Editor’s Note: Each week we publish an interview with the SMBA ’14 Student of the Week. The winner of the Student of the Week (awarded by the previous winner) sits in the front row of class and proudly displays a flag of his or her choice on the famous Tez statue. We are finally caught up after this interview with our next honoree Dwayne Jones, who led a recent “players only” meeting on the direction of our cohort.
Dwayne Jones: The players only meeting was inspired by the fact that our DR trip was quickly approaching and figured to be the turning point regarding our class’s cohesiveness. Just like on any sports team, class, or school, cliques can naturally form because of personality compatibility. However, we have such an awesome group of individuals in this cohort it would be to our own detriment not to learn from everyone. I felt a “player’s only” meeting, consisting of only the students in our 2014 cohort, was the best way to openly, honestly, and respectively clear the air about any barriers to class cohesion.
RD: The class just returned from an eight-day trip to the Dominican Republic. What is one thing that you took away from the experience?
DJ: Given my background as a sociology undergrad, the extreme poverty and the failing societal structure that perpetuates poverty through baseball really hit home for me. Seeing the lack of an educational system and the exploitation of innocent children made me cringe. It really makes you realize how blessed you are to live in the conditions provided by our coincidental birthplace. This perspective also helps to acknowledge there is no difference between you and another individual in dire circumstances. This only fuels the fire to help in any way possible.
RD: What has been your favorite part of the sports MBA program, whether it is a certain class, volunteer opportunity, or anything else that it has offered?
DJ: My favorite part of this program has been learning from the different personalities in my cohort, and getting to know what makes each individual successful in their own way. Additionally I enjoyed our recent marketing presentation to the Anaheim Ducks fan development department at the Honda Center. My group and I had a lot of fun putting together a detailed and feasible strategy for the Ducks. #WildWingman!
RD: What are your career aspirations that you hope to achieve through this sports MBA? Have they changed during the first half of the year?
DJ: My aspirations have been a bit fluid, but with community relations, licensing, and brand marketing as staples of interest. Being able to develop creative strategies to bring fans to your brand, while also interacting and making a positive difference in their lives really motivates me. I want to be in a position where I can be creative and also help out in underprivileged communities, or create a product that makes their life exponentially better.
RD: We have recently heard some big news from your beloved Los Angeles Clippers, as they acquired Doc Rivers to be their head coach. What are your feelings on the move and do you think this will help them improve on their best season in franchise history?
DJ: Great question, yes! Sorry, I’m still adjusting to positive questions regarding the Clippers, its been a long time coming. Doc is a top-three coach in the NBA right now, arguably the best. We didn’t give up any pieces really, despite a first-round draft pick that is unlikely to be of much value. I am curious to see what other ripple effects occur, whether that means KG/Pierce also come to LA, or Bledsoe leaves. Either way, hiring Doc was a great move, and we will be better (but that’s probably more of the fan in me). Hopefully, we can acquire some role players or utilize Doc’s genius to have our talented roster actually buy into their assigned roles.