Why I Skipped Work…
It wasn’t because I hate it here, I promise.
Over the long weekend of June 4th till the 7th, I was out of the office attending the 2015 NCAA Career in Sports Forum. Ten students from each Division I, II, and III institution were invited to apply, and through some stroke of luck I was one of 215 student-athletes chosen to attend.
About the Conference:
· This four-day conference was held at the NCAA National Office in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was held to educate student athletes about the potential careers in sports, as well as to provide a forum to discuss networking, social media, and how to transition from being a student athlete to a professional in life after college athletics.
The Big Picture of College Athletics
· During the forum we worked in small groups to learn about the different positions within college athletics and what each functional area entailed. For example we learned that the best athletic directors never sit behind their desks, and that administrators of smaller scale school have to cover more functional areas due to the size of the department.
Social Branding: Do’s and Do not’s
· Antonio Neves spoke to the conference about creating your brand and keeping it polished. Key takeaways from his speech included:
1. Control Google: You can decide what employers and clients can and cannot see about you when they Google-search your name. One idea is to create a personal website; it tells your story better than your resume
2. Leverage social media for more than just an update on gossip: Create your brand through posting relevant articles, stay updated on current events, and post as if your grandma was reading
3. Post what matters most to you, but stay out of the drama: 51% of employers have found content causing them not to hire a candidate. Stand up for what you believe in, but getting into social media fights does not look good on your character. Know the difference.
· Dr. Mark Emmert, NCAA President: His best point was that 25% of D3, 50% of D2, and 75% of all DI collegiate male basketball players believe they are going to play professionally. In reality, only 2% actually will. We need to shift the perspective on professional sports and better prepare student athletes for work after college.
· Ross Bjork, Athletics Director at University of Mississippi: His key point was that you should not take life too seriously. In work, in your personal life, and in sports, there are going to be situations where the lines of right and wrong are blurred and you can only go with your gut in times of decision-making. His suggestions were to have fun with it, put a positive spin on it and learn from it. For example, when Ole Miss fans decided to tear down a goal post, carry it out of the stadium and proceeded to chop it up into souvenir pieces, his only comment was “Save me and @CoachHughFreeze a piece…” and even offered to help cut it for students due to safety concerns. Pretty cool stuff.
Personality test: Applicable to the Office
· Prior to the conference, all attendees were required to take a test called a DiSC assessment. Essentially, this splits people up into 4 categories of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. As it is comprehensive in its descriptions of how each category mixes with others, how they are most efficient, and what communication styles reach them the best, DiSC is a great tool to improve any office culture and efficiency.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this conference. I learned not only how my athletic skills are transferrable into the workplace, but also how to brand myself in a professional way and accurately interact with coworkers. I would highly recommend this program to any other individual looking for either a potential career in sports or to further your career development. For a look into this years program or to gather more information, head to http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/leadership-development-programs-and-resources/career-sports-forum
Kaitlyn Krause is interning with BCN for the summer. She will return to Hofstra University in the fall to complete her MBA.