It seems like just yesterday the class of 2015 was taking its first steps into room 206 where we would spend the next 18 months busily working and building the foreground to our careers within the sports industry. It would be this room where our journey to working in the sports world would unfold. For many of us, this would not be possible if it was not from the great recruitment by Program Coordinator Jennifer Bulcao (JB). Unfortunately, our cohort of 30 has to say goodbye to JB, who after her official final day today is moving to Washington D.C. SMBA ’15 would like to give our thanks and appreciation to JB and wish her luck in her new journey ahead as she returns to the East Coast. Last week the class celebrated JB’s tenure with the program and presented her with a framed handmade SDSU logo composed of coins and surrounded by the cohort’s signatures.
What originally brought you to SDSU to become the SMBA Program Coordinator?
Before relocating to San Diego from Newport, Rhode Island, I served for five years as the Special Projects Manager in the Executive Office of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In this position I was on the operations team for a professional tennis event that took place on grass the week after Wimbledon. After playing tennis in college, as well as studying business, working at the Hall of Fame was the perfect fusion of all of my interests. It was here that I discovered my love of sports business, I was honored to transition to a position where I could foster other people’s love for sports business.
What have you enjoyed most about being the programs coordinator?
Working with Program Director Scott Minto has been a sincere pleasure. Since the beginning of my tenure, Scott has encouraged me to participate in a multitude of sporting events alongside the students. I have run a sponsorship village for a professional women’s surfing event, I have been on the operations team for a freestyle motocross exhibition, and monitored a VIP hospitality suite at a NFL players association collegiate bowl. Also, I worked the greenroom with Modest Mouse during a Tony Hawk Foundation fundraiser. The pinnacle of my adventures with Sports MBA was definitely escorting the Class of 2014 to the Dominican Republic. It was a fascinating experience to bring a diverse group of students to a developing nation to observe the MLB’s effects on Dominican youth and education. (Read more about this annual excursion to the DR here.
How did you keep up with coordinating the current cohorts’ events, speakers, and tours at the same time promoting students for the new cohort?
I have no idea. Thanks for implying that I successfully did so. I’d like to thank my iPhone for a huge piece of that success.
What has been the most challenging aspect of this position?
A crucial piece of this position is assisting the class with personal and professional development, which unfortunately includes providing constructive criticism. No one likes giving criticism, and certainly no one likes receiving it. Any feedback provided is done so with the student’s goals and sports career ambitions in mind. The most rewarding aspect of the position, though, is seeing students grow and expand their skillset in such a short period of time. Observing the first three months of the academic year is so beautiful as students come in an open book, quickly investigate their career options and begin to lay out a 10 year plan. It was a pleasure being so heavily involved in the career development of almost 100 students since late 2012.
What will you miss most about SDSU and the program?
I’ll miss the recruiting aspect of the job, as I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to so many prospective students about their sports career goals and how the Sports MBA Program might be a good fit. Of course, prospective students turn into candidates, then into alumni and sports business all-stars themselves. I’ve expanded my sports business network so rapidly over the past few years, and will certainly be reaching out to my new contacts throughout the remainder of my career. *Sports MBA alumni, you have been fairly warned!*
What advice would you have for your future replacement?
I would advise my replacement to make time for mass email updates. It is easy to be constantly busy returning prospective student phone calls and answering application questions via email, all while planning events like orientation or graduation for the current cohort. Making time more regularly to the update the full prospective student database or reaching out to the alumni network will ensure that everyone is well-versed in the thrilling adventures of the newest class. They do so much in a single year – it never ceases to amaze me.
What advice do you have for current/future students in the program?
Keep up the hard work! I have said this a thousand times, but listen to me when I say: the program is going to fly by! Completing 42 credits in 12 months is a tough undertaking, but I know you can do it. Take one year’s break from your favorite TV shows, or making elaborate meals, and focus the free time you have after class on adding additional skills to your resume. Pick a few executives you admire, take a look at their LinkedIn profiles, and note which skills they have but you do not (yet). Make sure to expose yourself to as many new skills and pieces of software as you can while you have the resources of an AACSB accredited College of Business at your fingertips. Start by going to visit your professors during their office hours; they’ll be thrilled to see you, I promise.
What will you miss the most about San Diego (aside from SDSU)?
Only time will tell what I will miss the most, but the first thing that comes to mind is hiking in Mission Trails Regional Park. MTRP is a five minute drive from campus, or about 15 minutes inland from downtown. This 5,800 acre park has over 40 miles of gorgeous hiking/walking trails, offering breathtaking views of San Diego County. For anyone who hasn’t done it, I recommend taking a morning to hike South Fortuna with a few bottles of water and a granola bar in your pack. Don’t forget a camera, too!
JB, on behalf of SMBA ’15, we thank you for all your hard work, time and dedication you have put forth toward the program over the past few months in recruiting our class and giving us the chance to follow our dreams. We wish you the best of luck in your new journey ahead. Thank you for all you have done – you will be missed!