A Step Toward Success
by Kristin Todd
Internships may not be the most glamorous stepping stone on the path to a successful career. However, university students are encouraged to intern with companies to avoid the “deer in the headlights” effect when entering the business world. These Sports, Sponsorship and Sales (S3) students have learned the value of hard work while gaining the bonus of experience in marketing internships.
Test Drive: General Motors
Scott Frase, a Longview senior, knows the importance of landing an internship. Frase spent the summer in Irving, Texas, working for GM R*Works. The agency handles sponsorships, promotions and events for the General Motors organization.
Although the internship was paid, lodging and living expenses were left to the student to handle.
“It was definitely an adventure,” Frase said. “I lived in an extended stay motel for three months. I didn’t have an office at work, but I did have my own cubicle with a window view.”
Frase didn’t exactly have top executive status, but he did obtain experience dealing with clients on a daily basis.
“If there was a meeting, I went with them,” he said. “The guys in the office really got me involved.”
Frase said his main project was helping coordinate Chevy’s “Freedom of Texas 4th of July Celebration.” The city of Houston was responsible for the event; however, GM was the title sponsor.
“It was a street festival event where they offered test drives, t-shirt giveaways and musical entertainment from Clint Black and LeAnn Rhimes,” he said. “Our goal was to generate potential client interest.”
Frase said he still stays in touch with his coworkers at the organization and learned the strengths and weaknesses required in the selling of sponsorships.
“The best part of sales and sponsorships is that it’s a dynamic industry,” he said. “One day I might sell space at a stadium, which is something you don’t think about being for sale. It’s all about creating value.”
Capital Opportunity: State Farm Insurance
Last summer Ashley Stewart experienced life in Austin, Texas, through an internship program at State Farm Insurance. A Houston native, this senior got some insight into her future career.
“As a State Farm marketing department intern, I was given the opportunity to work with another Baylor student from the S3 program,” she said. “Our main project for the summer was to evaluate the current and proposed sponsorships for the Texas region for State Farm.”
Stewart’s responsibilities included researching high school, college and professional sports teams as well as rodeos to gain prospective sponsorships for the insurance company. She determined whether the sponsorship would serve as a profitable investment and gain positive public exposure for State Farm.
“We had to begin with researching statistics on the teams such as number of people in attendance, demographics of the fans and how often fans were at multiple games,” she said. “From there we could determine whether or not the sponsorship was worth the money State Farm was spending.”
Although Stewart conducted research through paperwork, she was not silent in her efforts.
“I was also given the opportunity to tell the company my opinion in keeping a deal, or when I found one of no value to the company’s goals,” she said. “It offered me a better look at the sports sponsorship world, and I was able to experience this on the corporate side.”
Stewart’s next strategy is working on the other side of the fence, selling sponsorships on behalf of the professional sports arena.
“This summer I will be working for a professional sports team selling sponsorships,” she said. “From there, I hope to decide if the corporate world or the sports world is my place.”
Take Me Out To The Ballgame: National Baseball Hall of Fame
Blake Paul, a Richardson senior, hit a homerun of an internship. Paul worked last summer at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
“I heard about the internship through the S3 major,” Paul said. “Dr. Lehnus and Dr. Wakefield, my professors in the major, do a wonderful job networking around the country and offering their students incredible opportunities like this one.
Paul wasted no time in contributing to the organization. Besides daily interaction with thousands of visiting fellow baseball fans, he worked on seven different projects for the membership department.
“I created the sales training manual for the Hall of Fame and developed a multi-year membership plan that was implemented after I left,” he said.
Paul said he received a stipend for his work, but the experience was priceless. Along with meeting Hall of Famers like Ozzie Smith and Gary Carter, he also had the opportunity to meet 26 other interns from all over the world.
“Networking was a huge part of this internship,” he said. “I could make two phone calls and get in touch with anyone in baseball.”
This Atlanta Braves fan said he gained “real-world” experience through the internship and wishes to continue in the sports industry after graduation.
“I would like to be a corporate sales executive in a professional sports organization,” Paul said. “After that, who knows? Hopefully I will find a way to make a positive impact on the sports industry.”
Branching Out: The Marketing Arm
Robyn Neece did more than make copies through her internship at The Marketing Arm over the summer. The Marketing Arm is a firm specializing in strategic marketing through advertising, logo design, website design, print media, consulting and other services.
“I was responsible in assisting the account coordinator on a Fortune 50 communications client account,” she said. “I conducted market research to support the consulting group’s strategy development.”
Neece also designed and produced copy for a weekly e-newsletter that catered to a music and entertainment website, which reached over 1,200 subscribers.
“By the end of my internship, I was interpreting survey results and preparing presentations to communicate results to clients,” she said.
Neece was so productive that she continued working the internship two days each week through the fall 2005 semester.
“The environment is designed to allow a person to grow in their knowledge and abilities,” she said. “They definitely were not hesitant about giving me ‘real-world’ responsibilities.”
The Paris, Texas, senior not only gained internship experience, but also professional relationships.
“I left The Marketing Arm with relationships that will continue to help me in the future,” Neece said. “These relationships have taught me how to network and pursue jobs.”
Baylor Business Review, Spring 2006