2015-02-14 17.53.57

Valentine’s Day in Thailand with Cricket Flours

It felt as busy as our Engaging Asia trip this past September, but this whirlwind of a journey was completed in only five days. The opportunity to participate in a business plan competition was something I had never experienced before — let alone an international competition. The talent of both the student groups and the judges were top-notch. This included some of the top-ranked schools in both the United States and Asia, as well as some of the most respected companies in Thailand. Being able to compare MBA experiences with people from around the world made for great conversation.

cricket flours team

The Cricket Flours team at our booth

We spent the first three days of the trip entirely focused on the competition. Every free moment was spent refining our presentation and incorporating the judge’s feedback. The months of hard work by the Cricket Flours team was rewarded when we were named our division’s top team. With this designation we earned an automatic berth into the competition’s final round. The finals were broadcasted live on Thai television and had $12,000 on the line. Cricket Flours was selected to present first in the finals round. This was both a blessing and curse because the team would be able to make the first impression on the judges but also meant we would face a panel eager to poke holes in our business plan. Ultimately, Cricket Flours was left out of the top two spots on the podium but the competition provided the team with great feedback concerning our marketing strategy and the cricket flour industry.

Thailand competition

The main stage and the 3 trophies that managed to elude us

After the competition our hosts, the Sasin Graduate School, arranged for us to spend an evening on the river in Bangkok followed by an entire day seeing the main cultural spots in the city. Our night on the river was capped off with a fireworks show in honor of Valentine’s Day. We visited the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Vimanmek Mansion. Being able to relax and hang out with our new international friends without the pressure of the competition was much needed.

However, as quickly as it had begun, I found myself back in Eugene learning Constitutional Law reminiscing about another incredible international experience provided by the Oregon MBA program.

Written by pmb@uoregon.edu

Paul Butler is a concurrent JD/MBA student at the University of Oregon currently in the Finance and Securities Analysis Center. His goal after he graduates in 2016 is to apply his education within a corporate finance department.

Nike

N7 Youth Movement Expands

“In every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the seventh generation.”

The statement above stems from Native American wisdom and is the inspiration behind the Nike N7 collection.

For those that have not heard about the Nike N7-partnered event run through the Warsaw Sports Business Club at the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business, read up.

Very exciting things are happening with a vision started only three years ago by Jesse Schwarz, former Duck and Warsaw Sports Business Club executive. The UO-Nike N7 Youth Movement is heading into its fourth year—with a larger staff whose hours of hard work will cumulate in a field day event held for Native American and at-risk youth to promote a healthy lifestyle and a sense of community through sport and rich Native culture.

This past term has been a blast for the Youth Movement staff because the event has started gaining some real traction within the Oregon community. Throughout the first three years of the event, the essence and direction was still taking form. But this year, the vision is clear and by leveraging countless social media platforms, the movement is spreading like never before.

The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University have committed to the Youth Movement vision and will be pioneering their own events for years to come. The University of Oklahoma is going into their second year of hosting a field day and Oklahoma State University will be hosting their event for the first time.

The UO staff recently held our official visit at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. During our time there, we were fortunate enough to present to Sam McCracken, the visionary and chairman behind Nike N7, about the future of the event. Later, we toured the Nike campus with Schwarz, now a digital producer at Nike and ended the day by picking up some N7 gear from the employee store.

This year’s field day will take place on April 17 at the Moshofsky Center on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene. This venue will give participants the opportunity to spend time on a real college campus, which can make a lasting impact going forward.

There will be countless hours of new projects worked on in the next couple months leading up to the event. The staff is excited. The schools and organizations involved are excited. And Native Americans everywhere can be excited because this is truly a movement to be proud of.

“When one generation realizes its potential, future generations are much stronger for it”

—Mitch Feingold
Lundquist College of Business Undergraduate

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

NSF Group

3 Big Takeaways From the National Sports Forum Case Cup Competition

Earlier this month, three fellow Oregon MBA and Warsaw Sports Marketing Center second-year students joined me in attending the National Sports Forum in Cincinnati. Seth Bohne, Ryan Malleus, Char Zoller, and I (and  Warsaw Center staff member Craig Leon) made the trip with to the twentieth iteration of the conference to compete in the NSF Case Cup Competition against eight other master’s level programs.

The format of the competition involved a first round of three flights, each with three universities. One team would be selected to advance from each flight and compete in the finals. We were drawn into a group with the University of Ohio and University of Nebraska. Together, the three schools had accounted for the last three championships at the competition.  Perhaps it was fitting that our group was immediately dubbed “The Group of Death”. Not long after learning who we would be competing against, we were loaded onto a charter bus. Destination, unknown.

After passing into Kentucky and continuing down the highway for an hour, we came to a halt at Kentucky Speedway, where we were given a tour and a presentation by the staff. Though we could not be certain, we believed our case would revolve around the speedway and the information we were provided. From there, it was a night of nervous sleep before the competition began.

At 10:30 the next morning, we were given a packet that contained the case, a flash drive, a printer, and an empty room. This space would be our office, dining room, exercise grounds, and (if we chose) sleeping area for the duration of the 24 hours. The case was indeed related to Kentucky Speedway, and while it combined current issues affecting the property, the case boiled down to creating an integrated marketing strategy for the speedway to be implemented over the next 2 years. It needed to be designed in such a way that would attract more millennials to the events on-site and sell more tickets without alienating the core NASCAR fan. We were on the clock. The ensuing 24 hours provided many lessons, but I will focus on three:

Teammates Char Zoller and Seth Bohne presenting to a panel of judges

Teammates Char Zoller and Seth Bohne presenting to a panel of judges

LESSON 1: EVERYONE MUST MOVE IN THE SAME DIRECTION

“You have 24 hours. But we are not looking for a 24 hour idea. We are looking for a big idea” – Alex Perkins, Marketing Manager, Kentucky Speedway

Early in the process, our team knew that a stern challenge had been placed before us. The case was long, involved many prompts, and raised many questions without specifically delineating the most important to address. It was clear to us that we would need to be on the same page and make some of the largest decisions of the entire process early on. This was particularly evident when we were given twenty minutes to speak with Kentucky Speedway’s Marketing Manager, Alex Perkins. He pushed us to provide recommendations that would deliver detailed, actionable strategies not only to be used over the next two years, but as a platform for a long-term vision.

Our goal as a team was to strategize early and set a point of no return, where we would move forward together and create as holistic a presentation for our panel as possible in the remaining time. For this to be feasible, it was essential for the entire team to buy-in and remain focused on the direction we were heading.  Our team did this well. The direction we chose revolved around a multi-faceted approach to attracting sub-segments of the millenial population. Our recommendations sought to leverage current Kentucky Speedway partnerships, incoming opportunities to increase awareness by using other local sports events (2015 MLB All-Star Game), a revamped mobile app with enhanced ticket purchasing ability and a mobile fantasy sports component, and the creation of a concert series to build on the festival atmosphere and camping component the speedway prides itself on.

LESSON 2: PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS

Even before the case was handed to us, our team knew we would rely heavily on each other’s strengths to produce the highest quality product possible while under such a strict time constraint. One of the many benefits of the Oregon MBA is that our small class size has allowed each of us to work extensively with one another over the past year and a half. When we needed something created quickly in the middle of the case, we knew we had a teammate who could deliver. We knew who would be leading the way with strategizing sponsorship opportunities, and who would be taking the lead on establishing metrics that the client could use to evaluate our strategies’ success. By playing to our individual strengths, we knew we could rely on a product being produced as efficiently as possible, and that we would be able to carry these strengths over into our presentation.

LESSON 3: SEE THE BIG PICTURE

After a grueling 24 hours of fantastic ideas, intense work, and an hour or two of sleep each, we were dressed and ready for our presentation. We delivered a polished 20 minute overview to a panel of judges, including representatives from Robert Morris University, the Columbus Crew, and GMR Marketing. Shortly after the presentation, we learned that we had been selected the winners of our group and would be competing in the finals against teams from the University of South Carolina and University of South Florida. After presenting again in the finals, we had to wait almost 24 hours to hear the results. Finally, at the end of the first day of the conference it was announced to NSF attendees that the University of South Florida had won the competition. We were disappointed to learn that we had not won, but I could not be more proud of our team. Reflecting on it all, we had the opportunity to represent the Oregon MBA and the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center on a national stage, were able to meet and connect with many other future members of the sports industry, and we gained invaluable experience along the way.

Together, we were lucky to take part in an unforgettable experience that led us from Kentucky Speedway to Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals) and the Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds), which were only the tip of the iceberg in what was an incredible conference with many great insights from professionals in all corners of the sports world.  This could be the last trip I take with fellow members of the Oregon MBA as students, and I would not trade it for anything.

Written by Jake Martin

Jake is an MBA '15 student from Boise, Idaho, and is part of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. Jake completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he studied Business Operations and Information Management. Jake worked for Titleist as a Golfer Insights intern between the first and second year of his MBA, and aims to continue working in golf.

Blogging

My Advice to a Young Sports Business Professional

Last Monday, the media-centric niche of the Twittersphere blew up with a post from Fusion’s Felix Salmon on his advice to any curious young journalist. Vox’s Ezra Klein followed up with his own advice. The hashtag #AdviceForYoungJournalists then became a massively trending topic on Twitter for most of the week.

Salmon’s forecast was grim. The well-known finance blogger said he was lucky to move up in the journalism ranks as he did and when he did. “Journalism is a dumb career move,” he warned. The odds of making a good living in the journalism profession “have probably never been lower,” he concluded.

The response from Klein – and arguably everyone else since – took on a largely more positive approach. Klein encouraged aspiring writers to seek out their desired field of interest and start doing work in that field directly. He said there are lots and lots of new opportunities popping up every year.

So what does this have to do with the Oregon MBA program? And why is a first-year sports business MBA student blogging about journalism and giving advice? Why should folks listen to me? It’s because I think my fellow young sports business professionals can actually learn a thing or two from the trends in the media industry. Here is my advice on all this advice:

1) Blog. Buried within Salmon’s post, he wrote the following two-sentence thought:

Similarly, there’s no particular reason to believe that the advice I’d give five or six years ago, which was basically “start a blog and get discovered”, still works. With the death of RSS, blogs are quaint artifacts at this point, and I can’t remember the last time I discovered a really good new one.

I want you to throw that out the window. Sure, it might be true. The odds of creating the next Gawker Media, BuzzFeed or Huffington Post are incredibly unlikely now unless you have a boat load of capital. It’s like buying a lottery ticket in the journalism world. Anecdotally, I believe certain websites are seeing a decrease in direct traffic and an increase in referral traffic. Perhaps people view blogs now as an ending point to a link they saw elsewhere, not a beginning point for value and entertainment.

That still shouldn’t impact you, the young impressionable networker who needs to build your own brand and identity. Just because you can’t build a blog behemoth doesn’t mean blogs aren’t a pivotal force in creating your own voice, honing your craft and proving your competitive advantage in any industry.

2) Blog more. Let me share my story for a moment. I’m not any particularly great case study. Heck, I don’t have a job yet, I’m in my second quarter of this MBA program and I’m searching every day for a summer internship. But I’ve had a pretty fun crossover with the blogging and journalism worlds for the last decade.

When I was 14, I really hated the Bowl Championship Series, that old college football ranking. I didn’t like it at all. So I started doing my own. First, by hand. I had notebooks upon notebooks of every 2005 college football game and every score. I build a pretty simple model for a new rankings system. And I started to email some family friends about it.

Over time, that email list grew to about 150. I was sending regular rankings updates and writing about my random thoughts on the sports statistics world. That’s what led me to start my first blog, The Sports Report, back in mid-2008. I started my Twitter account that August. I blogged about politics, I blogged about my Dayton Flyers and I kept blogging about my rankings. It was a humble start, but combined with writing for my college newspaper, got me more comfortable with putting my thoughts into words and writing for an (albeit meager) audience.

I started sending my emails to the editors of the Cleveland sports site Waiting For Next Year and they invited me to join in spring 2009. I’ve joined other sites, too, including Sports Analytics Blog and Nylon Calculus. I’ve blogged at my own Tumblr page. I blog here and at the Warsaw SportsBlog. Heck, a Twitter friend and I recently started a site called Basketball Twitterlytics. All that has helped me build a decent Twitter following. It was all a hobby. But one that built up my personal brand and has been quite fun.

3) Well, blog some more. Are you starting to get the gist of this article? Let’s not just focus on my story. Mark J. Burns is a contributor to Forbes and recently joined the Atlanta-based agency CSE as an operations coordinator in talent/athlete marketing last month. In a recent post titled “10 Ways For Aspiring Sports Business Professionals To Crush 2015,” he also focused on blogging:

9) Find a website to write for around an area you’re interested in. If you enjoy marketing, search online for a sports marketing website to write for. It’ll probably be for free, but that’s okay. As a 20-year-old junior in college, you’re looking for worthwhile opportunities, not a get rich quick scheme. Through writing for a respected website about a niche you want to work in, you’ll soon become a go-to resource for knowledge in that area. At the same time, having this platform allows you to strategically connect with industry professionals for Q&As. This is a game changer. Instead of just reaching out to a 15-year veteran in marketing for an informational interview, now you have this website where you can not only learn about this person, but also, share his or her story with a wider audience.

This was also a point that Rich Campbell, marketing professor at Sonoma State University, emphasized during last week’s Warsaw Workshop event. While the other event panelists focused on their direct professions, Campbell often relayed his remarks to his blogging gig as a sports careers writer for About.com. Here’s one such example of a comment he made, focusing on how it can lead to more conversations and improved problem-solving:

A college newspaper friend of mine, Stephanie Vermillion, gave a list of 15 different reasons why folks  should start blogging in 2015. Her advice on networking with other bloggers and becoming an “expert” in your field is particularly sound. I’ve also enjoyed similar posts over the years from Joshua BeckerKristi Dosh, Melinda Emerson, Belle Beth CooperMark Schaefer and others. In today’s hyper-competitive workplace, doing anything you can to stand out from the masses will help you go a long way in life.

4) And while you’re at it, read and blog some more. The best companies and the best thought-leaders in sports write for the public eye frequently. To inspire yourself to think of innovative solutions for your industry, read the best of what is out there.

If you’re interested in sports and social media, follow Jessica Smith’s blog, Sunny Cadwallader’s blogNeil Horowitz’s podcast and #smsportschat. If you’re interested in sports revenue topics, check out The Migala Report, Russell Scibetti’s blogTroy Kirby’s podcast and #sbchat. There’s Sports Business DailySports Agent Blog, Hashtag Sports, Joe Favorito’s blogSport Techie, Around The Rings and so, so much more. There are countless incredible resources, just in the sports world alone.

As a hopeful young professional in sports — or really, in any industry — you should be doing what you can to be educated on trending news stories and doing what you can to put your build up your name. The Internet is at your disposal. Use it. Start blogging.

Jacob invites fellow University of Oregon sports business students to join him over at the Warsaw SportsBlog, where he is serving as a co-editor of the site with first-year MBA classmate Kurian Manavalan. For more information on how you can join as a writer, email Jacob at jrosen@uoregon.edu.

Written by Jacob Rosen

Jacob Rosen is a first-year MBA student in the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. His goal is to work in business insights and analytics for a professional sports team. An Ohio native, Jacob has worked in various roles for the Akron RubberDucks minor league baseball team. He writes online at WaitingForNextYear.com, NylonCalculus.com and SportsAnalyticsBlog.com. He can be followed on Twitter @WFNYJacob.

JobShadowHeader-Yessenia

Job Shadow Day at Wells Fargo

Sophomore Yessenia Carlos spent her Job Shadow Day at Wells Fargo and saw how dedication and hard work will help her achieve her career goals.

At what company or organization did your job shadow take place?

I job-shadowed at Wells Fargo in Portland, Oregon. I was on the 22nd floor where the executives meet. The room had a great view of Portland, especially way high up.

How did you prepare for the job shadow day?

I took all the advice Chris gave us during the dress rehearsal workshop, the advice from the online training modules (what questions to ask, how to dress, what to somewhat expect), and knowledge I have gained from past experience (how to make good first impressions, how to introduce yourself well, etc.).

What did you do during your day at the company?

During my job shadow I did a wide range of activities. In the morning we had bagels and introductions of the hosts, a recruiter, a store manager, and the district manager. After the introductions, we received more background information about Wells Fargo; how it began, what the mission is, where they would like to go in the future, and the many opportunities Wells Fargo offers. After lunch with the Wells Fargo District Manager, Michelle Arguas, we met more team members including a finance analyst, finance managers, and marketing consultants. We gained information about the paths they took and advice they had for us. Toward the end of the event we were encouraged to ask questions like what advice they had for sophomore students, what I can do now to prepare myself for the future, etc. After closing remarks, we received many business cards, handshakes, and lifelong connections.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

My most memorable moment was being able to meet the district manager and hear her story. She started off as a drive-through attendant at Wells Fargo. To see how far she has come along, it inspires me. At first it might seem that I will never get to my desired place, but I will get there with motivation and hard work. I might be a Burger King cashier now, but give me a few more years, hard work, and dedication, and I will reach my goals. Then I can look back and be pleased with my journey.

What surprised you about the day?

I was surprised to hear how different every individual’s journey was. Some started out not planning on becoming a marketing agent, others had different paths they were going to take, but with the many experiences and knowledge you gain throughout life, you start to realize where you fit in. I am excited to see where my journey takes me. So far, I have taken many unexpected turns, but honestly, it has led me to a life where I am working toward a goal I’ve never thought I could accomplish. Now, I’m closer than I was five years ago.

How do you think participation in the Job Shadow Program will benefit your career?

I’ve gained so much knowledge through learning about the different opportunities you will find throughout your journey, the many connections you gain, and the advice you receive. Knowing all that I know now, I have a better idea of what I want in a career, where I am going to get what I want, how I am going to get there, who can help me, and why I want it. As of now, I know I want to receive a degree in business with the help of my business advisors and my dedication. I want to do what I enjoy doing while inspiring others to work toward their goals, regardless of where they began.

What would you tell someone else who was thinking about participating in the program?

Sign up now before you change your mind. Job shadowing is not only following a professional around while they work. You gain advice, a look at what you might do in the future, and connections. Most importantly, you figure out the what, who, how, and why of your chosen career. You get a step forward into the game, something no one will regret having in this competitive environment.

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.