What are some good MBA programs for careers in sports business?


Dan Bauer, CEO and Founder of The MBA Exchange, provider of admissions and career consulting services

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Lots to consider...

One criterion is to target universities where big-time athletics are a major aspect of the campus culture. And consider schools located in or near major cities with several pro teams and maybe even league or conference headquarters. Do some research and discover which MBA programs have large, active student clubs focus on sports, media and/or entertainment. Go to LinkedIn to see which business schools the top execs from your favorite sports organization attended.

Finally, it depends on which aspect of the "sports business" you want to pursue. With the above criteria in mind, look at the b-schools that are recognized for excellence in the functional area of business that appeals to you most. MBA programs that rank among the best in marketing, operations and finance are:

  • Stanford GSB
  • Northwestern Kellogg
  • Michigan Ross
  • Duke Fuqua
  • Texas McCombs
  • Berkeley Haas
  • UCLA Anderson

To determine how competitive your candidacy is for these and other top-tier MBA programs, visit www.mbaexchange.com to request a free, expert evaluation -- from one of our former varsity athletes!

Dan Bauer

Nedda Gilbert, MSW, Educational Consultant, and Author

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There are approximately 300 undergraduate sports management programs in the US. At the graduate level, there are only 30 or so. That's possibly because an MBA's skill-set is not fully appreciated in an industry that's tough to penetrate, somewhat underdeveloped, and big on hands-on experience. Notably, it's in the undergraduate programs where one finds top internships and deep ties to sports businesses.

That said, four schools stand out for having developed graduate management programs that have made solid entree into the sports industry:

  • Loyola University's Graduate Sports Management Program
  • DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business
  • University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center/MBA (with strong connections to Nike)
  • The University of Central Florida's DeVos Sports Business Management Program in the School of Business.

Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, with a reputation as a top school for marketing, recently ran a sports conference tied to local industry. This too is an MBA program worth looking at for developing a specialty in both business and sports.

The above list is by no means complete. Do some research, decide where your interests lie, and focus in on a program that will give you the access you need to break into this competitive field.

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