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Your Career is a Marathon, not a Sprint: Q&A with Career Coach Erin Braddock

One of the key advantages available to students taking University of Florida’s
online M.S. in Sport Management program is the personalized attention they receive, including access to our expert career coaches and the ability to discuss their goals with industry veterans.

Today, we wanted to share some of our coaches’ insights, so we talked with Erin Braddock about the advice she would give people who are just starting in the field.

Erin Braddock is a sport management industry veteran, with eight years working with the Orlando Magic, where she was responsible for facilitating and managing corporate partnerships. She was instrumental in activating numerous multi-million dollar accounts and was responsible for securing the Magic’s first jersey sponsorship with Disney.

Read her full Q&A below, or contact an Academic Coordinator to learn more about our sport management master’s program or our career coaching services.

Interested in learning more about careers? Download our comprehensive Sport Management Career Guide.

Sport Management Career Q&A with Erin Braddock

Let’s start by talking a little bit about your background. What’s one of the proudest moments of your career and how did you get to that moment?

I feel like I took the scenic route in my career. I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do coming out of school and hadn’t been exposed to a whole lot of sports entities coming from a small town in the Midwest.I worked for several companies including Disney, the Orlando Sentinel (Tribune) and Hilton Grand Vacations before I landed what I would have called my ideal job: at the Orlando Magic working in Corporate Partnerships.Hands down, my proudest moment in my career was helping to secure the first jersey sponsor at the Magic with Disney. My internship and my first two jobs were both with Disney, so it was fun to see things come full circle.

What’s something you’ve learned in your career that surprised you?

Your career is a marathon, not a sprint. I recall naively thinking I would hit this proverbial finish line when I landed my first job, and then all of schooling, internship experience, etc. would finally pay off. The reality was I hadn’t landed my dream job, and I think I felt a little disheartened it wasn’t what I had envisioned. Thankfully, it wasn’t the finish line. I was able to move along and still take key learnings from that opportunity, and I’ve been able to do the same with every other opportunity I had moving forward. Like a marathon, your career will likely be full of twists and turns, and you may choose to take a different route than you had previously thought you would. Early on in my career, I aspired to be a VP or C-level executive, but after getting married and having children I realized this wasn’t what would bring me the most joy. When I came to a fork in the road I chose to leave the professional sports world to jump into teaching and helping others as they navigate their way through their career marathon. It’s been very enjoyable and rewarding thus far.

What advice would you give someone who’s just starting in your field, or has an interest in getting into it? What steps should they start thinking about taking?

Start relationship building with people already in the industry, and actively seek out opportunities to get experience. A lot of people think they need to “network.” While this is true, networking should really be more focused on building relationships — not just a one-time exchange of business cards. When a position opens in the sports industry there are bound to be a lot of applicants, so how does your resume stand out? Often, it’s because of connections reaching out on your behalf. The sports industry is rather small at the end of the day. As the student, it’s important to remember you are the one driving the ball down the field and taking the initiative to seek out and foster these relationships. Although it may seem intimidating, everyone was in your shoes at one time and most are likely to assist where possible.

What separates someone who’s “good” from someone who excels and surpasses the competition?

You can teach skills, but you can’t teach character, dependability, passion, attitude, emotional intelligence, etc. Those who excel possess the intangibles and couple them with the “good” skillsets really knock it out of the ballpark so to speak.

About UF’s Online M.S. in Sport Management

The online Master of Science in Sport Management from University of Florida readies students to take on complex financial and administrative challenges in the world of sports. The comprehensive sport management curriculum can help you develop your skills as a multifaceted, multi-talented professional who is ready to break into the field of sport representation.

Through core courses that include Sport Marketing and Management and Leadership in Sport and electives such as Sports Sponsorship, Sport Psychology, and What Drives Winning Leaders, you will gain in-depth knowledge of the business of sports.

Athlete Development was created especially for those who want to work directly with athletes to successfully balance the demands of their sport with the demands of living a lucrative and productive life off the field.

High Performance Coaching is intended for students who wish to pursue positions in managerial coaching or athletic administration, showing them how to foster the best performances in athletes.

Sport Law teaches lawyers and administrators about legal principles that can have important applications in the world of athletics, including insurance, real estate finance, insurance, and fair competition.

Director of Racquet Sports is ideal for racquet sports enthusiasts seeking leadership roles. Whether you aim to run a racquet sports business or oversee a country club or league, this concentration equips you with vital skills in sport management, program development, sport marketing, budgeting, human relations, and more.

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