After San Diego native, Mike Kitts (’07, Sports MBA), graduated college he settled into a job with Jacuzzi Brands where he thought he would build his future. But when the company embarked on two sponsorships of sports events, Kitts saw their marketing and business strategy in action and was intrigued by the possibility of working with sponsorships within a sports organization.

SDSU Was the Right Fit

In 2005, he began investigating the possibility of returning to school in order to get the necessary educational background to move into the sports industry. “I saw the Sports Business MBA program at SDSU as the perfect springboard into the industry,” said Kitts. “It provided the right balance of academic experience with the real-world sports industry connections that provided a tremendous advantage over other programs.”

Kitts moved back to his hometown to enroll in SDSU’s Sports Business MBA program in January 2006. He says his favorite part of the program was interacting with his classmates. “The group of individuals that made up our program cohort truly set the stage for where I am today,” said Kitts who is now a director of corporate partnerships for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. “I am privileged to know sports industry leaders and classmates as friends and fellow Aztecs.”

Landing in the Big Leagues

And it was his friends and contacts in the sports industry that led to his position with the Warriors. After his graduation from SDSU in 2007, he worked for both regional and national sports industry companies, but always with an eye on a career with a major professional sports organization. By networking and keeping in touch industry colleagues, he became aware of the position at Golden State through a colleague who had started work there in a similar role. “I had three people in my network who were close to the newly hired chief marketing officer – now my boss – so I was able to differentiate myself through my relationships,” said Kitts, who started working for the Warriors in October 2012. “It is exciting to be able to create marketing platforms for well-known national brands that will ultimately drive their business objectives and their bottom line.”

Kitts is beginning to work with with potential corporate sponsors for the Warriors’ planned San Francisco-based arena which will scheduled to be completed in time for the 2018 season.

Advice to Today’s SDSU Student

It was his ability to build and successfully interface with his network that led to Kitts’ getting his dream job and he advises today’s SDSU students to do the same. “Relationships are the key to success,” he said. “Offer before you ask, give before you take. Make yourself available to help others and it will come back to you tenfold.”