Student of the Week: Landon Hemsley

Landon Hemsley – a Utah State University alum – receives the student of the week honor for his outstanding class contributions and engagement with the outstanding faculty in the San Diego State Sports MBA program. Landon was awarded student of the week once before in early February before the blog was operational. Landon writes about how his time in the program has progressed since beginning the program, as well as the work he has been doing at his internship with Covario in La Jolla, CA. 


It’s crazy to believe how quickly time has gone by since the last time I was called out to come sit at the front of the classroom with our class mascot Tez at my side. It’s amazing how much everyone in the class has changed. Eight months ago, we all came into this bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. We survived the time when we all felt like we were drowning, and now each of us is beginning to chart his or her course for after the classroom portion of the program ends and the real world begins again. Fortunately, we all have a much better idea of what we want to do with our lives after this semester, mostly due to the extraordinary exposure we have been given to virtually every facet of the sports and business world.

I think I can speak for the whole cohort when I say the opportunity to connect with key movers and shakers in the industry separates this program from any other MBA program. The sports emphasis is fun to be sure. But even beyond sports, there are so many people from so many different disciplines who come back to this program and give of themselves. It’s to the point where if you don’t find something to be passionate about and take advantage of, it’s definitely your own fault. Alumni and other visitors that work in various fields, from sponsorship sales and activation to event management to venue management to digital agencies to player representation, have been with us, telling us what to expect and how to succeed in that post-classroom limbo world.

My path has taken me into the world of search engine and content marketing. I’m the poster child for the value that an MBA can provide outside the realm of sports business. Since May, I’ve been interning at Covario, a multinational SEO/SEM agency servicing some of the world’s biggest companies. Covario has done very well in recent years; their 2013 revenue was $37 million, which for a marketing agency is pretty darn good.

It was so good, in fact, that the company was acquired last week by Dentsu Aegis, a Japanese multinational conglomerate with more than 20,000 employees and more than $5 billion in annual revenues. The company will be merged with Dentsu Aegis’s search engine marketing business, iProspect. It’s been really neat to see a real-world merger and acquisition from the ground level, seeing business principles I’ve been learning in the classroom come to life right in front of my eyes.

At Covario, my role has been to build reporting tools and deliver analytical status reports to our clients. In essence, I paint the picture of how our clients’ digital products are faring relative to how they were before they contracted with the company and relative to their competition. There are several internal stakeholders that I serve, and working there has been a real joy, a privilege I certainly never would have received had I never come to San Diego. The experience I’ve gathered since starting there has been invaluable, and the flexibility afforded by SMBA has also been tremendous.

The next step beyond this internship? I’m still working on that… regardless, the relationships that I’m building with the cohort and other players both within and without the sports industry are incredibly valuable to me, a benefit that should be taken into consideration for anyone considering becoming a part of SMBA ‘16.

Onward and upward!