Are you interested in gaining insight into the highly competitive sports marketplace while also acquiring valuable networking skills? If yes, the University of Minnesota’s Sport Management Association (SMA) might just be for you! The School of Kinesiology spoke with 2019 Sport Management graduate and former SMA president Maggie Vlasaty, to elaborate on her experience.
Maggie grew up in Southeast Minnesota with two older siblings, and graduated from the U of M in fall 2019 with a major in sport management and a minor in product design. Currently, she works full time as a corporate partnerships intern at the Minnesota Wild.
How did you become involved with the Sport Management Association?
As a freshman, I knew I wanted to be involved on campus. With over 1,000 student groups at the U of M, it was slightly daunting to narrow my decision on which group would be the best fit for me. Luckily, I saw an ad for the University’s activities fair. This is where I was first exposed to SMA. At the event, I was intrigued by their initiative to further student knowledge on business careers in the sports industry. So, I took a leap and signed up for their newsletter.
What was your favorite part about SMA?
My favorite part of the organization was my ability to witness the growth of each of the members, specifically, first and second-year students. Each year, new members would come to our kick-off meeting shy and pretty inactive. However, after a few meetings I would start to see all members actively participating and networking with each other. I found this to be extremely rewarding. It was great to watch people find passion in something I was also extremely passionate about.
How did you become president?
From the meetings I attended as an underclassman, I noticed SMA could be more streamlined in its organizational practices. However, it wasn’t until my sophomore year that I became more involved in the group. I knew I had the skills to provide good organizational structure for the group, so I applied for a position on their executive board. The rest is history.
How did you balance coursework with extracurricular activities?
Throughout my life, I have always thrived with a busy schedule. I enjoy having a fully booked day. With that said, the group did not require an extensive time commitment. I was able to manage my course work easily and attend the meetings every other week.
What would you say to someone who is contemplating joining a student group?
Put yourself out there and join as many student groups as possible! In my experience, on-campus clubs helped me find my passion. Each meeting, we would bring in professionals from the sports industry to speak about their experiences and network with students.
This allowed me, along with other members of the club, to gain valuable connections with those working in the professional world of sports. Because of the contacts I made and experiences I had during my time in SMA, I was able to set myself apart from other job applicants, and land a job in a highly competitive market.
Do you have any parting thoughts?
Overall, I am very thankful for my time as SMA president and I look forward to seeing how the organization grows in the future.
To learn more about the Sport Management Association, visit: umnsma.wixsite.com/umn-sma, or check out their Instagram @uofmnsma