In early January, second-year Oregon MBA students of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and Cameron Center for Finance and Securities Analysis traveled across the country for the 2017 New York City study tour to learn from and engage with some of the most prominent organizations in the sports industry and the finance realm. The students visited a combined 22 companies in four days, absorbing an invaluable amount of information and advice from industry leaders and alumni. And for the first time this year, MBAs live streamed the experience on the Oregon MBA Facebook page, where they shared real-time insights and takeaways.
The Cameron Center students woke up early Tuesday morning and headed to Grand Central Station to head north to Stamford, Connecticut, to meet with Duck alumnus and current vice president of Coliseum Capital, Chris Murphy ’02, MActg ’03. After a lunch with alumni in the Stamford area, the group hopped back on the train to meet another Duck alumnus, Owen Hyde ’13, at JP Morgan.
While the Cameron students were on their way to Connecticut, Warsaw students visited both the National Football League and NASCAR. At the NFL, MBA students heard from Warsaw Advisory Board Member Akash Jain MBA ’04, vice president of international commercial development and his senior level colleagues across core aspects of the NFL’s business who all graciously dedicated time to share career experiences, sharp insights, and thoughts about the future of the industry with the students.
At NASCAR, the group met with Steve Herbst, senior vice president of broadcast and production; Bergen Houston, marketing coordinator; and David Higdon, Warsaw Advisory Board Chair and vice president of integrated marketing communications, who joined in via video conference to participate in the discussion, which centered around the future of NASCAR.
After a late afternoon visit to Samsung 837 and an evening mixing and mingling with alumni and sports industry professionals at Glideslope headquarters, the next day of meetings was a whirlwind, with inspiring visits to Ascendent Sports Group/RSE Ventures, Nike SoHo, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. While at Ascendent, the students enjoyed having the chance to meet fellow Duck alumnus Doug Hall, senior vice president and head of consulting, who was a member of the first Warsaw graduating class.
Cameron Center students had a busy second day as well, with visits to Bessemer Trust, WeWork and Heirdrick and Struggles. At WeWork, the students met with Deputy CFO Mark FitzPatrick.
Alex Bibb, MBA ’17, looked back on the meeting with FitzPatrick, “I really appreciated his candor and willingness to go in depth about the business model of WeWork and the future of the organization.”
Day three was again stacked with industry power players, including Warsaw Center visits to Major League Soccer, New York Road Runners, and ESPN. Cameron Center students visited Bank of America and the New York Stock Exchange. The students were lucky to meet with senior-level executives at these organizations, including Kelly Johnson, Warsaw alumna and vice president of TV, audio and cross platform research at ESPN; Russell Wolff, executive vice president of international at ESPN; and Laura Gentile, senior vice president of espnW and women’s initiatives at ESPN.
Lauren Sokol, MBA ’17, reflected, “Gentile exemplifies what it means to be a leader and has done so much to grow and amplify women’s sports throughout the world. Getting the chance to learn from her was definitely a highlight of the trip for me.”
That evening, the Cameron Center students joined Duck alumni in the city for an evening of mingling. Kate Hammarback, MBA ’17, left the event that night inspired.
“The New York City alumni seemed to connect with each other frequently and know each other well, which was great to see that there is a Duck community on the other coast if some of us end up there in our future careers,” Hammarback said. “I was very impressed by the energy and excitement they exuded about being Duck alums and appreciated their interest in getting to know current students.”
The Study Tour wrapped up with Cameron Center visits to the Clinton Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Warsaw Center visits to creative agency Team Epiphany, Wasserman, and KORE Software. The Warsaw students enjoyed seeing fellow Ducks at Wasserman and KORE, including their former classmate and recent Warsaw MBA graduate Jacob Rosen, MBA ’16, who is now a success analyst at KORE.
Kelly O’Shaughnessy, MBA ’17, commented, "Each and every visit provided us the opportunity to not just hear from c-suite level executives at these amazing brands and leagues, but to have a conversation with them. Beyond the access to these industry leaders, it was their confidence in us as strategic thinkers and future industry leaders that really struck a chord with me. I've known for a long time that coming to Warsaw and the Oregon MBA was the right decision, but this trip just cemented it even further.”