This story was originally published as part of the winter edition of The Master’s University Magazine. Read the full magazine here.
A crucial part of the sport management program at The Master’s University takes place outside the classroom.
Last semester, TMU students attended an LA Galaxy match and met with the team’s director of player personnel.
Others traveled to Anaheim to take in an Angels game.
One student flew to Texas and served as a volunteer during three days of Formula 1 qualifying and racing.
The venues and sports varied, but the purpose of placing TMU students right in the mix of things remained the same.
“For sure, we want to build a knowledge base and an understanding of the field in the classroom,” says Dr. Wayne Rasmussen, director of TMU Sport Management. “But then we want to capture these practical experiences, so students can hear from professionals in the field and apply what they’re learning.”
In September, Rasmussen and adjunct professor Kiel McClung (a former Galaxy draft pick) took members of McClung’s Event Management class to watch the Galaxy play the Colorado Rapids in LA’s Dignity Health Sports Park.
Before the match, the team’s senior director of player personnel, Gordon Kljestan, talked to the students about his job and provided behind-the-scenes details of what goes into running a professional soccer team. He also highlighted the importance of mentorship and internships. Then he opened it up for student questions. Kljestan also introduced the students to Wes Meadows, the Galaxy’s director of programming and youth development.
Cade Walker, a senior sport management student, said the best part of the evening was interacting with industry professionals and asking about the inner workings of sports operations at the highest level.
“There’s more people involved in the day-to-day operations of a pro sporting event than I anticipated,” Walker said. “I also learned that the scouting and development process takes place a lot earlier in a player’s career than in other sports I’m familiar with.”
One month after the Galaxy game, TMU freshman Isaac Hopewell traveled with Rasmussen to Austin, Texas, to serve as a volunteer at Formula 1’s 2022 United States Grand Prix. Hopewell worked in customer service and event management support. Over the three days, the event drew nearly 450,000 fans.
“This meant everything to me because it’s my dream to work in the Formula 1 world, specifically on the business side,” Hopewell said. “This was an opportunity to get my foot in the door.”
Rasmussen hopes that Hopewell’s experience will open the door to take more students to work with Formula 1 in the future. It’s all part of a program designed to prepare students to faithfully represent Christ in whatever career He calls them to.
“Things like going to the Galaxy game help us build a solid experience base,” Rasmussen said, “and internships help students build networks and meet professionals. We do all of that in the context of asking, ‘How does our faith in Jesus Christ interact with these things that we’re doing? It’s great to work pro soccer, but how is it Kingdom-building?’
“These questions will always be at the forefront of everything we do in the TMU Sport Management program.”
Learn more about TMU’s sport management program here.
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