SMBA 20 Graduate Q&A: Guilherme Feres Matarazzo

July 9, 2020

At the end of May, the SDSU Sports MBA program within the Fowler College of Business held its virtual graduation celebration for the Class of 2020. Congratulations to the future sports business professionals in the graduating class!

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Guilherme Feres Matarazzo, a Class of 2020 SMBA graduate, came to the Sports MBA with two sports science undergraduate degrees looking for a graduate program that would challenge him to be the best version of himself.

The SDSU Fowler News Team interviewed him about his graduate school journey, the most impactful moments from the program and how the skills he learned at SDSU helped him secure his current role with Sacramento Republic FC.

Guilherme Feres Matarazzo (left) volunteers with Aaron Verderosa (right, SMBA '20) at the PGA TOUR's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Guilherme Feres Matarazzo (left) volunteers with Aaron Verderosa (right, SMBA '20) at the PGA TOUR's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from and where did you get your undergrad degree?

I was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. Besides being Brazilian, I am also an Italian Citizen. Soccer is my favorite sport. I have two undergraduate degrees: Business Administration and Physical Education/Sports Science from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC- SP) and from Faculdades Metropolitanas Unidas de São Paulo (FMU-SP), respectively.

Q: How/when you decided to pursue a Sports MBA degree at San Diego State?

I always loved the relationship between sports and business. That’s why I got two undergraduate degrees in both areas. While studying my bachelor’s in Business, I was always interested in sports. On the other hand, while studying Sports Physiology and Education, I was always interested in how to create and develop businesses. Thus, I found that a graduate degree in Sports Business was the best path for me to follow; one that would challenge me the most to be the best version of myself.

After extensive research about different schools, I found that SDSU’s Sports MBA was the best program for me. I was looking for a program that (1) would give me the knowledge of a structured MBA program and (2) would make me a specialist in the sports industry.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory from your time within the Sports MBA program?

My favorite memory was the trip to the Dominican Republic. The program is very intense and competitive. Overall, I missed having stronger bonds with my classmates and the DR trip allowed us to strengthen our bond. Besides, the trip was incredibly well organized, and I learned a lot. It was awesome!

Q: What was your favorite class and/or favorite professor and why?

My favorite class was Sponsorship Marketing with Dr. Dalakas. In my opinion, he is a professor who focuses more on skills rather than “academic customs.” In other words, instead of giving us dense textbooks to read, he suggested several readings of applied books that were life-changing in my career. In addition, Dalakas always had great examples and excellent presentation skills. Additionally, we had the chance to pitch a sponsorship project to a professional NHL franchise, the Pittsburgh Penguins, which was incredible. Dalakas’ class was absolutely relevant in my career and the class I learned the most from. 

Q: The Sports MBA program is known for its industry guest speakers. Was there one or more that really stood out to you?

Rebeca Díaz González, who works in International Business Development with La Liga, the Spanish professional soccer league’s North American office. I ended up offering to develop a project for La Liga and I went to New York to present it to her.

Q: The Sports MBA Program is also known for its robust network of alumni. Are there Program alumni from whom you remember getting good advice or who have really helped guide you or impacted your career?

Shana Gritsavage Ferguson (SMBA ‘07), Chief Commercial Officer at USA Swimming,  came with a very open mind, sharing in-depth knowledge and her experiences for two days. 

Guilherme Feres Matarazzo (left) tours Petco Park home of the San Diego Padres with Ewout Gouw (right, SMBA '20).

Guilherme Feres Matarazzo (left) tours Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres with Ewout Gouw (right, SMBA '20).

Q: You were able to volunteer for several local sports events while in the program. Did you have a favorite event? If so, why did it stand out?

Yes, the soccer match that the Mexican National Team played in San Diego at SDCCU Stadium. This event stood out to me because it was a great hands-on experience where I had the chance to interact and network with Operation staff members from MLS.

Q: Why should others consider the Sports MBA program when looking at graduate programs?

Others should consider the Sports MBA program because it is an extremely challenging experience that, as with every challenge, brings great personal and professional growth.

Q: Any advice you would have for current and/or future Sports MBA students about making the most of their time here?

The study load is intensive and heavy, that’s a fact. My main piece of advice would be: Although grades are important, don’t forget that this program is meant to boost your chances to get the best job. In order to get the best job, you need skills and a vast network. If you get caught up only studying and you don’t have time to develop skills, create a network, and earn professional experiences, then you might be focusing on the wrong thing. Hence:

  • Invest most of your time in sharpening yourself to get the job you dream of. This means: Learn skills (software, techniques, etc); Volunteer in experiences where you can grow; take extracurricular courses; attend professional conferences; build meaningful relationships.
  • Dedicate time every day/week to get out of the academic world and reflect on your career goals. Bridge the gap!
  • See your classmates as your friends and colleagues and not as your competitors. Help each other and you will all thrive.
  • Pick a few alumni and guest speakers and build deeper relationships with these few people. Find career mentors that will help and guide you. Be valuable to them! Use the program and develop relevant projects to them.

Q: Describe your current position.

I’m a Sales Associate with Sacramento Republic FC, a USL soccer club set to join MLS and play in a new downtown stadium in 2022.

Q: Are there specific skills you learned through the Sports MBA program (in class or otherwise) that helped you with the role’s qualifications?

The SMBA program allowed me to understand all areas of the business in-depth. In addition, the program strengthened my soft skills such as organization, discipline, and grit, which really helped me succeed. However, I have developed most of my sales-specific skills on the job here in Sacramento.

Q: Any advice to future Sports MBA students who are looking to acquire a position similar to yours?

While you are taught thousands of concepts throughout the program, select a few that are essential to you, and become the best at them. For instance, in our Business Intelligence class, we learned several tools at a very fast pace. I wish I had picked out Tableau, for example, and had become a specialist in that tool on my own time.

Q: What is it that you are most looking forward to as you kick start this next chapter in your career?

I am looking to grow my professional experience. After setting a solid foundation through SMBA, I believe that learning experiences are the most important thing for me in this moment of my personal and professional life.

About the SDSU Sports MBA Program:

The SDSU Sports MBA program is an intensive, accelerated MBA degree focused on the dynamic business of international sports. The program provides its graduates a thorough understanding of the skills crucial for professionals to succeed, while building a broad network of relationships in the sports-rich landscape of Southern California. Visit to learn more, request information or apply to the Sports MBA program. 

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