Student of the Week: Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson – a University of Nevada alum – receives the student of the week honor for his constant support and willingness to go above and beyond to help fellow students. Most recently Zach held an in -depth class session on trading bonds, pulling from his previous work experience.
Zach Johnson Student of the Week

Why SDSU SMBA over other Sport/MBA programs?

The environment was a huge reason why I chose the SDSU program.  I remember coming down to SDSU for an information session last spring, and the first thing I did when I got out was call my family and let them know the search for a program was over.  I had looked at other programs and opportunities, but SDSU seemed like the perfect fit. It was a nice combination of things that I had seen from other places, but these were all under the same roof.  One main reason is the curriculum; it is outstanding that SDSU offers a traditional MBA curriculum in the SMBA program.  I know there are a few other programs that offer a sports management degree, but to me, getting an MBA was important, and here I get to earn an MBA while focusing on sports.  The way the cohort interacts with each other and creates a positive learning culture was really important.  I can’t speak for previous classes, but I can say that the short time our class has been together has definitely been great learning atmosphere.

What is your favorite part of the program so far?

This is a tough one, because obviously the opportunities to volunteer at the Farmer’s Insurance Open and the IMG World Congress of Sports were awesome, but if I had to pick I would say my favorite part is the interaction with professionals in the industry.  The program has done an excellent job of introducing us to alums as well as other industry professionals who are willing to share their story or introduce us to some awesome opportunities to work in sports, outside of the traditional avenues.  It is great to see people who are out working everyday in an industry that I can’t wait to be a part of.  So I guess if I had to choose, I would say the way the program promotes interaction between the cohort and sports professionals would be at the top of the list.

What area of sports interests you most?

Another tough question, I only say that because I am pretty sure this answer has changed a few times in the last few months.  Before I came to campus I would say that I wanted to work in baseball in whatever aspect was available.  But as I get more familiar with the industry and see other opportunities my goals and opinions are changing.  At the moment I would say it would be sponsorship or partnership sales that interest me the most.  I like the idea of helping create activation ideas for clients and providing a high level of customer or client service, while working in the sports industry.  To me that sounds like it would be an awesome way to spend a work day.

Your background is in finance, what made you decide to head down the SMBA route?

Well it was honestly the combination of sports and business that originally sparked my interest.  I had traded bonds for a few years, and really enjoyed it, but at the same time I still felt like there was something else that I could be doing that related more to my passion for sports.  A couple of years ago my brother started working in the industry and I saw the fun he was having, and call it sibling rivalry or jealousy, but I looked at what he was doing and figured if I was lucky, maybe, I could do something similar.  So here I am, and I guess since I am the most recent Student of the Week, I must be doing something right.