John Molson Sports Business Conference
The John Molson Sports Marketing Conference is a national conference for students interested in pursuing a career in the sports management industry. Throughout this three-day conference, students are able to listen to a variety of panels, wherein leaders from the industry discuss issues such as stats/analytics, arenas, ticket sales, public relations, and brand management as a whole. Leagues represented at this conference include NHL, NFL, MLB, MLS and NBA. The conference takes place every year in Montreal, Quebec, and is hosted by Concordia University’s Business School; John Molson School of Business. This year, Johnathan Corobow, Abby Ilchena, Sara Castles and Shona Grewar were the delegates from the Asper School chosen to attend on behalf of the CSA.
I learned so many incredible things at the conference and am so glad I attended. Above all, I learned that my main interest lies in communications, more specifically, public relations. During the weekend, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was one of the few female delegates at the conference. On Saturday, an all-woman panel took to the floor and discussed player branding and community relations. They had all dealt with big-name clients and discussed the issues they faced in building an athlete’s personal brand, and adapting to the changing environments, and managing “fires.” It was incredibly interesting and insightful.
Another highlight from the weekend was to hear from a Human Resources manager of an NHL team. She told us exactly what she looked for in a resume, cover letter, and interview. She also told us about a job search site I had never heard of before, called Teamwork Online, where many jobs are posted in the sports industry, internships included. She wasn’t afraid to talk about hardships in entering the industry, such as not having dual citizenship, or the gender bias commonly experienced in sport management and athletics as a whole.
Going into the weekend, I was nervous as I had never attended a conference before. I didn’t know what to expect. Eastern schools can be intimidating, but over the weekend I became more comfortable with interacting with students from other schools. The group of us from U of M met a really great group of people from New Brunswick, and enjoyed getting to know some of the JMSB students as well. The days were busy with panels and each evening included a student networking event.
The conference as a whole was well-organized, and included a variety of industry professionals from various leagues. The hotel was beautiful and centrally located, so during breaks we were able to explore the city for a bit. Most of the panels were very valuable and contained different insights and areas for discussion. There were plenty of opportunities to ask questions at the end of the panel, but there was little time to meet one-on-one with the professionals. The only way around this was acquiring a VIP pass.
Johnathan received a VIP pass and was able to attend a “speed networking” event, where he was able to talk with a majority of the speakers one-on-one. He said this was the most beneficial panel he attended all weekend, so try to get your hands on one of these passes! You will have to spend extra, but there are more opportunities to ask questions and network.
This conference is extremely beneficial for Asper students. Being from Winnipeg, it is hard to explore the sports industry. This conference allowed me the opportunity to discover the possibility of a career in sports management. I am now more familiar with the steps necessary in how to enter this competitive environment, and feel more confident in pursuing a career in the industry. The organizers have definitely expanded into other disciplines within sports besides marketing, so I would recommend this conference to anyone who has an interest in potentially entering the sports management field.
My advice to anyone attending is to put yourself out there! Go to all the evening events, ask the panelists questions, and approach the speakers after the panel. You never know just how valuable making that connection or setting an impression could be. Bon chance!