Sport Management Internships
Sport Management Internship Manual
Recognizing that the internship is a key initial step in beginning a career in the highly competitive sport industry, this manual has been developed to address issues related to the internship. It is through the internship that students make the transition from student to professional while honing their skills and building their network. The successful internship will benefit the student (intern), the site, and the University. The purpose of the Sport Management Internship Manual is to provide information to students, faculty, and sites regarding the sport management internship program at the University of West Georgia. In addition, it is intended to supplement the information given in the SPMG 4584 Pre-Internship Seminar in Sport Management course.
Sport Management Internship
In accordance with COSMA Guidelines, the internship is designed to be a full time, professional experience. This experience is designed to assist students in applying theory learned in the classroom to real-life situations. The internship allows students to transition from student to professional, gain further experience in an extremely competitive industry, confirm career choices, and develop their network for the purposes of future employment and professional development.
The internship takes place at the conclusion so that sites can be assume students have internalized the concepts, principles, and theories learned in their classes and are prepared to apply these to real-world situations. In addition, should an intern be offered a full-time position with the site, he/she will have completed all coursework and is prepared to begin working (Cuneen & Sidwell, 2003).
Because interns have made a full-time commitment to the site, they need to evaluate their continued involvement in extra-curricular activities and outside work in order to be fully committed to their internship experience (Cuneen & Sidwell, 2003).
NASSM Internship Definition
"Internships are a full-time work experience in the sport industry (40 hours/week) that are offered for academic credit. This experience is actual work in a sport management setting in which management practices are applied. Final agreements and arrangements are completed by a member of the faculty. They must also be evaluated by a faculty member with appropriate supervision by an on-site professional" (SMPRC, 2000).
- Noun: a person who works as an apprentice or trainee in an occupation or
profession to gain practical experience, and sometimes also to satisfy legal or other requirements for being licensed or accepted professionally (http://www.dictionary.com/)
- Verb: to be or perform the duties of an intern (http://www.dictionary.com/)
- Correct Usage: As an intern, I am responsible for meeting a ticket sales quota. I hope to intern with a professional football team. I will be interning with a minor league baseball team.
- Incorrect Usage: I am looking for an intern. (as stated by a student; correct if stated by a site)
- The state or condition of being an intern; the period during which a person serves as an intern; any official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession; a position as a participant in such a program (http://www.dictionary.com/)
- Correct Usage: She has accepted an internship with a parks and recreation program.
- Incorrect Usage: I am internshipping with a minor league franchise.
- The person at the internship site who will be working with the intern by way of supervising, mentoring, evaluating, assigning tasks, etc. This person will work with the intern in completing internship paperwork (objectives, evaluations, time sheets).
- The instructor of record for SPMG 4686 at UWG during the student's internship semester.
SPMG 4584 Pre-Internship Seminar in Sport Management
Students should take SPMG 4584 Pre-Internship Seminar in Sport Management in the semester preceding the internship. Prior to the start of this class, a degree audit should be conducted to confirm that the student will complete all course work prior to the student's internship semester.
- SPMG 4584 Course Description
This course is designed to prepare the student to make the transition from student to professional in Sport Management. Topics for discussion will include the following: internship selection, application materials, interviewing skills, job search, salary negotiation, and other professional issues. Mentoring during the internship search process will be provided.
SPMG 4686 Internship in Sport Management
In order to intern, the student must have completed all professional courses (professional content, related content, and approved electives).
- SPMG 4686 Course Description
Field experiences yield the necessity of receiving direction, undertaking responsibility, and demonstrating competence by applying theory learned from course work. The internship allows students to complete a partial fulfillment in their degree program and will help them discover career options and confirm career choices.
The internship experience is perhaps the most important aspect of any sport [management] degree program. (Find the internship that puts you on track, B. Sutton, Sports Business Journal, December 2004; Bill Sutton is a professor at the DeVos Sports Business program at the University of Central Florida.)
Students are responsible for securing their own internship sites. This can be a stressful process, but it assists the student by introducing them to the rigors of the job search. Students must locate appropriate internship experiences, submit application materials, interview with the site, and accept an internship offered by an approved site. When selecting an internship site, students should keep in mind their professional goals, the experiences available during the internship, the personalities of those working at the site, etc.
All sites must be approved by the sport management faculty before a student will be allowed to complete his/her internship there. The approval process is two pronged: 1) the site must be appropriate, and 2) the activities must be appropriate. Both criteria must be met in order for a site to be approved. For a site to be approved, it must be a sport property or have significant involvement in sport and its related activities (e.g., sponsorships, etc.). Internship activities must be correlative to the UWG Sport Management curriculum and NASSM guidelines. Further, students need to make sure that the experience will provide the hours required.
Steps to Site Approval
- Make initial contact with the site (phone call, email, respond to a posted position)
- Interview with the site and discuss the opportunities for internships.
- Complete the Application for Internship Approval Form.
- Submit signed form to SPMG 4584 instructor; the instructor will evaluate the site and the activities to determine whether the placement will provide the student with an appropriate experience.
- Once the form is signed by the SPMG 4584 instructor, it is approved. Students should allow one week for a site to be approved/rejected.
- Once the Application for Internship Approval Form is signed, the internship site is approved.
- In order to confirm the internship, the student must complete the Agency Acceptance Form and submit it to the SPMG 4584 instructor. This form binds the student to that site for the internship, and, therefore, it should not be completed until the student is sure he/she wants to complete his/her internship with that particular site.
- The SPMG 4584 instructor will provide copies of these forms to the student for his/her records. Once the Application for Internship Approval and the Agency Acceptance Forms are complete, the site is confirmed and the student is committed to that internship site.
- After confirming an internship, students must stop soliciting other internship opportunities. Continued solicitation is unethical and unprofessional and reflects negatively on the student, the Program, the College, and the University.
Policy on Student-Athletes Completing Internships with UWG Athletics
Student-athletes can perform internships in the UWG Athletics Department; however, they may not perform this field experience with any team(s) they are members of until their eligibility has expired. Further, internships need to be in athletic administration (i.e., operations, marketing, compliance, etc., not coaching, sports medicine, or strength training). This site still must still go through the approval process.
During the internship semester, students will be registered for SPMG 4686 Internship in Sport Management (12 credit hours). Students will earn a letter grade reflecting their performance in this course based on the academic assignments and site supervisor evaluations. It is imperative for students to understand that they are earning academic credit in addition to professional experience. Thus, there are assignments that must be completed in order for a grade to be assigned (Sample Syllabus & Forms). In order to graduate, students must complete the internship with a grade of C or better and meet all other requirements, including minimum GPA.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many hours are required for internships?
- Summer internships require 400 hours over 10 weeks
- Fall/Spring internships require 520 hours over 16 weeks
Will I get paid for the internship?
- That is up to you and the internship site. If you limit yourself only to paid internships, you many not find the best experience. You have to examine your situation, and determine what you are able to manage financially. As you have heard repeatedly in your classes, most internships are not paid. Most internships are unpaid because the student is earning academic credit.
What would be the best way to go about getting an interview? How do I go about starting contact with a possible internship site? What websites are best for finding internships?
- You can contact the site directly (Atlanta Braves, Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), etc.) and inquire about internships. You need go to their website and find someone in human resources or in the area you are interested in completing your internship in and contact that person by email or phone. You can write a short email just introducing yourself, telling where you are in your program, and asking what internships might be available during the semester you want to do your internship. You can also respond to posted positions. For example, there is an internship link on the NCAA website (http://www.ncaa.org/) that lists internships that are available.
- Before you begin making initial contact, you need to make sure that your application materials are ready to be sent. Once the site responds back to you, they will ask for your materials. You want to have them ready so that you can return them quickly to the site.
- Websites: Governing agencies (NCAA, etc.), Leagues (NFL, etc.), Individual teams, Individual facilities, Individual organizations (golf courses, parks & recreation centers, YMCAs, etc.), Professional Organizations (COSIDA, WBCA, etc.), The Women's Sports Foundation, http://www.teamworkonline.com/, http://www.workinsports.com/, http://www.womensportsjobs.com/, http://www.nacda.org/.
What are the limits on choosing an internship? What kinds of jobs/internships will and will not count for credit?
- Internships must be completed with an approved sport property. Further, the activities must be reflective of the UWG Sport Management curriculum and NASSM guidelines. Internships with "regular" companies, etc. will not be approved unless you can demonstrate that you will be spending your time working with sport related issues, e.g., Lowe's and their sport sponsorship division in Charlotte, NC.
What is the right timeline for securing an internship?
- No one can prescribe a timeline for securing the internship. Some students will diligently pursue internship opportunities for the entire semester only to have it confirmed a week before the end of the pre-internship semester. Other students will be able to squeeze the search process into a couple of weeks.
- Start early—begin looking now at possible sites and initiating contact, look at a wide range of opportunities-You may not realize that you really like something until you really investigate it. Conversely, you may think that you are very well suited for a particular position only to realize that it is not really what you thought it was going to be.
- Be ready to accept the consequences of your parameters/limitations: if you choose to stay on campus to complete your internship rather than go somewhere else for whatever reason, do not complain about missing out on possible experiences you might have had elsewhere. You need to be VERY INTENTIONAL about this decision. Your internship should springboard your career. You will be building the foundation of your network in the sport industry. Build a strong foundation.
- Evaluate whether you would like to intern with a team that will be in its off-season. Internships with out-of-season teams can provide beneficial experiences, however, the student will not have the opportunity to participate in "game-days."
- Be prepared to make some short-term sacrifices for long-term rewards.
- Summer is the most competitive time for internships because everyone is seeking summer internships. Get started!
What is the best way to maximize myself and my chances of getting the best internship possible?
- Part of this has already taken place-if you have worked hard and performed well in your classes, gotten involved by volunteering and attending events (speaker series, conferences, etc.), then you have already laid a strong foundation.
- Begin the process early, be intentional about your decision-making process.
- Assemble strong materials: cover letter, resume, references.
- Research the organizations you are interested in to prepare strong materials.
- Keep up-to-date with what is going on in sport-not just who is in the Super Bowl, but what is happening in sport business (Sport Business Journal, NCAA News, etc.)
- Prepare for your interviews: make sure you have a professional "outfit," research the organization/person/people you will be interviewing with, review potential interview questions, prepare questions to ask the interviewer.
- Ask your professors (and others) for insight as you narrow your choices.
What if there are no internships available [or I am unable to find an internship that I am pleased with] during the time I plan to complete my internship?
Under the guidance of the sport management faculty, it is your responsibility to secure your internship. Therefore, if you are unable to secure an internship during the time you plan to complete your internship, your graduation will be postponed until you are able to find and complete a suitable internship.