Sport Management at Brock University
By: Connor Williams
My name is Connor Williams, I am currently in my 2nd year at Brock University in Sport Management while also doing a minor in Child and Youth Studies.
1. Why did you choose Brock Sport Management?
I chose SPMA because obviously I have a passion for sports, and in my case specifically I absolutely love hockey. Originally growing up my grandpa asked me what I wanted to be when I was older and I told him I want to play in the NHL, he then asked me what my plan B was. From there all I wanted to do was figure out how I could work in hockey when I was older. I ended up stumbling on this program when I was looking up programs I would be interested in, I saw an OHL player on the Mississauga Steelheads Nick Hague was taking a Sport Management program and it was listed as being at UofT, turns out UofT doesn’t have one but I came across Brock’s SPMA program. While I was researching the SPMA program at Brock I also found out that the current General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs Kyle Dubas graduated from the program, so that was one reason why I chose my program as it gave me someone to look up to. Other than those couple things, the program offered me a chance to get a specified degree in a Bachelor of Sport Management, while giving the chance both in class and outside to get a degree and thus a job in something I love.
2. How is this program unique?
There are several other programs in Canada and in North America that are similar to SPMA whether it’s Sport Management or a Sport Business program, but one of the thing that makes SPMA at Brock unique is that it is the only one in Canada that gives students a Bachelor of Sport Management degree after the completion of the program. Along with the specialized degree, the program is able to pull in connections from both a vast network of alumni and industry professionals. Another thing that I think makes SPMA unique, is that because we have a specialized degree there is a certain comradery that everyone in the program has. When you see someone outside of the school and you both say you're in SPMA it's a pretty cool feeling not gonna lie. I think what also makes our program unique is that even though some schools have those co-op programs like Waterloo has, in SPMA since the first day in first year we are getting emails of potential opportunities for jobs, volunteer experience allowing students to gain experience in the industry way before internships and graduation. The program/school also has organizations called the Brock Sport Management Council and the Brock Sports Business Association, I am currently a member of the BSBA and both clubs provide opportunities to network, and gain experience through the events they hold like speaker series or my club’s annual networking forum.
3. What do you like most about your program?
One of the things I like most about my program is how it feels so much different from what my experience in high school was like, the people, the profs, and the opportunities. High school was awful for me. I felt like a dumb kid who had nothing to contribute, you got all the geniuses (AP kids) and the kids going to be doctors or engineers and then there’s me, a kid interested in sport management. The people and the program make you feel like you belong, and I’ve really liked the opportunities that I have been given through the extra curricular events and emails we receive about volunteering and possible opportunities to gain experience in the industry. The experiential coordinator at SPMA is constantly sending out emails with opportunities to gain experience. In my first year alone, I was able to volunteer as a part of several sports events helping gain more experience. Along with that and the mentorship program I was in last year from my faculty, my mentor helped get me into what I currently spend most of my time doing now, which is scouting draft eligible hockey players for the Ontario Hockey League and the NHL. I currently produce and scout for Recruit Scouting and Puck Preps. Along with the opportunities, most of the people in SPMA are really great. I also should mention I really like how in SPMA there isn’t a whole lot of math, and the math we do isn’t too hard (at least so far).
4. What is something you dislike about your program?
Something I dislike about my program is probably the reputation that SPMA kids have kind of gotten over the course of time. People in SPMA, specifically the guys in SPMA tend to be known as the dumb kids, or basically a bunch of white guys that love hockey. Part of that is true, but the majority of the people in the program are there putting in the work outside the class, trying to earn a career in something they love. There is another part to the reputation, but I feel like I should leave that out, and let you try and come up with it on your own. Other than those couple things there hasn’t been a whole lot that I don’t like in my program.
5. What are some common misconceptions people have about your school/program?
The first misconception right off the bat that pretty much everyone has about Brock is fairly obvious, “if you can walk and talk, you can go to Brock”. Yes we get it we’re no McMaster health science kid or some engineer, but a lot of the hard work that is put in away from the class as well as in the class doesn’t get much attention cause we aren’t all getting 90+ averages. Another misconception that comes with the SPMA program and one that one of my profs likes to joke about, comes from Leafs GM Kyle Dubas. Due to him graduating in 2008 and being where he is now, a lot of people think it is so easy to end up in a position like his or that is where the program sets you up to be. Kyle Dubas is someone to look up to as a role model, but jobs like that are earned outside of the class getting experience, unfortunately there aren’t any “How to be a sports team’s general manager” classes. The last misconception is probably everyone is white, hockey playing, country loving boys. Yes, I fit that description, but no that is not everyone in SPMA, the program continues to grow in diversity every year.
6. What advice would you give to high school students who are interested in your program?
The first piece of advice I would give to someone interested in SPMA is to have a passion for sports in some manner. It does not have to be basketball, hockey, or one of the major sports, but have an interest or a passion for it. Don’t be applying to the program with the mindset that you are going to be some money making machine afterwards, you got to be willing to put the work in away from the class, network and get experience. Some other advice I would give, is don’t worry if you’re not in your school’s athletic council or on a school team, it is great as a start if you are a part of one of those, but once you get in no one person is above another, plus it’s great for seminar talk in first year to hear people’s different experiences. With that being said though, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there for example on twitter or volunteering and get your name out there before you even start university. Last piece of advice, if you suck at math like me, take data management as your math requirement.
Check out my work with Recruit Scouting on Instagram at @recruitscouting, Twitter: @RecScouting, on Facebook and LinkedIn: Recruit Scouting or online at recruitscouting.com. For Puck Preps: Instagram: @puckpreps, Twitter: @PuckPreps or online at puckpreps.com. My socials are all also cwilliams_384, or find me on LinkedIn or Facebook with my name Connor Williams.
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