Jade Borella: How did you first hear about the SMBA program and what made you interested in it?
Tony Frias: Working for IBM back home I realized that what I really wanted to do the rest of my life was to work in something related to sports. I’ve always seen myself as part of a sports organization in which my decisions and my contribution to the organization would make both me and the team succesful. I needed to be prepared for that, so I started doing some online research of sports MBA programs in America and I found the SDSU sports MBA program. It looked like a perfect fit for what I was looking for, talked to my family about it and decided to apply with all their support knowing I was changing my career path, and today I am very thankful I decided to do it.
JB: I know you used to work for IBM. How long did you work there and what did you do?
TF: I worked for IBM in México City for almost two years. While with IBM I was part of the finance department and my position was “BPRM” Business Partner Relationship Manager. I was in charge of building the relationships between business partners and IBM with the main objective of looking for all the ways to finance the most potential final sales from IBM’s Business Partners to their clients. It was a great experience and it gave me a great sense of the best ways to manage sales, relationships and financing.
JB: What’s been your favorite class so far and why?
TF: My favorite class has been Operations and Supply Chain Management. Dr Reinig is an excellent professor and his way of teaching us topics such as forecasting and statistical process control was very interesting as we applied everything to the sports world and organizations. This will definitely help us in our future jobs.
JB: As we are in the middle of our final few subjects, what would you tell prospective students are the most challenging and most rewarding parts of the program?
TF: The most challenging parts of the program has been to keep up the good grades while learning, helping fellow students and looking for internships/jobs all at the same time. The most rewarding parts are that every time we finish one class we realize how much we have learned about the topic and how all that new information is going to help us in our future careers.
JB: What are your career aspirations that you hope to achieve through this sports MBA? Have they changed since the beginning of the year?
TF: My priority since the beginning of the program has been baseball. At the beginning of the program all our professors used to tell us that our aspirations might change through the year, and it is actually happening to me right now. Besides baseball, I would like to have my own business in the future in which I could combine financial advising for athletes with a marketing department for sports organizations.
JB: Having been born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, compare and contrast the sports atmosphere and opportunities in San Diego versus where you’re from.
TF: Soccer is huge in Mexico, I think it is very sad that other sports have not had the government support so far to keep growing. In a country with more than 100 million people I believe that talented athletes could be found to create elite leagues in all major sports. Opportunities in the sports industry back home are small, but it is a market with a big growth potential in the near future.