MSA Blog Post by: Tristan Musser
I still don’t think it’s sunk in that I’ve officially graduated with my Master’s in Sport Administration from Canisius College. Two short years ago I remember pondering what my experience in Buffalo would be like. Now two years later with my Master’s degree behind me, both Canisius College and Buffalo have exceeded all of my expectations. It’s funny to think back about how nervous I was not knowing where my decision would lead me. But in the end my decision was rooted in passion, a passion for sports and more specifically, hockey. With my love for the game guiding the way, the environment at Canisius and the MSA program gave me the opportunity to succeed. This is where the MSA program at Canisius is ahead of curve; each student is allowed the flexibility to study at night and on the weekends while gaining valuable working experience during the day. I was able to apply concepts I learned in classes like Leadership in Sport, NCAA Compliance, and Facility Management, while working full time with the Canisius College Men’s Hockey team, and part time at the newly built HARBORCENTER. To paint a clear picture of my experience at Canisius, I’ll refer to the below equation:
relative discussions/assignments + real life experience = unmatched education
This type of learning process helped me to secure a job with the Academy of Hockey at HARBORCENTER prior to graduation on May 18th. My time working as Director of Hockey Operations with the Griffs gave me the two years of hockey experience and contacts I needed in order to be positioned where I am now. Partnered with a fundamental and informative curriculum that challenged me think about real world issues in sport, my experience at Canisius truly was unmatched. I cannot be anything but grateful for the opportunity the MSA program at Canisius provided me with, and for helping to advance my career in sport.
For the past two years I have been fortunate to attend Canisius College in one of the best Sport Administration Master’s programs in the country. Having finished my Master’s last week and with graduation ahead, all of my experiences, professional connections, and knowledge I have gained from the MSA program has prepared me for my future career path in athletics. The MSA program, along with my graduate assistantship, gave me hands on experience in professional sports with the Buffalo Bills in game day guest services, planning and executing a bowling charity event for the Special Olympics from the ground up, soliciting sponsorship, sports marketing, and writing press releases. My classes also gave me extensive knowledge in managing sports facilities, risk management, moral issues in sport, and sports business.
The personal connections I made through the program are beyond measurable. The professors are experts in their field and are always willing to assist their students with anything they need. The more connections you can make, the more opportunities you will have. Each and every experience and opportunity allow you to discover your area of passion and move closer to your dream job. Not to mention the MSA program contains over 500 alumni spread across 38 states and 8 countries. With an alumni network this big, the possibilities are endless.
I am confident that this program has provided me with the knowledge I need for a career in sports while also opening many doors of opportunity. During this program, the opportunities in sport are always presented to you as a student and it is up to you to go after the opportunities that you feel best fit your career goals and aspirations. I am excited for what the future holds and I am ever grateful for my education and experiences during the MSA program.
Each year 16 of the nation’s top Collegiate Hockey Programs square off, all with the same goal to reach the NCAA Frozen Four. This years tournament’s First and Second rounds of the East Region were held at the Times Union Center, in Albany New York. Quinnipiac, the top overall seed in the tournament, was first tested by Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale saw UMass-Lowell as well in the first round. Both Quinnipiac and UMass-Lowell came out victorious on Saturday, which set up a one seed vs. a two seed with the winner heading Tampa for the Frozen Four. Quinnipiac was too fast and too strong and out-performed UMass-Lowell by a score of 4-0, which clinched their ticket to the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four.
I was honored to be given the opportunity to volunteer for this year’s tournament. To represent a organization like the NCAA is always good, as you gain experience and the possibility of meeting the “right” person or contact. Although Canisius was not a member of this year’s tournament, I still represented the College with integrity and professionalism. Whenever someone asked where I was from, I proudly stated that I was happy to be a Golden Griffin, My initial duties for the tournament were to distribute credentials for the Media, as well as be a mic-runner during the post-game press conferences. Because of the national attention this tournament receives, organizations like ESPN, Fox Sports, and NBC Sports all were there to cover the tournament. Professional Scouts from the NHL all wanted to catch a glimpse of the talent these four teams produced on the ice, as one day maybe a student-athlete would represent their team. I did not want to limit my responsibilities to just the stated above, I wanted to gain as much experience as I could. I started to ask Edward Krajewski, Assistant Commissioner of the ECAC Hockey League, and Eric McDowell, Union College’s Sports Information Director, if there was any other assignments that I could assist with. They directed me to the Media Room, where I assisted individuals as they typed up game notes, box scores, and interview quotes.
This experience was amazing in many ways. Not many people get to help the “Behind the Scenes” functions of what it takes to make everything that is part of the game run so smoothly. Everyone sees the action on the ice, but they do see what it took to get the game set up. This all would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the Canisius’ Sports Administration program. I was asked to volunteer for this tournament because Canisius selected me to represent them at the MAAC Championships earlier this month. I was asked to come back and work this tournament and did not hesitate to say yes. The NCAA is an organization that I hope, one day, I will be able to represent every day.
Canisius College Master of Sport Administration program will be putting on its 13th annual Bowl N’ Blast fundraiser this April, with all benefits going to the Special Olympics of Western New York. A class of eight students is putting on the event with the help of their professor, and MSA alumni Andrea Gregory. The Bowl N’ Blast will be taking place on April 24th at 1pm at the AMF Airport lanes in Cheektowaga.
Special Events in Sports is an elective as part of the MSA program. The class is offered every spring to help educate students, and give hands on experience, in the ins and outs of running an event. It only took one class to learn that my brief experience of volunteering for fundraisers was only the surface of what it really takes to run an event. The class is laid out so that you can apply the information you learn in class to the Bowl N’ Blast fundraiser the following week. We go over in class budgets, sponsorship, and marketing just to name a few topics.
The class is however more than just Bowl N’ Blast fundraiser, because special events aren’t always fundraisers in a bowling alley. So we set up tours with other MSA alumni in the area to see what kind of events they help to put on. This led us to have tours of places like the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, the First Niagara Center, and the Buffalo Niagara Court Center. Getting to see the behind the scene action showed us how different sporting events, concerts, fundraisers are put on from venues big to small.
We hope you will join all those attending the 13th annual Bowl N’ Blast on April 24th at 1pm. Come out enjoy a few hours of bowling, food, raffles and prizes and see the hard work of eight MSA students as they donate all their profits to the Special Olympics of Western New York.
The month of March marks the biggest tournament for NCAA basketball and each season teams from different conferences compete in hopes to advance to this annual March Madness tournament. Since Canisius is in the MAAC conference, every year they battle for the final spot against ten other teams: Marist, Quinnipiac, Siena, Rider, Monmouth, St. Peters, Niagara, Fairfield, Iona, and Manhattan in order to make it to the NCAA tournament. This year the 36th annual MAAC Basketball Championships were held in Albany, NY at the Times Union Center, March 3rd through March 7th, and I had the privilege to volunteer as a Canisius MSA graduate student throughout the course of the tournament.
I attended the tournament with another graduate assistant in the MSA program, James Donovan. As student volunteers, our main responsibility was to conduct the Economic Impact Study for the MAAC. In order to obtain the data for the direct financial impact of the MAAC tournament on the city of Albany, surveys with economic questions were developed with input from the MAAC administration to analyze the expenditures of several groups of people associated with the MAAC Basketball Championships. The survey contained 20 questions, which asked demographics, affiliation, method of transportation, travel distance, attending habits, and spending behavior. All of the surveys were conducted before the start of the games, during halftime, and after the games. In order to entice fans to fill out a survey, Canisius sport administration gear, MAAC gear, and each school’s marketing signs were given out. James and I spent three full days collecting surveys, attending 14 games total, focusing on not only getting as many surveys as possible, but getting a range in the variety of local fans to out of town fans.
This experience was extremely interesting being a participant in business side of sports in order to learn how large tournaments economically impact the city in which they are being held. After meeting with Rich Ensor, the MAAC commissioner, and conducting the surveys over 3 days, I learned how significant economic statistics are when dealing with large sporting tournaments. The sports industry is a billion dollar business and if a city is holding a sporting event, they want to know if the event is financially benefiting the city. Conducting surveys such as the MAAC economic impact survey are crucial for providing an accurate sample size of money spent throughout a specific event, and in turn, discovering the direct financial impact on the city in which the event is being held. James and I are in the process of reviewing the results and analyzing the data from the survey before we send our results directly to the commissioner.
Article written by Tim Seil, Professor, Sports Management Professional Development Seminar
For the majority of Canisius College students the expectation is that they will start their professional career immediately upon graduation. In that professional career, students will put to use the various skills and experiences they have gained during their time at Canisius. Often times the hardest part for recent college graduates is obtaining that job where they can put those skills to use. One of the goals of the Sports Management program at Canisius is to provide students with the support and knowledge needed to navigate the job search process.
This semester I have the privilege of teaching Sports Management Professional Development Seminar (SPMT 475). The course is designed for the juniors and seniors within the sports management program. In this course we will educate students on effective networking, resume building, writing cover letters, interviewing skills and other professional development topics within the world of sports. The objective of SPMT 475 is to help students obtain skills that they can use to gain jobs and opportunities in the field of their choice.
Engaging students and providing them with real life examples is always key for any professor. This semester we have been fortunate to have presenters speak on a number of different professional developments related topics. These presenters brought with them a wide range of experiences to share with our group of students:
- Pete Harvey, Director of Sports Development for the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission, spoke with our class about the intricacies of the bid process for sporting events in the Buffalo region. He also educated our students on what he looks for when hiring for full-time employment and internship opportunities
- Eric Bond and Nick Grange, college recruiting coordinators from Mass Mutual, spoke with our class on the importance of networking. Both Eric and Nick have background in college athletics, and were able to share with our students what types of qualities they look for when hiring candidates for their open positions at Mass Mutual.
- Matt Lozar, Social Media Marketing Advisor at the Haley Marketing Group, shared his experiences on his transition from athletics to the corporate world. He was able to articulate his first hand experiences on the similarities and differences between the two fields. Matt also previously taught SPMT 475, and is an alum of the Sport Administration program at Canisius.
I am very excited about what the rest of the semester has to offer for our students. Our focus will now shift to the development of students’ resumes and cover letters, while continuing to stress the importance of growing their network inside and out of the sports world.