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Black’s selection to sports business program is next step in reaching professional goals

April 24, 2015
By cnp
Posted in Business Administration

It was at a young age that Emily Black first realized that her interests in sports and marketing might one day lead to her future profession.

"When I was in junior high I wrote a letter to my favorite WNBA team telling them how I thought their poor marketing efforts were leading to low attendance levels and I then proceeded to offer my own suggestions as to how to fix this issue," Black said. "That was the point at which I realized what a marketing nerd I was. Around the same time, I read a newspaper article about a female sports agent who committed her career to leveraging opportunities for female athletes, a group that I believe is greatly underrepresented in the sports marketing world. I instantly knew I would love to do the same someday."

Black is a marketing major from Clarksville who will graduate with Summa Cum Laude honors from University of the Ozarks as part of the Class of 2015 on May 16. She plans to attend law school at Southern Methodist University in the fall, but before that she will spend eight weeks this summer working in an internship at the prestigious Manhattan Sports Business Academy (MSBA) in New York City.

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Senior marketing major Emily Black of Clarksville, will attend an eight-week summer internship at the highly-selective Manhattan Sports Business Academy in New York City.

She said she’s had her eye on the highly-selective MSBA program for the past several years.

"Some obsessive Googling for sports internships led me to find MSBA online a few years ago," Black said. "I kept my eye on the opportunity for a while, was very interactive with their social media accounts to show my interest, and finally decided to apply this year. I went through a very competitive application and interview process in the fall, and then ultimately I was offered one of only 25 spots in the program for this summer."

After being selected for the MSBA program, Black went through numerous interview processes for her internship placement. She found out two weeks ago that she will be working for Thuzio, a sports talent agency founded by former NFL running back Tiki Barber.

"MSBA is a relatively new summer program for students who are looking for career acceleration and a competitive edge within the sports industry," Black said. "I will work at Thuzio from 9-5 and then each evening the MSBA students meet as a group for various programming. They have a speaker series where executives from teams, leagues and agencies offer industry insights. They will take us on field trips to places like Madison Square Garden and the NFL league offices. I will also be matched with a mentor and participate in career workshops. It’s truly an unparalleled experience. "

She hopes to use the experience to begin networking within the industry.

"MSBA is first and foremost furthering my career goals by opening doors that I otherwise would have had to knock down," Black said. "Coming from such a small university in a small town, I haven’t had as many chances to get my name out there and form a solid network in the industry. Hopefully, MSBA offers me the chance to do so. I am also looking forward to putting all that I have learned in my marketing classes into practice."

Black said her ultimate goal is to work in athlete branding, specifically working with female athletes.

"The easiest way to explain it is to say that I aspire to be a sports agent, but for me it’s very different than the Jerry Maguire persona that comes to mind for most people," Black said. "What I want to do is help athletes tell their stories and help them ‘brand’ themselves as individuals more so than as players. That can be through endorsement deals, social media management, appearances, et cetera. I have an incredible foundation for this now with my marketing degree and I’m hopeful that by going to law school, I will not only differentiate myself but also gain knowledge in contracts, intellectual property, labor law and the like, which, I hope, will be of great value in the industry."

While pursuing her marketing degree, Black worked for four years in the University’s Sports Information Office, where she performed duties ranging from handling social media, to keeping statistics, to photography, to writing game stories and features.

"I could go on forever about how beneficial working in sports information at Ozarks has been for me," Black said. "I have had the opportunity to wear so many different hats. I definitely view some of my experiences in the athletic department as indirect prep for law school. Writing is the obvious example. As nerdy as it sounds, I also think doing statistics is a different way to exercise my mind. A lot of logic and reasoning goes into being the official scorekeeper for a baseball game, which is a skillset of the utmost importance in law school.

"I’ve gained an extremely versatile skillset and an intense appreciation for what it takes to work in sports on any level. It definitely has been a challenge, balancing my devotion to my studies with my dedication to the athletic department. I’m sure working in law or in sports will be similar to what I’ve experienced working with [Sports Information Director] Josh Peppas?a lot of nights and weekends and holidays. But at the same time it’s helped me confirm what I love and what I want to do which is to work in sports in some capacity and to be continually challenged."

Black credited her liberal arts education at Ozarks for preparing her for the rigors of law school.

"Much like a liberal arts education, in law you need to know a little bit about a lot of things," she said. "In addition, while writing has always been something I have enjoyed and that comes naturally to me, just getting in the practice of writing long, extensive, and frequent papers at Ozarks is something that I’m sure will benefit me in the long run. I also think the class size and format at Ozarks will serve me well because I’m used to having to contribute to a discussion, think analytically and listen actively. In a class of 10 or 15 students, you can’t hide and you can’t be afraid to speak up, so I’ve learned how to meaningfully contribute to class in a way that is probably very different than someone would at a larger institution."