As you may know, I landed my dream co-op placement this summer as an intern with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). Heading into the summer, I told myself this was my chance to shine and prove I have what it takes to launch a successful career in the sports industry.
Here I am after four months as the Marketing Intern for Toronto FC and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity I was given. I worked on exciting projects, attended events and met great people. Not only did I learn about the different business operations associated with running a professional sports team, but I got a taste of the MLSE culture and confirmed my own strong belief that my true passion lies in sports.
As I work to continue fulfilling my own dreams and reaching my personal goals, I wanted to share some thoughts in hopes of guiding other budding professionals in the right direction. Here are three things I learned through experience that I am confident will help an individual stand out during an internship or co-op position:
Go above and beyond what is asked of your role
As an intern, it is crucial to make your mark and walk away knowing you contributed to your department and the overall organization. Before starting a new role, read through the job description and see how you can complete those tasks while contributing even more. Strategically setting your goals this way will increase your chances of success. Coming out of a corporate communications program and entering a marketing intern role, I wanted to showcase my strong writing abilities. Within the first few days of my internship, I offered to write copy for various marketing materials. By mid-summer, I was responsible for the weekly newsletter and had written various pieces for the match day program. One of my objectives was to collect portfolio pieces from my experience, which I was able to achieve through taking initiative to do more than what was expected of me.
Volunteer your time to support other areas of the business
When you are new to a company, try to see how different departments run their day-to-day business. If your company offers an opportunity to volunteer internally or shadow departments of interest, take advantage. There is no better way to learn what goes on outside of your department than to experience it firsthand. By volunteering your time to help others within the company, you are not only learning, but also meeting more people and broadening your network. In addition, you are showing interest and initiative as well as your leadership in the community. Ultimately, it is important to learn about an organization as a whole because the more you know about the company you work for, the better you will be at your job. I was very fortunate to intern with an organization that provides ample opportunities to explore and gain experience. Throughout the summer, I volunteered for as many internal events as possible and shadowed different departments I found interest in. From helping out during the Black Sabbath concert to volunteering at the Leafs and Legends Charity Golf Classic in support of the MLSE Foundation, I immersed myself in as much as I could with the time I had as an intern.
Be passionate and share that passion with others
There is nothing more satisfying than waking up every morning and being happy about going to work. Whatever career path you choose, follow your passion and the success will come to you. At MLSE, people are genuinely passionate about sports, especially our four teams, and it makes for a great work atmosphere. In addition to that, I’ve learned success isn’t just a straight line. Although you may believe there is just one right way to do something, you will see as you meet others in the industry that each person’s career path is different. What appears seamless though, is a drive for success and an openness to try new things. As you continue to achieve personal success, remember that at one point, you were just starting out in the industry. If an individual approaches you with questions, take the time to answer them. Over the past few years, I’ve conversed with people I admire and their advice has guided me in the right direction.
As I sit here and sift through my thoughts, I reflect on the past few years of hard work that got me to this point of my journey. Much of the advice in this post has come through experience and I cannot wait to continue learning and growing in the industry.
As I mentioned on Twitter, I am thrilled to join MLSE as Marketing Coordinator for the Toronto Marlies and I look forward to an exciting 2013-14 season. I am grateful for the opportunity to move forward with my dream career and I want to thank each and every person who has helped me along the way.
See you at the rink, the court and the pitch… or wherever else I may find myself in the near future!
Edit: Unfortunately, I am unable to provide information regarding the internship application process at this time. Interested students should speak to their school administration. Otherwise, happy to answer any experience-related questions!