Categories: Career ServicesColangelo College of BusinessFeatured

Sports Business Students Practice Networking Skills in Competitive Format

By Doug Carroll
GCU News Bureau

The business attire was on, the best “elevator speeches” were being delivered and the scoreboard-style clock was ticking Thursday at the inaugural Career Shootout, an innovative collaboration between the Colangelo School of Sports Business and the Career Services office at Grand Canyon University.

In an elimination-style competition, students practiced their networking skills, submitted their resumes for review and finally sat for a short job interview. Each round went for about 10 minutes. As in basketball or real life, there wasn’t much time to get off your shot. 

GCU senior Stephanie Craig, winner of the afternoon session of Thursday’s Career Shootout, with Dr. Brian Smith, director of the Colangelo School of Sports Business.

The  afternoon session of the Shootout involved 17 students circulating about a room and chatting up Career Services staff. Eight of those advanced to the resume round and then three to the interview finals. Senior Stephanie Craig was chosen as the winner after senior Phoebe Cipa had won a similar morning session. Each receives a prize of lunch with Jerry Colangelo and an interview for an internship position with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“Our Career Services people do good stuff,” said Dr. Brian Smith, director of the sports business program at GCU and a former college basketball player.

“We’ve always told our students to go see them, but they usually don’t. So we brought them into the classroom. It’s that important. This (Shootout) is an extension of that.”

Career Services director Jacqueline Smith and staffers Dave Stakebake, Aysha Bell and Alexa Scott put on the event, using the opportunity to impart words of coaching wisdom to the players.

“When you’re networking, it’s relationship building,” Stakebake said. “It’s give and take, a two-way street.”

Jacqueline Smith said employers want to size up an applicant “in three or four seconds” of glancing at a resume, so the document needs to be organized smartly and have no typographical errors. The most important thing to demonstrate in an interview? That would be passion, which is what sold the panel on Craig.

“This helped me get a feel for the process,” said Craig, who is interested in a career in media relations. “What helped me most today was my training in high school theatre. Our teacher made us do things like this.”

Brian Smith said he plans to grow the Shootout, eventually involving sports executives as judges.

“Our program is very practical,” he said. “Jerry Colangelo and I talk all the time about the importance of building relationships. This is a hands-on way to practice that.”

Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or doug.carroll@gcu.edu.

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