Is watching the Olympics giving you the itch for a career in sports management? It’s a thriving, and increasingly global, industry – and as a result numerous MBA programs offer a specialization in sport management. (There are also sports management MA and MS programs – and some people return for a sports management MBA after a sports MA or MS.) A December 2011 US News article gives a thorough, succinct overview of the history of these programs and their current status. The article states that “alumni of the programs work in a variety of fields, from branding and marketing to working with sports apparel, and from college athletics to sports nonprofits.” The article also cautions that not all sports management MBA programs are created equal; it’s the top ones that will open doors to national level enterprises.
Of those top programs, the following three reflect the great diversity, distinctive perspectives, and exciting opportunities in graduate-level sports management education:
- University of Oregon, Charles H. Lundquist School of Business – A centerpiece of this program is affiliation with the university’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, according to the website the “the leading think tank and training ground for the sports business industry.” Students take ten core required basic MBA courses plus sports management track requirements and electives. Some of the required sports courses are “Legal Aspects of Sports” and “Sports Projects.”
- George Washington University School of Business – GWU offers the sports management MBA in three different formats: Global MBA (full-time), Professional MBA (self-paced, part-time), and Accelerated MBA (more intensive, fast-paced part-time program spanning 24 months). It addresses the marketing and management of athletes, teams, venues, franchises, and media. Its “Green Sports Scorecard” introduces leaders in sustainable sports. Download the program’s 16-page PDF brochure!
- San Diego State University – This is an “intensive” program “focused entirely on the international sports business” with accelerated 18-month duration. An integral part of the program is an International Sports MBA Case Competition that involves a global sports consulting exercise and culminates in presentations to industry executives. The program also partners closely with the San Diego Padres; the team’s executives often guest lecture, oversee team projects, and provide career guidance.
A related program is Columbia University’s M.S. in Sports Management, a part-time program. It targets people who are already working in the sports industry in some capacity and wish advanced training in sports management, people with other professional degrees such as law who wish to expand into the sports industry, and retired athletes. The program features a basic core of MBA courses followed by sports-specific courses. Students have some options for customizing their program as well.
In researching sports management MBAs, don’t overlook perusing the recruiting records to ensure they lead to the positions you seek.
By Cindy Tokumitsu, author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last thirteen years with Accepted. She can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and develop a winning admissions strategy.