Sports business experts came to the Eugene campus from around the United States to serve as panelists on the newly created Warsaw Workshop series this February.
The theme of the student-organized workshop was sports and technology—particularly the ever-increasing role of social media. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center program manager Whitney Wagoner moderated the five panelists' discussion. After lunch, the audience of more than 75 undergraduates and MBAs broke into groups that were paired with the panelists. Presented with a business challenge drawn from their panelist's own professional life, group members brainstormed solutions and then presented their top idea to the audience at large.
Dave Rosen—senior director of marketing at Bleacher Report—tasked the students in his group with finding new ways to market to college-age students. For Whitney Scott, MBA ’16, digging in to Rosen’s real-world challenge was an invigorating variation on her MBA coursework.
“Case studies definitely provide their own unique learning experiences, but there is a different feel when you have a chance to be part of a solution to a problem that hasn’t yet been solved,” she said.
The brainchild of second-year MBA students Kate Kostal and Char Zoller, the new workshop series represents an evolution of the Warsaw Center’s well-regarded Women in Sports Business Symposium. Kostal and Zoller were looking for a format that would allow them to respond quickly and more often to new topics of interest in the sports world. They also sought to broaden the ways in which their fellow MBAs could get involved with the nitty-gritty of putting on an event.
The two MBAs’ idea dovetailed with a goal of the Warsaw Center's Wagoner, who wanted to find a way to provide hands-on experience staging events to the undergraduate members of the Warsaw Sports Business Club.
To build an organizational framework for managing the workshop series, Kostal and Zoller merged their previous professional experience in event operations and logistics with principles they gleaned from the Oregon MBA’s management courses. Their goals were to maximize opportunities for student participation and create a clear path for other students to assume leadership roles in planning future workshops in the series after Kostal and Zoller graduate.
“One of our core goals was to set up a structure and communication process so that even people who were new to creating and staging events could understand what it means to make a show flow,” said Kostal, who took the role of lead producer on the debut event.
Zoller will produce the series’ second event. Scheduled for May 15, it will focus once again on technology, but this time from an international point of view.
Read Scott's Blog Post