Editor’s Note: Each week we will 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. Steve Fuller is up next.
Jenny Pankow: You were the first student in our cohort to bring in an outside guest speaker, Bill Guertin. Did you know him before he spoke to our class? How did you go about getting in contact with him?
Steve Fuller: I was online searching for sports conferences that I might be able to go to, and I came across the website for the 2012 Sports Business Conference that ended in November. I looked at the list of keynote speakers, and Bill Guertin was the first name on the list. After reading his biography, I thought he would be an incredible guy for our class to pick his brain if he would let us. I went to his website and found an email address and simply explained who I was and what SDSU’s Sports MBA program was all about. He got back to me the very next day saying he would love the chance to Skype with our class and it just so happened the best time for him to do it was one day later. For a man who speaks for a living and charges thousands of dollars per speaking engagement, it was pretty incredible to have him be so willing to speak to us. He gave us some great tips that, frankly, I can’t believe he gave away for free! The only thing he asked for in return was to remember him when all of us work for teams and to hire him to train our teams’ sales staff.
JP: What has been the biggest adjustment for you coming into this program?
SF: The biggest adjustment for me is trying to balance family and school time. I’m one of only two students in the class who is married and has a little baby, so my priorities are a little different than most of the class. I have to study very efficiently to make sure I’m not neglecting the family. I also can’t volunteer for every internship and event that we get, or else I’d never see my family. I have to pick and choose my battles. My son Jack goes to bed around 8 p.m. so I try to do family stuff after school until he goes to bed and then I hit the books. Fortunately, I have the sweetest, most supportive wife a man could ask for and she is really great in letting me get my schoolwork done.
JP: You came into the program with a lot of experience working with different sports teams, what are your career goals once leaving the program?
SF: You could ask me that question at the end of every week and my answer will change. That’s the beauty of this program, is it exposes you to so many different avenues of the sports industry that your eyes really widen when you realize there’s more out there beyond simply working for a professional team. We just started a Sports Licensing class that I’m extremely interested in. I’ve always been a marketing/advertising guy but licensing may be that niche in marketing I’ve been looking for. I’m excited to explore that more and see where it goes.
JP: We’ve been in this program for about six weeks now, what subject has impacted you the most so far?
SF: I think it’s safe to say we’ve been a little quantitative heavy these past couple of months. Accounting, finance, statistics … they’re all great and I’m learning a lot, but for me it’s hard to get really passionate about those subjects. However, this past week we were lucky enough to start a new Sports Business/Sports Law class with Ivy League Professor Scott Rosner. He teaches at Wharton School of Business and flies down to San Diego to teach this class. He talked to us for eight hours a day straight and I wish he could have gone longer. He knows everything about sports and it was amazing to listen to him teach. His week with us has definitely impacted me the most so far, realizing I have a long way to go to reach his level of expertise.
JP: What are you looking for in the next Student of the Week?
SF: I’m looking for someone who contributes to the program’s success. Our class has some big shoes to fill so I think it’s important that each of us strive to leave our mark on the program, to continually raise the bar.