Our sports trek group had the opportunity to visit two professional sports teams, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, and a sports consulting firm called 4Front. Ten of us, along with two chaperones, gathered in United Center Lobby eagerly waiting to see what was in store for our meetings. While waiting officials and executives donning business attire passed us, and we all looked on wondering if that may be us some day. A representative for the Bulls greeted us and lead us to a 3rd floor conference room, which had a tremendous view of the Chicago skyline.
Next, we visited the Blackhawks who like the Bulls, also had a diverse panel of speakers for us. We asked the professionals from the Blackhawks questions and gained some insight into positions available, but then we were told that a surprise visitor was coming. Stan Bowman, General Manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, took the time to meet with us, explain his career path, and gave advice on being successful in the industry. The meeting with Mr. Bowman was incredible, and it was insightful to hear from someone who is at the pinnacle of the sports business world. The trek began with a panel consisted of five professionals who each worked in a different department for the Bulls. To help us understand the types of jobs available within a professional sports company each of them described what they did in full detail. From Corporate Partnership roles to marketing and ticketing, the members of the panel had a distinct role with the team and many had a unique path that lead them to the Bulls Organization. All of the students introduced themselves and asked questions hoping to further learn about how to get involved and what opportunities were available in the industry. The key takeaway from the meeting was that the sports industry is very difficult to enter due to few positions available. But, we learned that through being proactive, networking, and obtaining internships, anyone can be successful. After the meeting we had a brief tour of the offices and saw some awesome Bulls memorabilia.
We left the United Center and after a lunch and break ventured to our next organization at 4Front. Going in the organization all of the students were confused at what 4Front actually does, but we were all eager to learn about the company. 4Font’s office had a very relaxed vibe and we could tell that everyone involved with the company was happy to be there and excited to work on their projects. We ended up learning that 4Front was a sports consulting firm, dedicated to the art of innovation and leadership in helping professional organizations prosper. The founder of the company stopped by and said he was impressed by us and could not wait for us apply for internships. After the meeting we packed up and headed for dinner and the Blackhawks game.
Overall, the Chicago Sports Trek trip was an amazing opportunity that helped all of us gain connections within the organizations and also provided us the potential to acquire internships. Our leaders, Ali Hart and James Biddick, did a tremendous job of preparing us for the trek and scheduling the events so that we could truly see everything the industry has to offer. The other students and I walked away ecstatic and we cannot thank Notre Dame and the Center for Career Development enough for providing us the opportunity to potentially gain positions in our dream industries!
- Brendan Brady, Class of '21