Matthew Sills – an avid triathlete from Los Angeles – was recognized as Student of the Week for his organization of study groups for the class’s upcoming midterms.
How would you describe yourself? What is most important to you?
It’s hard to describe myself, because I’ve changed so much, even in the last year. If you had told me a year ago that I would leave my stable job, move my girlfriend 75 miles from where we live, and go back to school – all while preparing for the arrival of my first child – I would have told you you were crazy. But I’ve learned to be open to change and to accept things for how they are as opposed not how I wished they were – and to make the most of those challenges. Two words that would describe me are loyal and honest. I don’t really have short-term friends. My oldest friend and I have known each other for 36 years. I’ve known many of my friends for over 25 years now.
What made you change your career path even after some years of work experience?
I wasn’t really on a career path, so it really wasn’t a change as much as finding one. After I graduated from NYU, I figured it wouldn’t be long until I was directing my first blockbuster. Instead, I jumped around from job to job. I worked as a movie and TV extra, a temp, an assistant at a movie studio, a freelance writer, a substitute teacher, a DVD special features producer, a game show writer, a game show contestant, a jewelry salesman, a technical support rep, and most recently as a software quality assurance engineer. While I thought I had found a career several times, none of them really panned out. I also never felt like I had a personal stake in any of these jobs. It wasn’t until I started participating in triathlons that I really found my passion. Getting out and swimming, biking and running with a few thousand like minded individuals was exhilarating, and I want other people to experience that enjoyment.
3. What do expect from the SMBA program? What do you expect to do after that?
In the short term, I’m hoping the SMBA program continues to challenge me. I feel incredibly stimulated by the classwork and guest speakers, and that is pushing me further than I thought it would. This has given me the motivation to continue studying hard and make new contacts. In the long term, I’m hoping to use my education and contacts to find a job where I can motivate others to discover the benefits of running and endurance sports, whether that happens to be producing races or selling running shoes.
4. What’s the most important thing you’d like to say to someone who is considering a Sports MBA?
If they were interested in this program, I’d first tell them to make sure they know why they’re getting into the sports industry in the first place. If they think they’re simply going to watch their favorite sport or hang out at the beach, then it’s probably not for them. The program, even this early on, requires a many hours of studying. Often times you’re sitting in your apartment reading when it’s 72 degrees and beautiful outside. But as long as you’re here for the right reasons, there’s no better program. And if it’s something you really want, don’t try and talk yourself out of it. Nothing should stop you from following your passion. I feel like I’m proof that no matter where you are in life, it’s never too late to do what you love.