Students standing in Locker Room.

Industry Insights

The sports industry is constantly evolving, and SDSU Sports MBA keeps up with the latest industry trends through frequent classroom visits from top level sports business executives, including in-person and virtual visits from alumni on an almost weekly basis. The plethora of sports organizations located in San Diego means there’s a nearly unending supply of local executives available to visit the classroom.

Alumni are frequent visitors as well; many live and work in San Diego and visit campus or host students at their organizations for tours, while others scattered throughout the world are eager to return to America’s Finest City to visit with current students and share their insights.

While students gain valuable insight from any sports executive invited to speak to the class, alumni visits have a different tenor to them. These executives have been through the program, taken the same courses, and fondly remember their experience as students. Sports MBA alumni have a strong desire to give back to the program and contribute to the student experience by sharing specific details about their job. They can often be found in the classroom critiquing student résumés and giving frank advice on how to succeed in the sports industry. Students have had the opportunity to work on homework projects and deliver their ideas to alumni directly.

Alumni visiting us

Walter Franco (SMBA ’14) – Victus Advisors – Case Study

Students learned about the marketing challenges LigaMX (professional soccer league in Mexico) faces in the U.S. Walter was accompanied by ESPN Deportes journalist Tom Marshall and Kim Tate, Head of new media in English/ international communications for Club Santos Laguna.  

Alex Schulte (SMBA ’10)International Speedway CorporationCase Study

Brainstorming a title sponsorship for NASCAR and providing examples of activation ideas for the brand and the property.

Mike Kitts (SMBA ’07)Golden State WarriorsCase Study

After learning of the new NBA rule allowing a corporate partner patch on in-game jerseys, students proposed ideas for a potential partner.

Dom Lucq (SMBA ’14)Golden State WarriorsCase Study

Students explored the other side of corporate partnerships; given a list of categories, they explored specific ideas for what brands would be the best partners for the club.

Kelley Winn (SMBA ’12)Alaska AirlinesCase Study

As a follow-up to their work with behind the scenes at the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open, students in the Class of 2017 proposed activation ideas for Alaska Airlines to engage fans at the 2017 event at Torrey Pines. This was the first time Sports MBA students presented ideas to a property (Farmers Insurance Open), a creative agency (88 Marketing), and a brand (Alaska Airlines) at the same time, understanding the complex relationship between all parties involved in a sports sponsorship.

Sports MBA Guest Speakers

In addition to our intensive business curriculum, the Sports MBA program offers students the opportunity to hear from industry practitioners through the year.

Name Title Company
Roger Levermore Senior Lecturer & Associate Director (MBA Programs) Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) Business School
Claire Kooperman Brand Manager Injinji®
Chris Codington President Sports Strategies, Inc.
Jenny Bramer Executive Associate Athletic Director San Diego State University
Marty Gorsich Chief Operating Officer The Century Club of San Diego / Farmers Insurance Open
Nicole Roberts Communications Manager SKLZ
Gema Tarango Deleon Communications Manager FOX Sports San Diego
Jason Masherah President The Upper Deck Company
Rebecca Kingsbury Business Development Competitor Group
Travis Ricks Senior Programs Manager & Athlete Relations Challenged Athletes Foundation
Ari Segal    
Ernie Hahn General Manager Valley View Casino Center
Alex West Project - Production Assistant ESPN
Court Berry-Tripp Assistant Director, Baseball Information & Player Relations Cleveland Indians
Kelley Winn Brand Sponsorship & Partnership Marketing Manager Alaska Airlines
Jason Meyers Social Media & Digital Director Wasserman Media Group
Jason Ju Associate Manager, Properties Wasserman Media Group
Irving Rein Author The Elusive Fan: Reinventing Sports in a Crowded Marketplace
John Wilson President Stance Socks
Alex Schulte Partnership Sales Director International Speedway Corporation (ISC)
Matt Hiler Business Development & Licensing Partnerships Performance Designed Products LLC
Ronda Sedillo Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer San Diego Padres
Fred Uhlman, Jr. Vice President Baseball Operations, Assistant General Manager San Diego Padres
Roberto Castro Event Operations Manager San Diego Padres
Vickie Saunders Founder The Sponsorship Consultants
Kristen Wentzel Sponsorship Account Manager Farmers Insurance
Lisa Jenkins Senior Manager, National Events Red Bull
Mike Kitts Senior Director, Partnership Sales Golden State Warriors
Dom Lucq Manager, Partnership Sales Golden State Warriors
Lex Gilette USA Paralympic Athlete  
Will Griffin Owner San Diego Growlers
Jenn Harris Founder & CEO High Heel Golfer
Tim Baron Associate Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations Grand Canyon University
Steve Fuller Trademarks and Licensing Manager University of Southern California
Aaron Woods Viejas Arena Events Manager Associated Students of San Diego State University
Michael Rolnick Strategic Partnerships Vice President Bridgepoint Education
Ariel Fajerman Founder FootGolf San Diego
Duke Little Vice President/General Manager Fox Sports College Properties
Leigh Wojtkiewicz Analytics Product Manager Paciolan
Russell Scibetti President, KORE Planning and Insights KORE Software
Bill Nielsen VP, Partner Solutions PCG SportsDesk
Kate Bartkiewicz Co-Founder
Mark Thompson SVP, Consulting Two Circles
Jesse Agler Broadcaster/Digital Media San Diego Padres
Vipe Desai Entrepreneur & Philanthropist Co-Founder of HDX Hydration Mix
Danielle Nuzzo Director, Public Relations and Social Media i.d.e.a.
Roberto Castro Manager, Event Operations San Diego Padres
Pedro Diaz Ridao Professor of Management Universidad Europea
Scotty Bauhs Marketing Manager Running Warehouse
Katie Jackson Director of Marketing and Brand Activations San Diego Padres
Nick Ennis Director of Baseball Operations San Diego Padres
Matt Sullivan Manager of Business Strategy and Analytics San Diego Padres
Eddie Quinn Director of Partnership Services San Diego Padres
Sue Botos VP, Community Relations San Diego Padres
Lindsay Zickler Program Director Girls on the Run
Cole Cook Associate Manager, Properties Wasserman
Morgan Perry Senior Associate, Paid Social iProspect
Jenn Null Marketing Manager Brandetize
Donald Brown Student Athlete Academic Coordinator (Former NFL Player) San Diego State Athletics
Aileen Berran Manager, Email Strategy National Hockey League
Chris Clark Founder Shaper Studios
Danielle Arrington Manager, Business Transformation Programs-Salesforce Capgemini
Mike Warkentin Director, Event and Entertainment Development Northlands
Amy Wesson PPG Account Specialist Pittsburgh Penguins
Luke Willardson Manager, Email Marketing Monumental Sports & Entertainment
Neda Tabatabaie VP, Business Intelligence San Jose Sharks