What company do you work for? How long have you worked for them?I work for Octagon, the world’s largest sports marketing and entertainment agency. I started in July!
What is your position within the company? What are your responsibilities?I am an Account Executive on the Allstate Tailgate Tour. Our client, Allstate hosts a mobile tailgate tour that visits over 40 schools across the US. My job is to plan and execute activations at college football games across the west coast throughout regular season. Once bowl games and the College Football Playoff begin I will be in charge of planning hospitality events for Allstate and other industry executives.
What are some challenges you face within your job? How do you overcome them?Traveling 100% is not always as glamourous as it may seem – especially when you’re driving from game to game. We have weeks where we have to go from Los Angeles to Iowa in six days (25 hour drive!), and you’re spending allof your time with one other person so it can get lonely. The key is to have a positive attitude and make the most of the long drives, that 25 hour drive we’re stopping in Vegas, Aspen and Denver along the way.
In addition, this is a temporary position that leads into a full time job so it is essentially a 6-month interview. You always have to be on your A-game, ready to put in the extra hour of work at the end of your 15 hour day, and not make mistakes. The sports industry is really small so if you do great, you will go far. If you screw up, you’re out.
Throughout your undergraduate career, what steps did you take to eventually secure this job? After working at the 2016 Masters tournament, my professor informed me of an opportunity at the 2017 PGA Championship as an unpaid intern. When you factor in flights, housing, parking, food, etc. I essentially paid$500 to work 15 hours a day, but I had a feeling it would be worth it. I was assigned to work with the Bank of America hospitality tent, where I met the BofA Octagon Account team organizing all of their executive events. At the time, I had never heard of the company. As the week progressed, I talked to more and more of their employees and realized the mix of sports marketing and hospitality is exactly what I want to do. On the last day, their Account Director gave me his business card and said to reach out after graduation. I made sure to stay in touch throughout the year, and in June he informed me of this role. He even went so far as to grab a beer with my hiring manager to tell him why he thought I would be a great fit – the guy knew me for a week. You never know who’s watching/how they can help you down the line.
What kinds of internships/previous jobs have you had? What was your role?Shady Harbor Marina – Marketing Coordinator
Boathouse Grille – Supervisor/Events Coordinator
Masters Tournament – Server
PGA Championship – Corporate Hospitality Representative
Carolina Panthers – Guest Relations
How has your study abroad experience and involvement at USC and SOU prepared you for an international career? I believe my study abroad experience is a huge reason why I got this position. Semester at Sea challenged me to adapt to new environments almost weekly, a skill that is vital for a role that involves 100% travel. There are weeks where I wake up in a new state every DAY. The leadership skills I developed serving as Vice President of Operations in Phi Mu helped me get hired for a higher up position than I originally applied to (Account Executive over a Trainee). SOU gave me the professionalism, skills and confidence to deliver in the interviews. They have also pushed me to look beyond my comfort zone for full time positions after football season ends – I have looked at jobs with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!
What do you like to do in your free time?Anything outdoors – hiking, boating, swimming, drinking a trashcan on the breakers porch, etc.
What advice do you have for brothers? (I know this was asked in the survey, but just in case you’d like to elaborate)Be a yes man! You never know what unpaid internship, extra hour you spent helping a co-worker after hours, or beer with someone in the industry may help you land a job. Meet as many people as you can, always go the extra mile and never burn bridges.
Seniors – Enjoy this year and work hard, but don’t over stress about getting a job or settle. I was ready to take a job at any random marketing firm in Charlotte just to say I had a job at graduation because I was the only person in my friend group still unemployed when I was walking across the stage. I applied to 100 jobs and got 100 nos, but in the end it was all worth it because I got my DREAM JOB. Be patient. It’s better to wait a little longer for a job in the field you want than to just take a job you hate just to get a foot in the door.