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October 24, 2002 There's no business like sports business for DSA grads



by Brad Hunter

When it comes to preparing students for careers in sports and recreation management, Concordia’s Diploma in Sports Administration program has an advantage no other school in the country can match, according to Edith Katz, the DSA’s marketing and communications co-ordinator.

“The DSA is the only graduate sports management program in Canada entirely in a business school, and it’s one of just a handful in North America,” she said.

“Since we’re part of the John Molson School of Business, our students have a tremendous edge because of the comprehensive business training they receive.”

This training is very similar to that of an MBA program, she explained.

There are six required core courses in fundamental management disciplines, accounting, organizational behaviour, managerial economics, management information systems and marketing, plus courses in specialized areas like event management, public relations and fundraising.

The program also includes an internship of at least three months. “Increasingly, all areas of the sports sector are required to operate in a businesslike way, with professionally trained managers,” Katz said. “That’s one of the reasons our students are doing so well.”

DSA graduates can be found in all areas of sports and recreation, including education, community-based programs, fitness clubs, sporting goods businesses, consulting, provincial and national sports associations, and event management.

Some former students are working in pro sports leagues like the National Hockey League and Canadian Football League.

Alex Leporé, the travel and scouting co-ordinator for the Ottawa Senators, said there was “not a chance” he would have landed his dream job with the team without the skills and experience he acquired as DSA student.

“Without a doubt, the program was excellent training,” he said before a Senators playoff game against Philadelphia.

“The internship I did with the Senators was not only a good learning experience, but great way to get my foot in the door and show them I had the ability to step right in and do the job.”

Like Leporé, many students use their internships as springboards to full-time jobs. In fact, many people enrol in the DSA program exclusively for the internship, said Chen Feng Huang, the DSA’s assistant director.

Huang said some students come to the program with a clear idea of where they want to work during their internships.

“In this case, we’ll go to an organization and ask if there is an opportunity for an internship,” Huang explained. “In other cases, organizations approach us because they’re aware of the program’s reputation and know they can have a need filled by an internship position.

“To a certain degree, my job is that of a matchmaker. I look at what the employer is offering and see if it fits a student’s profile and career interests.”

Huang stressed that before an internship is approved the host organization has to submit a detailed proposal outlining the student’s role.

For the proposal to be approved, the organization must meet the program’s strict standards. For example, the internship must be at a management level and involve the student in the decision-making process.

DSA grad Yohan Sauves works at Internationaux du Sport de Montréal, where he helps prepare bids to lure major sporting events to the city.

He also provides organizational support to local groups hosting events in Montreal. Sauves said he enrolled in the DSA program because he knew it would provide an advantage he couldn’t find elsewhere.

“There were four or five sport-specific courses I took that gave me the edge I was looking for,” he said.

“These were courses that you can’t find in just any school or program.”

He agreed wholeheartedly with Leporé that the program is invaluable training for those pursuing a career in sports and recreation management.

With people becoming more and more health conscious, Katz believes DSA grads will continue to be in high demand.

“As society becomes increasingly concerned about health and fitness, people of all ages are looking for programs and facilities, and the organizations offering these programs and facilities realize they need well-trained administrators.”