Octagon Reflection Paper

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My reflection about my Senior Capstone experience at Octagon

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Octagon Reflection Paper

  1. 1. Spring 2012 Senior CapstonePersonal Reflection PaperOctagon, NYC: Athlete and Property Marketing InternBryan M. Davidson The great Vince
  2. 2. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection PaperLombardi once said, "It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever, the onewho recognizes the challenge and does something about it.” This statement was the essence ofLombardi’s life, a man whose influence on the sporting world has never diminished. I can onlyhope that one day I too will have the type of effect on the sport industry that Lombardi had. Ihave done my best to keep Lombardi’s mantra in mind while completing my Senior Capstone atOctagon, and while traveling on my journey to a career in the sports industry thus far. For me,being able to attack challenges head on was a difficult task at first, where I struggled to be aleader and not a follower. However, I am now confident that after my experience this pastsemester, I am better prepared to be the ‘doer’ that Lombardi celebrated. All my life, my biggest passion has been sports, and I knew that I would one day work inthis growing and fast-paced industry. Albeit, when I was much younger, I thought that I wouldbe able to play for the Phoenix Suns in the NBA. Fortunately enough, I quickly came to therealization that this dream of mine would not be a reality. I quickly set a new goal for myself todo whatever it takes to get into the business side of the industry, while following this passion ofmine. From the first day I stepped foot into my high school, I did everything in my power to putmyself on a path that would help get me into the college of my dreams, Syracuse University; allwhile enhancing my learning experiences along the way. Before I got a chance to be a SportManagement student at Syracuse, I took advantage of the opportunities given to me at highschool and within the community. Whether it was taking sports business and law classes,interning for a local law firm, or being a four year member and senior president of my school’sMock Trial club, everything that I participated in during my four years of high school helped toprovide me with the structure I needed to enhance my skills and knowledge once I got to 2
  3. 3. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection PaperSyracuse. Once I arrived at Syracuse, I quickly followed that same path that I started on fouryears earlier, helping me to get to where I am today. While spending three and a half amazing years at Syracuse, where I challenged myself asa student and as a person, I was once again able to take advantage of every experience andopportunity that presented itself to me. Starting from day one, I dove into as manyextracurricular activities that I possibly could partake in; so that I could couple my classroomlearning’s with hands-on work as well. It all started with joining the Sport Management Club,where I would spend three and a half years as a participating member, engaging in andpursuing every opportunity that the club had to offer. For starters, during the early months ofmy freshman year, I volunteered to be a worker for the NBA Preseason game between thePhoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets that was held on campus. This was my first true hands-on learning experience that I got to participate in at SU, and was one that really propelled me inthe right direction. Between marketing and promoting the game in the weeks leading up to tip-off and helping to run the clinic for inner city kids (among other various tasks before, during,and after the game itself), I was able to see just how much hard work is needed in order toaccomplish a task in the sporting world. As my first semester at SU progressed, I continued to be an active member in the SportManagement Club, where I helped with the marketing team for the first Charity Auction that Iparticipated in. Volunteering at the Sports Charity Auction for three years was one of the mosthumbling events that I have ever been a part of. Not only did I learn key skills about what ittakes to prepare for, market, promote, sell, and run a major event like the auction, but I got to 3
  4. 4. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Papersee just how important giving back to the community is, and how much the sports industry iscritical in helping to make other’s lives better. Besides the auction, everything else that the cluboffered helped to educate me with unprecedented knowledge that most college students neverget the chance to receive. From the various sport executives who would come to the club andgive lectures, to the annual SPM board meeting where I get to network with huge players in theindustry, there was always something that I could take advantage of in order to help myselflearn the ways of the industry. This also included the immersion trip to Los Angeles during thespring of my junior year; a trip that truly opened my eyes. Once I heard about the potential club trip to LA, I knew that I would be part of it nomatter what. Spending my spring break in Los Angeles with fellow SPM students and faculty,where we would meet with some of the most prominent sports executives in the industry, wasa no brainer for me. Once it became official, I quickly signed up for the trip, and preparedmyself for an experience that I knew would be life changing. The week that I spent in LA withSport Management was truly one of the most unique weeks of my life. The places we visitedand people we met with were things that I never could have dreamed of. Whether it was TheColiseum, meeting Kobe Bryant at the Lakers practice facility and then seeing the Lakers play atThe Staples Center, or taking a trip to CAA and meeting with one of their top baseball agents,every single minute spent on the immersion was meaningful. I was able to network myself tonumerous individuals, many of whom I am still in contact with today. I also was able to createrelationships with fellow SPM students who I did not previously know, and am now extremelyclose with. All in all, between networking, listening, and site-seeing, as well as acting anddressing professionally, the trip to Los Angeles was the ‘icing on the cake’ for my SPM Club 4
  5. 5. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperexperience, and a trip that I know helped to define me into the sports business professional Iam today. Although I was an active participant in the SPM Club for three and a half years, it wasnot the only extracurricular activity that I was involved in. During the entire spring semester ofmy freshman year, I interned for the Syracuse Crunch Hockey team. This was another definingexperience for me since it was my first true internship within the sport industry. I quickly had tolearn to be an efficient time manager, due to the fact that the internship took place during theschool year, and I had to properly balance my school work and studies with my obligations forthe Crunch. At first this was all very difficult for me, but I quickly was able to grasp everythingand do the best job that I possibly could. The responsibilities that I had at the Crunch, whichincluded working on the game night operations team, as well as doing sales, cold calling, andmarketing for the team during office hours, helped to show me what it is like to work in thesport industry on a daily basis. The skills that I learned at the Crunch have stuck with me today,and have truly helped me to succeed with the various tasks that I was assigned during mycapstone experience. A third major activity that I participated in outside of the classroom was the UniversityUnion Concert Committee. I spent two years as an executive advisor for the club, where it wasmy responsibility to help research and book artists for on-campus concerts such as Block Partyand Juice Jam. It was also my responsibility to help market and promote the concerts, surveythe student body about their experiences, and find new and innovative ways for generalmembers to feel involved in the club. My experience while being on the concert board was truly 5
  6. 6. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Papera once in a lifetime one, and really helped me see that my passion goes deeper than just sports.Not only was being a member a rewarding experience for me (selling over 50,000 tickets onvarious shows while on the board), but it was an extremely valuable learning experience for meas well. Working with the various artists, as well as helping to run the actual concerts, allowedme to see just how similar the music and sports industries are, and provided me with the real-world experience that I needed in order to hone my event planning and marketing skills. Beinga member of University Union, coupled with my membership of the Sport Management Club,truly helped me to see the bigger picture of the sports and entertainment industry, and gaveme the foundation I needed for succeeding in the future. Even though the activities that I was a part of outside the classroom helped to give methe real-world skills that I need in order to succeed, I would not be where I am today if itweren’t for the classes I took at Syracuse and the professors that taught them. I can truly saythat every class that I was part of during my four years at Syracuse helped to teach me aspecific skill set that I have used on a regular basis throughout my capstone. Whether it was mySports Sales class, where I learned how to make cold calls and sales presentations, or my SportsTechnology class, where I learned how to use all of the necessary computer tools in theworkplace, every class that I enrolled in provided me with the chance to learn skills andknowledge that I had previously lacked, and provided me with the opportunity to succeed inthe long-run. Other classes like my Sports Career class, my Sports Marketing class, myEntrepreneurship class, and my Presentation Speaking class all helped me to learn invaluableskills ranging from how to act and look like a professional at all times to how to properly delivera presentation to a group of my peers. I can honestly say that without these classes, I would not 6
  7. 7. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperbe having the success that I am right now both in my capstone and in life as a whole. As I look back at my college experiences, I cannot forget to talk about the summerinternships that I took part in. From day one, my various Sport Management professors andadvisors constantly talked about how vital it is to get as much out-of-the-classroom experienceas possibly. One can only learn so much from studying and being taught certain materials, but ifthey are able to couple that with hands-on learning experiences in the field, then they will bebetter prepared for a career in the sport industry. Taking the advice from my elders, I dideverything I could to find internships at as many diverse companies as possible. The first majorsummer internship I was able to land was at a sports and entertainment law firm in NYC,Hantman & Associates, ESQ. Although the firm was rather small, I was still able to learn animmense amount of skills that I could not have learned in the classroom. My responsibilities atthe firm included legal and market research, organizing and filing cases, maintaining businessexpenses, and keeping track of client information. Besides my daily tasks, I was fortunateenough to have been able to make various courthouse appearances, attend business meetingswith the firm’s clients, and learn how to write-up various legal documents. Since it is myultimate ambition to be a sports agent, and a large part of that career has to do with contractsand the legal field, this internship was a critical learning experience for me, where I was able totake what I learned in the classroom and use those skills in the field. My second major internship that I was part of was at Deutsch Advertising, where I waspart of the Sports Account Management team. This internship was an amazing and fast pacedexperience, where it was non-stop from the moment I arrived at the company. I got the 7
  8. 8. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperpleasure of working on the DirecTV account, where I helped to create, design, present, edit,produce and research different advertising campaigns for DirecTV. This was great for mebecause a major part of being a sport agent is being able to come up with good marketingpartners and ideas for your clients, and working at Deutsch allowed me to see what it takes tocome up with these types of ideas, and how to differentiate good and bad marketingopportunities. Another major part of the internship was my work on the DirecTV spoof ‘FootballCops.’ Throughout my time spent at Deutsch, I helped to create, edit, and keep track of thiscampaign, where we used clients Peyton & Eli Manning to create a fake TV show for DirecTV.This was an unbelievable and extremely enjoyable project for me, where I was able to see whatit takes to create, work on, and see a major marketing campaign from start to finish. I onceagain was able to use skills that I learned in the classroom, specifically my sports marketing andsales classes, in order to help me create the best work I possibly could while at Deutsch. I truly believe that everything that I have been a part of during my high school andcollege career has helped me to get to where I am today. If it weren’t for every class,extracurricular activity, and internship that I partook in, I believe I would not have gotten theopportunity to complete my senior capstone at Octagon in New York City. However, even withthat being said, the process that lead up to landing this capstone was a long and grueling one,where I spent a great deal of time networking, reaching out to contacts, and trying my best toimpress the recruiters. I know that everything happens for a reason, and for me, everything fellinto place when I needed it too, ultimately helping me land an opportunity at Octagon. My connection with Octagon started at the end of my summer internship at Deutsch. 8
  9. 9. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection PaperDuring a company-wide event, I came to the realization that Deutsch was owned by Inter PublicGroup, and the holding company happened to own a sports agency as well, known as Octagon.As soon as I found this out, I talked to the woman who hired me at Deutsch, Ms. Felicia Geiger,to see if she had any contacts at Octagon. Felicia put me in touch with one person she knew atOctagon, and that was the start of the chain events that ultimately landed me an interview.From my initial contact made at Octagon, I was then put in touch with a few other associates,all of which recommended I speak to someone else who might be able to help me with what Iwas looking for. I finally got in touch with the head of human resources for Octagon, Ms. LydiaKetkar, but she informed me that it was too early in the process and that I should reach out toher again a couple of months later. I waited a couple of weeks, and decided that before I reachout to her again, I should reach out to as many people as I possibly could, to see if I could createany new connections. Through this reaching out process, I ended up connecting with Andrew Abramson, aformer Syracuse Sport Management graduate, who now works in Octagon’s basketball division.Andrew did his senior capstone with Octagon a few years back, and that internship ended uplanding him a full-time job at the company. I spoke to Andrew a few times over the next coupleof weeks, and let him know my desire to complete my capstone with Octagon, just as he did.Andrew ultimately connected me with Ms. Jennifer Keene, who worked in the New York Cityoffice, since that is where I wanted to conduct the internship. Thanks to Andrew’s introductionand recommendation, I was given the chance to have a phone interview with Jennifer inOctober. During the call, Jennifer and I spoke at length about my goals, my experiences, what Icould contribute to Octagon and about the sport industry in general. The interview itself was an 9
  10. 10. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperamazing experience for me, and I ended the call feeling very confident about the chances oflanding a capstone with the company. Jennifer let me that I would hear from either her or Lydiain the coming weeks about if there is an opportunity for me, and we would take it from there. On October 17th, 2011, I received a phone call while I was leaving my sports law class.The call was from Ms. Lydia Ketkar, the head of Human Resources for Octagon. On the call, shewanted to complement me on the job that I did during the interview I had with Jennifer theweek prior. After catching up briefly, Lydia informed me that she and Jennifer decided that theywould like to extend an opportunity to me to complete my capstone at Octagon’s NYC office,starting in January. I was almost speechless when I heard the news, and immediately acceptedthe offer. From there, Lydia sent me all the paperwork that needed to be signed in order tomake the internship acceptance and offer official. I stayed in touch with her and Jennifer in thefollowing weeks in order to come up with my exact starting date. After going back and forth ona date due to the moving of offices that Octagon was going to have to endure, we decided thatthe first day of my senior capstone will be Tuesday, January 17th. Although it was still monthsaway, I recall being extremely eager to get to work. For the remainder of the semester, I did mybest to research and learn as much about the company as possible, so that I could come intomy first day feeling like an experienced employee. The interesting thing about accepting Octagon’s offer as soon as I got it was that I had todecline other offers that I ended up receiving as well. During my search for a capstone, Ireached out to numerous different sport agencies and marketing companies, in hopes ofsomething sticking. The same week that I accepted Octagon’s offer, I found out that I had been 10
  11. 11. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperoffered an opportunity to complete my capstone at IMG, and an opportunity to interview withWasserman Media Group as well. Although I now had multiple options, I knew right away thatOctagon was the best fit for me. Octagon is a very well-rounded company, specializing inmarketing and representation of athletes and entertainers alike. Also, the capstone was set tobe in New York City, which is where I needed to be in terms of living. The other twoopportunities were not in NYC, and I felt that they did not offer the potential for growth likeOctagon did. All in all, I knew I had to make a decision on which one I wanted to accept (eventhough I committed to Octagon at first), and I was very satisfied in the end with the route that Idecided to take. Passion. Engagement. Results. Those three words are what everyone at Octagon abidesby at all times. Not only do those words define the general mission of the company, but theyact as a guideline for every employee to follow when conducting their daily business. As aglobal sports, entertainment, and music conglomerate, with over 25 years of success, Octagonhas become the world’s largest sponsorship consulting and talent representation agency. Thecompany manages and influences over three billion dollars’ worth of annual worldwidesponsorship fess and branded entertainment initiatives, while operating with over 800employees globally. Thanks to all of the great work that each member of the Octagon teamcompletes, the company was awarded the top sports agency honor by the Sports BusinessJournal in 2008, and was named the inaugural Sports Agency of the Year. However, even withall of the accolades that Octagon has received as a whole, it is truly the individuals from the topto the bottom that make the company what it is. 11
  12. 12. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paper From my first day at Octagon, it was evident that everyone worked as a team in order toaccomplish their goals. By following the company’s general mission, they are able to cometogether as one and complete any task that comes their way. It all starts with the President andCEO of Octagon, Mr. Rick Dudley. Although I never got the chance to formally meet Mr. Dudley,I understood his desire for results every day that I came to work. He passed his mission downfrom person to person throughout the company, and it quickly resonated with me. In terms ofstructure under Mr. Dudley, Octagon is made up of Phil de Picciotto, who is the President of theAthletes & Personalities division, Nancy Morton, who is the CFO of Athletes & Personalities, JeffShifrin, who is the President of Octagon Marketing, and Lisa Murray, who is the Executive VP,CMO of Octagon. From there, Octagon is composed of various agents, including Jeff Austin(basketball), Mile Sullivan (football), Alan Nero (baseball), and John Ferriter (entertainment).Other key personnel at the company include Julie Kennedy, who is the VP of Talent for theAthletes & Personalities division, Bill Hart, who is the VP of Athlete & Property Marketing, DavidSchwab, who is the founder of Octagon First Call, and my boss Jennifer Keene, who is the SeniorDirector of the Athlete & Property Marketing division, and the company’s official Literary Agent.In one way or another, I was fortunate enough to interact with various higher ups throughoutOctagon, helping to make my experience extremely informative. Since the New York City office that I completed my capstone in was not Octagonheadquarters, there were not as many key personnel in the office on a regular basis comparedto the main office in McLean, VA. As I stated earlier, my site supervisor was Ms. Jennifer Keene,and I directly worked for her throughout the entire length of my capstone. It was my job to helpOctagon continue to succeed and grow its business by using the skills I developed during my 12
  13. 13. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperpast experiences. Jennifer provided me with daily tasks and assignments, as well as with majorlengthy projects. She had me participate in her conference calls with clients, sponsors, andother Octagon employees, and granted me access to everything that she was working on.Jennifer was truly the most influential boss I have had thus far in my short career. She trustedme to be able to complete difficult and critical tasks, while also giving me the freedom to workon some of my own projects. Every day coming to work with Jennifer was a true learningexperience, where she taught me key skills such has reading and writing contracts, speakingprofessionally, and thinking critically. All in all, Jennifer treated me as an equal, experiencedcolleague, and not as an entry-level intern. Under Jennifer, I truly was never kept out of the loop, and always knew what was goingon across the company. Even though there were not many of us in the NYC office, thanks toJennifer’s candidness with me, from the moment I got to Octagon I felt like I was part of aglobal family. Although I worked directly for Jennifer on a regular basis, I was still able to createa connection and interact significantly with other Octagon employees and interns throughoutthe company. A few key executives that I was able to work on projects with included TeddyBloch (Manager, A&P Marketing in McLean), Alyssa Romano (Marketing & CommunicationsCoordinator, McLean), Devin Lacerte (Athlete Marketing Manager, McLean), and Bill Hart (VP ofA&P Marketing, McLean). I also interacted with Sivan Fernandez (A&P Marketing Intern,McLean), Sarah Grace (Events, NYC), and Marisol Perez (Events Intern, NYC) more frequentlysince they were interns and entry-level employees like me. Every person that I connected with,whether it was once or more frequently like the list above, truly made me feel like I was right athome, and made working with them easy and rewarding. 13
  14. 14. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paper The higher-ups that I worked with throughout my internship all impacted me in differentways. Teddy helped me get accustomed to the ‘Octagon way’ from the beginning of mycapstone. He helped me to learn the ropes of doing certain assignments, and was there for meto reach out to whenever I had any question or needed advice. Alyssa was very beneficial forme to work with because she helped me learn about the communications and PR side of thebusiness. Whenever I was working on a project and needed more information about a specificclient, Alyssa was the one who provided me with those details. Devin was great to work withbecause he was more part of the athletes themselves. He was my liaison for the Stephen Currycold calls, and really helped me to feel more comfortable making those calls. He was able toexplain to me the proper ways of reaching out to targets, and how to act professionally whiledoing so; true skills I could only learn in the field. Lastly, it was great getting to network withBill, since he is well known and connected throughout the industry. I was able to pick up manykey tricks to the trade by sitting in on meetings when he came to the NYC office, and I also wasfortunate enough to pick his brain a few times as well. I know that every person I interactedwith throughout my stay at Octagon helped to shape me into the worker I need to be in orderto ultimately achieve success. During my time at Octagon, my daily and weekly responsibilities often varied. On anygiven day I could be responsible for intern tasks like research assignments, contact informationlook ups, cold calling and emailing, as well as other office related tasks. On the other hand, mydays sometime consisted of major projects like creating marketing campaigns for clients,attending business meetings, sitting in and participating in conference calls, and coming up withsponsor targets for major client events. The diversity of the tasks that were assigned to me is 14
  15. 15. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperwhat made the capstone so intriguing for me, and what kept me eager to come to work everymorning. I always had to be on my feet and ready for the next task that would be presented tome. Being a good time manager was critical in order to get everything done when they neededto be completed, and thanks to my rigorous schedule that I maintained at Syracuse, I wasextremely prepared to do so. As I said earlier, the projects and tasks that I was responsible for during my capstonevaried greatly. Some of the major assignments that I worked on included creating a culinarycamp plan and outline for client Monica Bhide, creating a marketing campaign utilizing clientJimmer Fredette and DJ Kaskade, cold calling sponsor targets for the Stephen Curry Charity GolfTournament and the Justin Tuck Celebrity Billiards Tournament, working on different salesdecks for clients Nancy Lieberman, Emmitt Smith, Monica Bhide, Justin Tuck, and JimmerFredette, and creating lists of licensing and sponsorship targets for various clients and events.Some of the more minor, yet just as important tasks that I worked on throughout my stayincluded helping out my boss with her expenses, creating lead sheets for new contacts, variousresearch assignments about individuals and companies, writing thank you notes on behalf ofmy boss and clients, and basic intern duties. I can honestly say that there was not a single taskthat I did not enjoy working on and that did not help me to learn something valuable. Everysingle assignment that I was given helped make my overall experience at Octagon one that wastruly educational and beneficial for me, helping to sharpen the skills that I will need as I travelon the road to success. The most rewarding aspect of my capstone at Octagon was the fact that every 15
  16. 16. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperexperience that I partook in had some form of learning implications for me. Each assignment,project, task, meeting, and phone call that I was a part of helped me to better understand sportmanagement as a profession and not just an educational subject. For me, learning things suchas how to properly conduct cold calls to potential sponsors, how to act while on a businessmeeting with a client, how to write more professionally and with business savvy, and how toperfect presentations that will be given to clients, showed me that there is more to the industrythen just being knowledgeable about sports. Thanks to the help of my boss Jennifer, I quicklylearned that I needed to be able to think critically and ‘outside of the box’ at all times, and notbe afraid to use my instincts. As time passed, I saw myself growing from an intern into a truesports industry employee. This transformation without a doubt came from the knowledge that Igained each and every day by interacting with my peers, and working on the various projectsthat I was given. Both personally and professionally, I saw myself become more confident,outgoing, and independent; traits that needed to be strengthened in order for me to sustainsuccess. Although I did not specifically work on the agency side of Octagon, I was fortunateenough to have been able to interact with some of the company’s various agents, including JeffAustin, Chris Emens, and Lane Young, all who represent various NBA players. It is my ultimateambition to become a sports agent, and I have done my best to prepare myself for achievingthat goal. Although I worked in the marketing division of Octagon, and did not work for any ofthese agents on a regular basis, I was still able to learn a great deal about the career path that Iwill need to take in order to one day become an agent. I did my best to take advantage of anychance I got to interact with these various Octagon agents. Whether it was working with them 16
  17. 17. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperto come up with sponsorship lists for future endorsement deals for clients, or work with themto create marketing and sales decks, I got to see firsthand the type of work successful agentscomplete. Also, Jennifer did her best to teach me as many things as she possibly could inrelation to the agency side of the business. She went over various contracts with me, taught meabout patents, shared documents with me pertaining to recruiting clients, and allowed me tosit in on meetings and calls where she was discussing taking on literary clients. Unlike my pastexperiences, working at Octagon truly gave me the best understanding that I have had thus farabout what it means to be an agent, and how there is a lot more to the position then justnegotiating contracts for clients. I truly believe that if it weren’t for the specific courses that I took will attendingSyracuse, I would not have been as academically and personally prepared for my time spent atOctagon. Starting with Sport Management, classes such as Principles of Sales in Sport,Technology in Sport, Sport Communications, Sport Marketing Management, and the Careerscourse all gave me the tools necessary to work for a major sport marketing company. Whetherit was teaching me how to try and sell myself or a client to a sponsor, making cold calls, usingthe various Microsoft and Adobe programs, or creating marketing campaigns and conductingvarious research assignments, every last task that I worked on in the Syracuse classroom helpedgive me the foundation needed to build on while at Octagon. My other, non-SPM classes whichdeemed to be invaluable included Presentation Speaking, Strategic Management, Managing ina Global Setting, and Communications and Society. These classes taught me key skills such aspresentation giving, eye contact, working with colleagues across a company, and proper timemanagement, all things that I ultimately ended up needing to have a background in while at 17
  18. 18. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection PaperOctagon. Thanks to the help of my advisors, professors, and peers, I am confident that duringthe time I spent at Syracuse, I took all of the right courses I needed to, and that there are noother courses that could have better prepared me for my time at Octagon. There is no question that everything that I partook in leading up to my capstoneexperience at Octagon prepared me by teaching me the skills I needed to know in order to findsome success in the sport industry. However, at the completion of my work for Octagon, I wasable to walk away with an even larger skill-set that I know has helped to enhance my abilities toperform at a high level. Thanks to the help of my boss Jennifer, the projects I completed, andmy daily interactions with my Octagon peers, I was able to develop these new skills and fine-tune older ones. I learned how to act professionally at all times, including in meetings, onphone calls, and when creating and presenting documents to clients. I was able to change mywriting style from that of a college student into what a successful businessman’s should looklike (detailed but brief, no usage of slang, gets to the point quickly). I saw just how importanttime is, and that I needed to use my time management skills in order to make sure I get mytasks done as quickly but efficiently as possible. Also, throughout my time at Octagon, I was able to conquer one of my work-relatedfears, cold calling, and actually become an expert on the subject. Thanks to the help of my bossand colleagues like Devin, I was given the confidence I needed to pick up the phone and not beafraid to sell myself and our clients, in hopes of making a deal. Whether it was for the StephenCurry charity golf tournament or the Justin Tuck billiards tournament, I had an immenseamount of cold call practice while at Octagon, which will help me to be better prepared for 18
  19. 19. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperfuture interviews, sales, and business networking. Although I was able to develop new skills,such as professionalism, time management, and selling while at Octagon, I still need to makeimprovements in certain areas as I continue to gain work experience. Things that I feel that Istill need to improve on include being more independent in finding my own work, being moreopen to criticism, and being able to not get too flustered in stressful situations. Obviously noone is perfect, but if I want to be the best sports industry executive that I can be, I need to beable to overcome some of my deficiencies, and use my experiences to fine-tune the skills I needto find success. Unfortunately, the areas in which I still need improvement in where also some of theareas that lead to challenges that I faced while at Octagon. For starters, on days when my bosswas not in the office or when she did not have a ton of work for me to complete, I was forcedto try and figure out how to keep busy. It was very challenging for me at first because I did notwant to overstep my boundaries, and work on projects that I didn’t have any business doing.After some time, I was able to get the courage I needed to use my own ideas that I have, andturn them into tangible information so that I could present them to Jennifer. I was proud that Iwas able to overcome this type of challenge, and I was extremely satisfied with the work that Icompleted as a result. Another major challenge that I had to overcome had to deal with theconstructive criticism that Jennifer gave me daily. Whenever I did something that she deemednot professional or had a strong opinion about, she would inform me of my mistake and makesuggestions for the future. Although I am used to getting advice, this was different because I didmy best to impress her every day, and I always wanted everything that I completed to beperfect. After some time, I came to the realization that she was trying to help me and make me 19
  20. 20. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperinto the best worker I could be, and I now truly cherish all of the pointers and tips she sharedwith me throughout the capstone. I know that she truly helped put me on the right path tosport industry stardom. Working at Octagon for 14 weeks helped to teach me a lot about myself both personallyand professionally within the sport industry. On a personal level, my five month capstoneexperience helped me to become more social, outgoing, and independent all at the same time.Thanks to my constant interaction with my boss, my co-workers, clients, and different companytargets, I was able to strengthen my people skills, and learn how to react in certain situations. Isaw myself grow into a confident worker from an entry-level intern and student, while keepinga humble attitude at the same time. I learned just how vital it is to be on the same page withthose you work with on a regular basis, and to not create any enemies within the industry. Ialso learned that I had a long ways to go professionally before I will reach the success that Idream to have one day. I have a lot more knowledge to gain, and I believe that my growth atOctagon has given me the chance to head into my next opportunity with a more open mind forwhat my career will ultimately be. Lastly, working at Octagon opened my eyes to the sportindustry as a whole, and allowed me to see that there is more to the industry then just being anathlete or agent. As I mentioned earlier, it has always been a goal of mine to have a career in sports.From an early age, I knew that I wanted to work with athletes, and ultimately be a sport agent.Working at Octagon gave me the chance to see that there are hundreds of other ways that Icould make an impact within the industry then just being an agent. As time went on during my 20
  21. 21. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Papercapstone, I sometimes found myself questioning whether or not being an agent is still myultimate goal, and if I could see myself going a different route. However, at the end of the day, Istill plan on being a major contributor to the sport industry by being one of the most innovativeand successful sport agents and marketers of all time. I believe that I can offer the business ofsports a unique skill-set that includes determination, hard work, perseverance, eagerness, and atrue care for those within the industry, which will help me to reach my goals. I can see myselfgaining more valuable working experience, and then ultimately being able to open my own one-stop-shop agency, where all of an athlete’s needs would be met. I look forward to thechallenge of coming up with a way to make a positive contribution to the sport industry,similarly to how I feel I helped out at Octagon. Coming into my senior capstone, I had extremely high expectations for what myOctagon experience would be like. Before I arrived to the office on my first day, I establishedmy SMART Goals and created a mental list of what I wanted to come out of this experiencewith. For me, it was critical to get as much hands-on experience at Octagon as I possibly couldbecause I had never interned for an agency like it before. I expected to come to work everysingle day, and be challenged with difficult and intriguing projects. I planned on being able touse free time to work on some of my own ideas, in hope of presenting them to my boss at theend. I also hoped that I would be able to network with various executives throughout thecompany, and participate in numerous meetings with clients as well. Overall, I anticipated thatmy time spent at Octagon would be very valuable and helpful in creating the foundation that Ineed in order to find future success in the sport industry. As it turns out, my perspective did notreally change as I came to work each day, since for the most part, I was able to reach and even 21
  22. 22. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Papersurpass my original expectations. With the high expectations that I had coming into my capstone experience at Octagon,there was a great chance for a letdown. Fortunately for me, I am proud to say that that was notthe case whatsoever. Almost everything that I hoped would happen for me while at Octagonactually did, and I was even able to do more than I ever could have hoped. Every task that I wasassigned was not only interesting, but forced me to think critically and outside of the box. On aregular basis, I was challenged to use my knowledge and skills in order to complete tasks that Ihad never worked on before. These projects, ranging from marketing campaigns and salesdecks to cold calling and in-depth research, gave me the chance to learn what it is like being inthe sports business and what my end results need to look like in order to find success. Also,there wasn’t a week that went by where I didn’t interact with someone new. Whether it was anOctagon client, employee, or potential business partner, I was able to meet intriguingindividuals throughout my time at Octagon, who showed me how to succeed in this industry. Looking back at my experience, my only regrets are that I did not use my free time aswell as I could have (where I could have used my ideas more to create opportunities for clients),and that I was unable to complete a large sale for one of the events that I worked on. AlthoughI was able to come up with a large marketing plan for client Jimmer Fredette and then presentit to Jennifer, I would have loved to have been able to complete something independently andsee it come to fruition. However, even with those let-downs, I am confident that every minutespent during this experience was worth the while, and that I am better off because of it, bothpersonally and professionally. 22
  23. 23. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paper There is no question that I would recommend Octagon to Sport Management studentslooking for a place to complete their capstone at. There is no such thing as an intern atOctagon, and everyone is considered to be part of an extended family that is treated withrespect at all times. I never felt like I was an inferior to anyone I interacted or worked with, andbecause of the way I was treated, I was able to find success much easier than at other places Iworked at. I have no doubts that anyone from our Sport Management program would excelgreatly completing their capstone at Octagon. I would advise these future students to makesure that they are very organized and prepared before arriving to their capstone location. Theyneed to have goals and expectations for what they want to get out of the experience, and knowas much about the company as they possibly can, so they do not come in and feeloverwhelmed. Also, I would advise them to network constantly with as many people as possiblebecause you never know where your next job might come from. They must be prepared towork as hard as possible, and always show that they want to do more. Now that I have completed my capstone at Octagon, I have to figure out where to goand what to do next. After I graduate from Syracuse in May, it is my plan to go back to Octagonfor a significant part of the summer to help out and work on some things that I started duringmy capstone. I will be working at an Octagon run Justin Tuck charity event in late May as well,which will be an amazing learning experience for me. From there, I have a few interviews linedup with companies such as CAA and Wasserman Media Group for potential full-time jobs.However, I have also been accepted to Syracuse University College of Law starting in August of2012. As of now, it is my plan to attend law school for the next three years and get my lawdegree upon graduation. Since it is my ultimate ambition to become a sports agent, I figured 23
  24. 24. Bryan M. Davidson Senior Capstone Reflection Paperthat law school would be another great tool to use to help me reach this goal. The only thingthat would stop me from completing my JD studies would be an offer from a company like CAAthat I just could not refuse. It is nice to have these options, and I am confident that I willultimately make the right decision. I truly believe that my time spent at Syracuse in the Sport Management program hashelped to make me into the person that I am today, both on a personal and professional level.The program helped to turn me from a wide-eyed college freshman to a confident sportsindustry executive. Every student, professor, and administrator that I interacted with while atSyracuse helped to guide me to the path that I am on right now, and I know that I would not behere if it was not for them. Lastly, I am very happy with my decision to complete my seniorcapstone at Octagon, where I spent 14 of the best weeks of my life thus far. The memories,experiences, and friendships that I had and made while working at Octagon will be things that Iwill never forget as long as I live. My spring 2012 Senior Capstone was the ultimate cherry ontop of my amazing college career. 24

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