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Sport Management students pit their competitive spirit against peers across US

Sports Marketing Association’s Case Study Bowl - York College
A group of York College students recently participated in the Sports Marketing Association’s Case Study Bowl in Boston.

Jenna Mayer considers herself a competitive person. It’s what she likes about sports. It’s what she likes about marketing.

It’s that spirit that will likely set the York College of Pennsylvania senior apart from many when it comes to landing her first job after graduating this spring with a degree in Sport Management.

Recently, Jenna was one of four York College students who went to Boston to participate in the Sports Marketing Association’s Case Study Bowl, where the group competed against students from 11 other institutions

“It was super cool,” Jenna says of the experience. “When we went, we were really focused on the Case Study Bowl. It was fun. Those I went with are all really competitive. It really simulated something that would actually happen in real life.”

Dr. Michael Mudrick, a professor in the Sport Management program, said the event is beneficial for students to experience real-world work situations outside of the classroom.

“They’ve got 24 hours to turn around and come up with a plan. Often when working in sports, you are coming up with things on the fly,” he says. “To be in a pressure-packed situation, presenting things to executives, is something you can’t put a value on.”    

The Case Study Bowl

The York College students were tasked with finding a way for the University of Massachusetts to better market its men’s basketball team by finding more sponsors and creating better gameday promotions.

Jenna says the need for such a thing at a Division I men’s program was somewhat surprising.

“We were shocked with what U-Mass was missing, and how detached U-Mass was,” she says. “We really loved our presentation and really believed in it. We had so much enthusiasm.”

Dr. Mudrick says the four students held nothing back in their study or delivery of information.

“We didn’t go to the competition to get a consolation prize or a moral victory,” he says. “As cliché as it sounds, you want to come into this and have your best game. We could tell from their work they wanted to win.”

In such a competitive industry, Dr. Mudrick says, you need to have that fire inside to succeed.

“For that group, it was good for them to go all in and put forth that effort.”

Beneficial connections

Like the 2016 SMA trip to Indianapolis, going to Boston had many highlights, including a reception at historic Fenway Park during their off-time. It was something Jenna treasured.

Plus, although in direct competition with students from other schools, the group made friends in the process.

“Our advisor really gave us a good idea of what we were getting into. We were honestly kind of surprised at how many friends we made there,” Jenna says. “We were competing, yet it was nice to make friends and get pointers from other people.”

Overall great experience

Meeting others that work in the industry, or even others that hope to, is always beneficial, in any major, but especially in Sport Management.

“This conference is a great opportunity for them to make connections for internships and future employment,” Dr. Mudrick says. “You never know, if you do a really good presentation in front of these industry professionals.”

For Jenna, it was the experience of a lifetime.

“It’s cool to be able to say I was one of four chosen to go,” she says. “At the same time, it’s nice to say we did all of this primary research on our own and worked in that time crunch by ourselves without help from our advisors.”

Learn more about YCP's Sport Management program.