do whatever is needed to ADD VALUE to the company/organization… whatever you need, I can do.” Matt Hiler, it was great to see you once again and we thank you for your time!


Matthew Sills (SMBA ’15) – President of Southland Events

Matthew sillsOur next alumnus was Matthew Sills, who only recently graduated from the program last June and has already founded a company, Southland Events that owns the rights to several distance/running events, such as a recent acquisition of a ½ Ironman event catering toward the avid marathon/triathlon market segment.

His journey leading up to enrolling in the SMBA program was quite an interesting one, but he reiterated that every one of these chapters including the SMBA program itself, in his journey was instrumental toward the success he has found into who and where he is today. While he was in the program, he was involved in ‘Pedal the Cause,’ a non-profit organization dedicated toward raising money for cancer research at San Diego’s four NCI-designated Cancer Centers.

Sills also painted a better picture of the events management industry and all of the dynamics that goes into working in the exciting field. One interesting thing that he mentioned about hosting these types of events was how all of the pre-/post ceremonies and activities that is associated with event in particular may have become equally, if not more, important than the actual event itself (Super Bowl Week was mentioned as a great analogy). Matthew Sills, we thank you for your time coming into the classroom to talk to us!

Caroline Bartolome (SMBA ’15) – Owner/Consultant at Innovatus Performance

Caroline BartolomeOur next alumnus was another person from the most recent SMBA graduating class – Caroline Bartolome who was also an entrepreneur, founding her own consulting firm at Innovatus Performance.

She came into the classroom both on Wednesday and Friday to help us mentally visualize and compose together a rough frame and several different viable approaches as to what we should anticipate while preparing for our final semester next spring, which will be a full-time 6-month internship opportunity along with writing up our very own final MBA thesis report.

Caroline’s internships helped her develop a business plan for a juju jitsu gym in the Los Angeles County as well as an apparel development plan for a firm. Her success in these projects along with her learning of the legal aspects of the business development side of entrepreneurship greatly was instrumental to her ongoing success. Caroline Bartolome, we greatly thank you for coming in twice to talk to us and guiding and answer all of our questions regarding the final semester of the SMBA program!


Greg Zweig (SMBA ’11) – Associate Manager of Client Services at CBS Digital

Greg ZweigThe last, but not the least, alumnus to come in on Wednesday was Greg Zweig, a SMBA alumnus who currently works at CBS Digital in the collegiate sports field working with hundreds of NCAA schools (D-1, D-2, and D-3).

Prior to the SMBA program, Zweig worked in multiple different industry fields before finally deciding that he wanted to do something that he enjoyed – sports and enrolled in the SMBA program. After completing the program as well as an internship with Deuce Brand, an action sports-oriented, startup company that also represents professional athletes in various sports, he was able to find a job with CBS Digital.

Since working with CBS Digital, Zweig really enjoys the job and the benefits that come with the job such as visiting his college clients’ campus, meeting with many athletic administrations and even travel to several prominent sporting events – some of the great perks that comes with working in an exciting field of sports business. Greg Zweig, we thank you for coming into the classroom to talk to us about your experiences in the program as well as your success following the program!