My Internship Experience is a series where Ithaca College students share their time in the field of Sport Management and Media. Below, Sport Media major Max Rottenecker writes about his experience with USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
By Max Rottenecker ’16
With a Small Organization Comes Great Opportunity
Many consider the Olympic Games the most important event in the world of sports, but many federations of smaller sports are short-staffed and provide interns a great chance to show what they can do. While working for the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, my articles were posted on their website and Facebook page. Additionally, I now know how it feels like to work on an official Olympic media guide. At every point of my fieldwork I felt like a true part of the organization and got a great look at what it takes to work in the marketing and communications field.
Become Familiar with Researching Unfamiliar Athletes
We all know the major athletes in American sports — LeBron, Peyton and Jeter are all over the place. But how many Bobsledders do you know? I am aware of the fact that an entry-level job in the sport media business will not always be with a big organization, which is why my fieldwork taught me a lot about dealing with unfamiliar athletes. Only knowing some of the recent winners, I had to find a way to get an idea of who has a chance to win Olympic gold next winter and who was going to be a promising newcomer. Going through old results and finding out how the athletes made it to the top gave me another impression of how sports work, which will be valuable in any job.
“Youth” Doesn’t Always Mean “Inexperience”
In the fast-changing world, the new generation of college students have knowledge with social media and new technology. Throughout my fieldwork, I proposed new ideas about possibly attracting more people to the sport and my opinion was always respected. That is why one thing I learned was to be confident in my abilities. No organization can work without experienced personnel, but nowadays young talent is more important than ever before.
Expect the Unexpected . . .
As a fan of many popular sports, I am used to having all statistics in one place for me to access. In the age of fantasy sports, it seems like every move of every player is listed online. For Bobsled and Skeleton, the international federation FIBT posts the race results on different pages online. For example, you cannot see if an athlete is retired or if he or she will participate in the 2014 Olympics. Working with a database like this was a very important experience, as it gave me an idea of how most sports gather information and this part of my fieldwork will certainly help me a lot down the road.
Be Open to Criticism
Whether you have to add stats or write extra paragraphs in an article, it is important to be able to adjust to the demands of your coworkers. Oftentimes during my fieldwork, the feedback on my projects was small — but very helpful, making the final product better. A fieldwork is a huge opportunity to gain experience from people who have worked in the business for a long time and know a lot about the job. That is why I learned to gather as much feedback as possible in order to make the most and best out of my work.