Jacob Rosen

Blogging as a Career Development Tool

Last Friday, the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center hosted a “blog party” for undergraduate club members and MBA students interested in contributing to warsaw.sportsblog.com. There’s only so much of a “party” you can bring to the blogging world, but it was a really cool event, and I was glad I was able to help out somewhat. And I wanted to share the message that I gave to the folks in attendance the other day.

Whitney Wagoner, the center director, started the event with some wisdom as to the blog’s role in the long-term strategy of Warsaw. It can help with thought leadership and helping to establish the strengths of the program. And the three new blog editors — first-year MBAs Rob Cella, Nick Hudson, and Lauren Sokol — explained how to get started with the SportsBlog platform and some types of articles that individuals could contribute.

My role in the event: Give a little bit of inspiration for blogging and help with our goal to “demystify” the blogging process. Last year, I helped with Jeff Angus and Kurian Manavalan to edit the site. This year, I’m taking more of a backseat role as just a contributor because of my responsibilities as a Career Services graduate teaching fellow. But with my long history of blogging — I estimated I’ve contributed 2,000 posts to Flyer News, my WordPress site, my Tumblr site, WaitingForNextYear.comNylonCalculus.com, etc. — I had some additional perspective on the values of blogging.

Previously, I urged all young sports business professionals to blog. But within the context of the short talk I gave on Friday, here are my top three reasons why everyone should blog:

1) You’ll improve as a writer. When I was a freshman in high school, my history teacher said I was one of the worst writers in the class. That’s a very true story. And it really burned inside me. I was determined to just write and write and write in an effort to get better. And it’s certainly helped over the years with my communication skills in anything I’ve done. Many over the years have suggested that writing everyday about something, anything, can be a great way to practice.

In any job you’ll have in the future, you’ll need to have the ability to make a convincing argument to your colleagues and to your bosses. Effective communication skills are essential and a difference maker in today’s age of Internet slang, emojis and constant connectivity. If you can prove that you’re an experienced writer and communicator, you’ll have a leg up on any competitor during an interview process.

2) You’ll improve as a critical thinker. Typically, introverts desire time to sit back and reflect on their experiences. Extroverts seek interactivity and want to get things off their chest immediately. For either type of person, the process of writing about your feelings and working through the sentences can be a very powerful internal tool.

In terms of professional development, this can take the form of writing more frequently about the things you’re passionate about. For business majors, whether you want to work in social media, finance, accounting, marketing, entrepreneurship, or anything, you can’t merely just be a passive fan of that subject. You should practice your pitch at rationalizing why you want to work in that industry and what intrigues you about it.

3) You’ll have more self-confidence. For me, blogging has been instrumental in my career. A February blog post that I wrote about what I wanted to do in the sports business industry made its way into the hands of the Charlotte Hornets business office. A few weeks later, they emailed me about an internship opportunity and invited me to apply. I ended up accepting the offer and had a blast in Charlotte this past summer.

Blogging is a tremendous personal branding tool. It’s a great way to get your name out there and improve your digital footprint. Recently, the Warsaw Center brought in Dr. Marc Williams as a guest speaker. His main line was “It’s not about who you know, but who knows you.” Blogging will enable you to tell your story and your passions more effectively, so that others will be able to serve as your career advocates.

To summarize, anyone can blog. You’re only going to improve as a writer and a thinker if you commit to writing (and reading) every single day. Learn about what you enjoy from other writers and see how you can incorporate that into your work. Link generously back to other blog posts or articles that you enjoyed. And if you’re kind to others with your blogging activity, then you’ll have created a brand new platform for advancing your career into the future.

Written by Jacob Rosen

Jacob Rosen is a second-year MBA student in the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. His goal is to work in business or sponsorship analytics for a professional sports team. Jacob interned in business analytics for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets this past summer. He can be followed on Twitter @WFNYJacob.

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 second-year MBA student in the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. His goal is to work in business or sponsorship analytics for a professional sports team. Jacob interned in business analytics for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets this past summer. He can be followed on Twitter @WFNYJacob.

Why Studying Math is a Sexy Choice for Your Future

Howdy, Oregon MBA blog. My name is Jacob Rosen and I’m a first-year in the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center program. While many of my new classmates here in Eugene know me as a loudly proud Ohioan and non-stop sports blogger, many recognize me most as the MBA class of 2016’s token math guy.

I majored in applied mathematical economics with minors in Spanish and business administration during my undergrad at the University of Dayton. I selected Dayton similarly to how I picked Oregon – both schools had attractive existing programs in niche subjects and the schools’ warmhearted communities won me over on my first visits. No one in my family had ever attended a Catholic university or moved out to the Pacific Northwest. But both schools felt like home immediately.

In regards to math, I was always data friendly as a kid. When I was 15 years old, I created my own mock-up of college football’s Bowl Championship Series ranking. I created similar rankings for baseball and basketball and began blogging regularly by the time I was 17. Regardless of my major, I probably still would’ve ended up involved in the sports analytics blogging community and I always thought an MBA was a good fit.

But majoring in mathematics opened doors to me in ways most traditional majors might not. From a young age, I always had wanted to work in sports, whether in sports business, player personnel or sports journalism. But the advice I had gotten – prove your competitive advantage in whatever way possible and stay away from a sports journalism-centric approach – fit right in line with going the math route. A math degree is very, very sexy in this field. Just think of Moneyball.

And that sex appeal is certainly not just true in sports. It’s very, very true in all realms of business. Look at any relevant study – PayScale, Inc. and Georgetown University have two good data sets – and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors always are at the top of the career earnings list. And that’s with over 70 percent of STEM majors working in non-STEM fields.

Again, I wasn’t the best at math in my undergrad. Econ and business courses came much easier for me. Some of those math classes, such as linear algebra and discrete mathematics, were harder than anything I’ve had in my life. I struggled for the first time in my academic career. The subjects pushed me further and further. They made me more comfortable with challenging problems and critical thinking. They are making the first term of my MBA much easier for me.

The point of studying math is that employers in every field are looking for young people who can analyze data and think on their feet. There’s a reason why the Wall Street Journal recently said a master’s in data analytics might be as hot as an MBA. Big Data is the future of business. A math major – or at least several courses in math – can be the differentiation point to lift your resume to the top of the pile.

Written by Jacob Rosen

Jacob Rosen is a second-year MBA student in the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. His goal is to work in business or sponsorship analytics for a professional sports team. Jacob interned in business analytics for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets this past summer. He can be followed on Twitter @WFNYJacob.