A handful of UCR students took time out of their hectic school schedules to attend a career workshop that featured the well-known sports media giant ESPN. Held on Tuesday, Oct. 8, the ESPN statistics and information department shared career options within the branch and internship opportunities. There were also general resume building and career search tips, which took place over the course of multiple small workshops lasting from 30-45 minutes throughout the day. These events were then followed by a final information session in the late afternoon, during which even more insight was given into ESPN careers, as well as a final lengthy Q-and-A with the audience.
Spearheading the events of the day was Chris Maier, ESPN’s manager of resource integration. Maier serves as a hiring manager for the statistics and information group, as well as overseeing a team of statistics and information specialists at the company. This visit serves as an encore for Maier, as ESPN, the Walt Disney Company and ABC made a joint visit to UCR around this time last year. Maier attributes the huge turnout last year as a determining factor in ESPN making a repeat visit, stating that, “the engagement (UCR students) brought to the event we had last year was just tremendous, and seeing that energy and enthusiasm obviously played a big role in us coming back.”
During the workshops and information sessions, students were able to obtain advice and information on how to get their feet in the door of the sports industry, straight from the source. Maier discussed the descriptions for each job within the department, stressing that a student’s major was not a key factor in his evaluation for most positions, stating that “we’re looking for a mindset, not a major.”
At the main information session, former UCR athlete and current producer for ESPN’s flagship program “SportsCenter,” Lisa James, joined Maier by providing insight into the roles available within ESPN’s studios, and shared her personal success story at ESPN that was defined by quickly moving up the hierarchy and “being at the right place at the right time.”
UCR students at the event could be seen diligently heeding the advice on getting a job in the sports industry from Maier and James. Maier’s tips included making sure a resume stands out in what he called a “10-second scan.” He went on to say, “You have 10 seconds to impress me enough to go over your resume a second time.” However, his biggest piece of advice is for students to “educate themselves on the opportunities available, get involved on campus, and get engaged with the sports industry early on in their college career.”
Among UCR students, the general consensus was very positive. David Wang, a fourth-year media and cultural studies student with a “passion for sports as a whole,” described his experience as “really good.” He later stated, “Chris (Maier) really stood out to me because he discussed his background and struggle to get to where he is without discouraging us, telling us to keep pushing, which is really different than what most (speakers) might say.”
Arman Markazi, a fourth-year history major, also expressed his satisfaction with the event. “I didn’t really expect (ESPN) to come here. I think we’re really privileged to have them here, and I learned a lot of things I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t come to this event.”
ESPN’s second visit to UCR proved to be a successful one in the eyes of many, serving as an aid for students who wish to begin a career in the highly competitive sports industry.