Friday, April 30, 2010

Pony International Tour

Ryan King, SMBA ’11, organized a tour of Pony International today. The tour was led by Colin Brickley, Pony’s Global Marketing & PR Director.

SMBA ’11 walked around the open-space headquarters located in downtown San Diego, while asking Colin questions regarding licensing opportunities, brand awareness, and market-place advantages. Colin was kind with his time and offered to help the SMBA ’11 class in any way he can throughout the year.

We finished the tour with Colin showing us Pony’s new products and discussing their new website launch. SMBA ’11 will, undeniably, be assisting Colin and Pony going forward, whether it’s on market research products, contributions to Pony’s website, or stopping by to ask more questions.

If you’d like to read more about Pony’s and Colin’s efforts, please read this blog post.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Then There Were 11...

SMBA '11 finished up their Economics' class with a Final today. That means Statistics, Accounting, and Economics are now officially done and 11 more classes, as well as a few supplemental classes, remain.

The SMBA '11 class will also finish up Sports Law and Financial Management before leaving for the Dominican Republic in June.

Sandy Alderson Discusses Dominican Republic Issues

Former San Diego Padre's CEO, Sandy Alderson, is currently working as Commissioner Bud Selig’s new point man to address the issues of the corruption of baseball in the Dominican Republic, the largest supplier of Major League Baseball talent outside the United States.

As the SMBA '11 class will be heading down to the Dominican Repulibic in late June, Sandy Alderson's recent discussion with Yahoo's Jeff Passan is relevant:


The SMBA '11 class is tenatively scheduled to be in the D.R. from June 16 to June 25.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Back in the Game, Less is More

By Ryan King (SMBA '11)

After hearing guest speakers from many different sports' industries thus far, the SMBA '11 had the opportunity to hear from Colin Brickley, the Global Marketing & PR Director for Pony International. For those under 25, Pony was once a world dominating multi-million dollar sports brand in the 1970’s and 80’s. Pony, who’s global headquarters are located in downtown San Diego is a brand looking to reinvent itself to new consumers and bring back the retro feel that its established supporters know and love.

Colin talked to us about growing up in San Diego and then going off to play football at East Carolina University, where he earned his degree in marketing and information processing. After college, not knowing what he wanted to do with himself, he decided to move to Los Angeles and work in the mailroom for the Endeavor Agency. He quickly learned that the advertising industry was not for him since it was all about lying and stealing other companies clients. Kissing a little butt and building relationships are the aspects that he took away from that experience. After working for Ben Sherman and the New Era Cap Company, he got a call from Reebok.

Reebok hired him to run their Entertainment marketing division on the west coast. Colin was able to use his celebrity connections from the advertising agency and New Era to build his personal value to Reebok. He ran Reebok’s L.A. flagship store that catered to high-end clients such as Paris Hilton and Wilder Valderrama. His responsibility was to mix the sports and entertainment world together. While he enjoyed his position, he felt that celebrities tried to take advantage of the free things that they were being given. After four years on the job, a head-hunter called him and mentioned a position in his hometown of San Diego working for Pony. He decided to leave Reebok and try and help Pony reclaim its allure.

In his three plus years, Pony has had several CEOs and visions. One CEO wanted Pony to be a ‘beach meets athletic’ shoe company while another CEO wanted to focus on sports athletic shoes for baseball, basketball, and football. Pony was signing athletes to wear their product before they were able to produce a quality product for the athlete. They were manufacturing a subpar product because they went to market with a rushed product. Another mistake was taking Footlocker’s top 10 selling shoes and making their own version of the shoe with their signature chevron logo on it and deciding to charge $10 more than the original company was selling their shoe. This decision backfired on Pony, as the shoes were not perceived well in the market. Colin went to the board and voiced his opinion. His opinion was to focus on one sport and own it. He mentioned how Under Armour was able to own the moisture management market before branching out into the sneaker world, because they had built their credibility through the moisture management clothing.

So, where is Pony headed now? Pony just went from 40 employees at their global headquarter to 5 employees. They also decided to stop making athletic shoes and go back to their roots as a casual/ retro old school brand. They feel that this is what they were best known for so they went from 240 sneaker silhouettes to 5 classic silhouettes that will all be packaged in their original Pony packaging. Pony has also decided to change how they advertise and market their products. They will no longer attend large trade show’s like the Magic show in Las Vegas, but, rather, attend smaller shows such as Compass and Capsule trade shows in New York and showcase their shoes in small boutiques along with the major sneaker outlets like Footlocker. Colin also mentioned that Pony has started to make SMU’s (Special Make Up), which are limited edition shoes. They feel if they limit the number of shoes that they make it will drive up the demand for the shoe. He talked about a limited edition Boston Red Sox shoe that is now selling on EBay for $1,800 as reasoning for creating SMU’s. Colin and Pony are looking for trendsetters to push the brand forward and bring back some of its historic following.

After Colin spoke to the class he stuck around and answered questions from individual students. He also mentioned that there are a lot of internship opportunities with Pony and that he’d be willing to show a group of students around their headquarters to see how they operate.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Private Discussion with Dillon, Moorad, and Sterk

After the breakfast, SMBA ’11 was fortunate enough to have a private discussion with Jeff Moorad, Padres’ Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service Jarrod Dillon, and San Diego State’s new Athletic Director Jim Sterk.

All three took the time to tell us more about their personal backgrounds and share some stories from their life lessons. The SMBA class asked the panel questions ranging from topics such as future plans for a regional sports network, how Moorad’s sports agent background has benefited and hindered him, NASCAR racing ownership, how Sterk thinks Big 10 expansion could affect SDSU, and others.

Thank you to the SDHOC, Jeff Moorad, Jarrod Dillon, and Jim Sterk for allowing us the opportunity to listen to them in a more intimate environment.

SHOC Breakfast

Our good friends at the San Diego Hall of Champions were nice enough to invite all 34of us in the SMBA ’11 class to a special breakfast this morning. The SDHOC provided a delicious breakfast, but the main course was listening to both San Diego Padres’ owner Jeff Moorad and the Chargers’ Special Counsel to the President Mark Fabiani.

Moorad discussed his first-place Padres and the importance of putting community first. He then talked about how the Padres’ are taking steps to improve their brand, as well as highlighting the customer-experience Padres’ fans receive.

Fabiani, who is in charge of seeking opportunities for a new Chargers’ stadium, discussed the difficulties of building a new stadium in this economy and—especially—in the state of California. He emphasized how the Chargers and Padres are the “cultural fabric of this community” and followed by stating “very little brings a community together like sports”.

The SDHOC highlighted the SMBA ’11 class before questions to Moorad and Fabiani were allowed. Even more, the first two questions asked were from the class.

We were delighted to take part in such a great event and deeply honored to be featured among such high-profile executives.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Guest Speaker: Howard Wright

The SMBA ’11 class was fortunate enough to have Howard Wright, Vice President of Corporate Business Development at Qualcomm and former NBA player, come in today to speak. Wright told us about his attempt to complete his MBA at San Diego State, until a Qualcomm shareholder meeting led to a chance meeting with Qualcomm’s CEO Paul Jacobs, which led to a job.

While Wright’s Qualcomm success is impressive, his other love is a charity his late father, former NFL great Ernie Wright, started. Howard Wright, along with his job at Qualcomm, now serves as Chairman of the Board for Pro Kids Golf Academy, a not-for-profit that challenges underserved youth to excel in life by promoting character development, life skills, and values through education and the game of golf.

Currently, the Academy is located in City Heights, but there are plans to replicate the program at an Oceanside location. Wright told us that in the last 15 years, 2,200 kids per year have gone through the program. Even more, 85% of the kids go on to 4-year colleges, thanks to the mentoring, test prep programs, and possible scholarships.

SMBA ’11 member, Luke Epp, continues to volunteer for Pro Kids Golf Academy and Luke's former employer, Callaway, donates $1 million in golf clothing to the Academy each year. Wright’s accomplishments after his basketball career have been nothing short of amazing and the SMBA ’11 class is ready to help Pro Kids Golf Academy this year.

If you’d like to learn more about Wright’s charity, please visit their website.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Guest Speaker: Arch Fuston

By Mariska Roodenrijs (SMBA '11)

Today was the first day of classes after our break and we started full steam with a marathon day from 9AM till 6PM, but it was a great start. After finishing our Economics class in the morning, we discussed the globalization of sports in our Sports and Society class.

Around 3:30 we got a visit from Arch Fuston of the Active Network. Active Network is a San Diego based company with around 600 employees and has locations all over the world. A couple of weeks ago we received the first speaker in our class from Active, Mitch Thrower. Arch is an art director at Active in San Diego and started an initiative called ActiveX, a thirty minute crossfit workout during their break for Active's employees. This project was born out of his love for crossfit (which is an intense strength and conditioning training) and his need for a workout during a break. As Arch mentioned, it's something else rather than “boring” sweating in the gym.

Soon, more and more employees wanted to join and management and HR realized what a huge return on investment it has for the company: health benefits, less sick days, motivation, networking and team bonding, and free publicity for Active Network (i.e. the brand ActiveX was born and is still in its starting phase). The plan is to build this brand and initiative further, starting at other Active locations. Started as a grassroots project with only a couple of people, ActiveX is becoming a brand of its own and Arch will switch over to managing this project full-time, instead of his art directing function.

Once Arch left, SMBA '11 led the Leadership class in a series of hip-pocket classes, which are short 10-minute classes about something you have expertise. It was a long marathon day, but we paced ourselves.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Padres' Opening Day Help

Thanks to Roberto Castro (SMBA '11), some of the SMBA '11 was able to assist the San Diego Padres with their Opening Day of the 2010 Major League Baseball season. Below are pictures of the class handing out the T-shirt giveaway:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

San Diego's Phil Mickelson Wins Masters

While most eyes were on Tiger Woods' return to professional golf in this weekend's Master's Tournament, San Diego-native Phil Mickelson stole the show, winning the tournament by three strokes and finishing at 16 under par.

The win was Mickelson's third at Augusta National Golf Club earning him his third green jacket and fourth major championship of his career. Most of the SMBA '11 was able to see Mickelson play at Torrey Pines in January.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Break Time

After an Accounting Final, Statistics' Final, and Economics mid-term, the SMBA '11 has been rewarded with a short break. Some are returning home, while others are sticking around San Diego for some much-needed rest.

The break will last until Wednesday, April 14, when classes start back up again. Enjoy the break, SMBA '11!

Monday, April 5, 2010

MS Society Internship

By Mariska Roodenrijs (SMBA '11)

I have been doing an internship for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society since February. This internship is through the Entrepreneurial Management Center (EMC) at SDSU, a center that stimulates entrepreneurship, holds business plan competitions and coordinates internships for MBA students. The kick-off of this internship was with a breakfast at the EMC in February where we met up with all the other interns and Directors of the non-profit organizations involved. The challenge with non-profit organizations is the limitations in resources they have, which comes with the advantage for interns that there is a lot of opportunity to actually make a difference, work independently, and be creative.

Before my interview for this internship in February, I wasn’t sure if it would match with my interests. I got really enthusiastic during the interview because the internship is marketing related, which matches up with my marketing degree and work experience. In addition, the MS Society organizes annual fundraising sport events in Southern California with thousands of participants including a bike ride, walks, a challenge walk, and golf tournaments. Plus, a lot of major sponsors are sports related since they have an affiliation with the cause and, therefore, join the movement in the efforts toward a world free of MS. Upcoming events are the MS Walk, where thousands of participants walk in three areas in Southern California with the goal to raise $2 million dollars for the MS Society. On May 3rd, we have the MS Golf Invitational coming up at the La Jolla Country Club; a more exclusive event for 100+ participants with a golf tournament, dinner, and auction. Coach Norv Turner from the San Diego Chargers is a very active committee member for this event and, therefore, most of the SD Chargers will participate in this tournament along with other business people.

My project is to develop the strategic marketing for the MS Society Pacific South Coast Chapter. The Pacific South Coast Chapter works to improve the quality of life for the 45,500 people affected by MS in Orange, San Diego, and Imperial counties. This Chapter of the MS Society is very professional for a non-profit organization and is relatively far when it comes to utilizing the Internet. They recently started using social media, and it’s high on the agenda to integrate this more into their overall strategy. Part of my plan focuses on a social media strategy, cross promotion and connecting people living with MS. The MS Society does a lot more than organizing events: they advocate rights, offer programs and services for people with MS (from education to counseling) and have an extensive volunteer department with flexible options for people to help them out. I am glad to be a part of this Chapter (located in Carlsbad) and I have learned a lot so far. It has been challenging sometimes to intern for two days in addition to school, group projects, communication with my family and friends at home and other activities, but it has been more than worth it.

A bonus is that, as an EMC intern, I also get the opportunity to volunteer at EMC events, such as the annual Venture Business Plan competition or the monthly San Diego Venture Group breakfasts where EMC interns are partnered up with a mentor, who introduces you to other attendees; a great way to get a glance of other industries in the area and to network. Join the movement

Sunday, April 4, 2010

PETCO Park Studying

SMBA '11 students opted for a change of scenery on Saturday, holding a study group session at PETCO Park. The class has an economics midterm and a financial accounting final on Monday, and will finish the week with a statistics final on Wednesday before heading off on spring break.

Thanks to Roberto Castro (SMBA '11) for letting us use PETCO for a study session.