At last week’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Mark Cuban advised against college students pursuing jobs in sports, citing the intense competition for jobs and resulting low wages.

This conclusion was echoed and expanded on by Forbes contributor Patrick Rishe.

I regularly espouse for the opposite view.

By starting your career in sports, you are exposed to intense competition – both to land a job and advance once you’ve secured one.

I would view that as a positive – testing your limits to see what can be achieved.

Also, once you have entered the industry there are other benefits that accrue.  For example, because almost all sports organizations are small (fewer than 100 full time employees, other than on-field talent), there is a great opportunity to “wear many hats” and learn about multiple facets of the business. In many industries, entry level workers learn only about a very limited part of their firm and industry.

Another benefit of the small company environment is that you may interact and build relationships with senior employees in a way that simply is not possible in firms with thousands or tens of thousands of employees.

And for those people who decide to leave sports to pursue other career options, there are many firms in related fields (hospitality, hotel, convention, event planning, tourism, fashion, advertising, and social media to name a few) that are extremely interested in hiring people with the skill sets developed by working for a sport organization.

Even for former sports business employees looking for jobs in unrelated fields, the power of having worked for a sports brand continues to pay dividends as you look for your next position.  Your resume and interview will stand out relative to applicants from more mundane backgrounds.  Interviewers are often intrigued by the experience of working in sports.  Asking questions like: “What was it like?” or “Did you ever meet Player X?”

And for those entry level employees who do succeed and advance in the sports industry, the financial and experiential rewards a career in sports business provides are awesome.

Why else would billionaires like Mark Cuban buy their way into sports after being successful in other lines of work?

Advertisements