Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall Semester Starts

After a long weekend that included two San Diego Padre games, the SMBA '11 class is back in the classroom to start the Fall semester. Today marks the first class of Dr. John Francis' World Business Environment.

Wednesday will be Dr. Moon Song's first Financial Management class. After that, the SMBA '11 will enjoy a short Labor Day break and, if they stick around in San Diego, they can watch the SDSU Aztec football team take on Nicholls State.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Aztec Game Time

Want to stay up-to-date on all of the happenings in the San Diego State sports' world? Friend Aztec Game Time on Facebook or follow them on Twitter at

Now is the perfect time, since the football season kicks-off on September 4. Great job by SMBA '11 classmates Demian Reyes and Tana Prosper in helping with Aztec Game Time.

Strasburg Out for Rest of Season

Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals’ 2009 No. 1 overall pick and former San Diego State pitcher, has a torn elbow ligament and will likely have Tommy John surgery. This, unfortunately, means that his promising rookie season has come to an abrupt end.

The 22 year-old was pulled from Saturday’s game at Philadelphia after he grabbed for his wrist after throwing a changeup. If he elects to have the surgery, then he would require 12 to 18 months of rehabilitation.

Strasburg went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings with the Nationals. Strasburg initially told the team he had felt something similar at San Diego State, but continued to pitch through it. However, doctors decided that what happened at SDSU was unrelated to the ligament tear.

We wish Strasburg a fast recovery and thank him for making Aztec Nation proud this season.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Playboy Golf Tournament

During the July 24th weekend, Alyssa Boyd (SMBA '11) and Peggy Morales (SMBA '11) assisted with the Playboy Golf Tournament's stop in San Diego. The event was held at Maderas Golf Course and, as you can imagine, many of the famous Playboy Playmates were there.

Even though Alyssa and Peggy didn't include any pictures of themselves with the Playmates, they did have a good time helping out with the event.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Final Moved Due to Water Main Break

Due to a water main break on SDSU’s campus, the SMBA ’11 class took their Organizational Behavior final exam at the San Diego Hall of Champions today. Apparently, a 24-inch pipe broke around 11 PM Monday night, affecting the areas in front of the campus library and Manchester Hall.

However, even today, the A/C was still knocked out on campus and, luckily, our friends at the Hall of Champions were able to accommodate us. As Dr. Lackritz says, "You have to be flexible".

Monday, August 23, 2010

Organizational Behavior Presentations

Using the skills we’ve learned over the past couple of months in Organizational Behavior, the SMBA ’11 class presented to Dr. Amy Randal today. Eight groups were charged with analyzing companies in which surveys were conducted. The groups were responsible for analyzing the survey results and conducting follow-up interviews with the respective organizations to find out more information.

The presentations focused on eight different sports entities in San Diego. They included:

1) The San Diego Padres
2) The San Diego Chargers
4) Bad Boys
5) San Diego State Athletic Department
6) University of San Diego Athletic Department
7) Hookit
8) Sportsforce

SMBA ’11 did a great job and, hopefully, the organizations are impressed with the final papers they will be presented in the next couple of days.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Octagon Internship - Mercury Insurance Open

By Victoria Hoe (SMBA '11)

Spending my summer as an intern with Octagon and their newly purchased tennis tournament in San Diego, the Mercury Insurance Open, proved to be an incredibly rewarding experience. The Mercury Insurance Open is a Premier event on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Televised on the Tennis Channel and ESPN 2, the event comprised one of the 10 events of the Olympus US Open Series. As the Social Media Marketing Coordinator for the tournament, I was tasked with establishing a social media platform to promote and market the tournament, a premier event on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. This proved to be an awesome opportunity, since the tournament had virtually no presence on social media prior to this year, allowing me a great deal of creativity and freedom when it came promoting the event online.
I was fortunate enough to work with our great title sponsor, Mercury Insurance, and our presenting sponsor, Tri-City Medical Center, to develop cross-promotions on social media in an effort to enhance their sponsorship activation. Because return on investment (ROI) is important for any sponsor, I designed promotions, trivia contests, and giveaways in an effort to increase the profile of the event online. I also sought to provide fans with a behind-the-scenes look into a pro tennis tournament by providing live scoring updates from around the grounds, pictures and video uploads, press conference clips, and player features. For those on-site at the event, Twitter and Facebook proved to be an effective means for promoting daily autograph sessions and driving additional foot traffic to sponsor booths. Another interesting aspect of social media that I found (throughout the tournament especially) was the ability to ask fans what they wanted to see/hear/know. As we learned earlier in the year, "social media represent the cheapest focus groups in business."

A final point on my internship with Octagon and the Mercury Insurance Open -- it was absolutely amazing to see how much an event of this size and scope relies on volunteers. Former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neil, once said that "all politics is local;" well, I would contend that most sporting events are local, as well. I've been to my share of tennis tournaments and volunteered at my share of sporting events, but I was absolutely blown away by how integral the volunteers were to the success of this event. From the hundreds of ball kids, tournament services volunteers, ushers, transportation drivers, and ticket takers, I can firmly say that this event would not have happened without their hard work and dedication. This event, so international in nature, featured a Russian player (Svetlana Kuznetsova) and a Polish player (Agniezska Radwanska) in the Finals, and despite relying on the WTA and USTA to brand the tournament internationally, it was really the local support of the La Costa Resort and Spa and the North County tennis community that help the event run behind the scenes. Overall, an excellent experience and one I won't soon forget.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Guest Speaker: Shana Gritsavage – Under Armour

Continuing the trend of impressive alumni visiting the classroom, Shana Gritsavage (SMBA ’07) stopped by to talk to SMBA ’11 during her vacation. Gritsavage is Senior Manager of Events & Corporate Giving for Under Armour, which has tripled their number of employees over the past three years and will hit $1 billion in revenue for the first time this year thanks to their increasing brand presence.

Gritsavage provided more insight into Under Armour and spent time discussing the four pillars of Under Armour’s philanthropic initiatives: Power in Pink, UA Green, UA Freedom, and UA Youth Athletes. Gritsavage explained the needs in each pillar and certain programs that Under Armour does in each to increase awareness and funds. Gritsavage also explained that out of the three things that her company can give out (money, product, volunteer service), product is her favorite because it increases brand awareness and doesn’t cost as much.

Gritsavage fielded a lot of questions from the SMBA ’11 class, which included topics like expanding internationally, starting UA Youth Athletes, brand marketing, steps she took to secure her job, the Rookie program, launching in to other sports, and event management.

The class thanks Gritsavage for stopping by. If you’d like to learn more about Under Armour or the charitable work they do, please visit this UNDER ARMOUR website.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guest Speakers: Brittany Johnson & Jenny Price, LA Angels of Anaheim

Lawren Wolf (SMBA ’11) brought in Brittany Johnson, Manager of Training and Recruitment for the Angels, and Jenny Price, Director of Human Resources at the Angels, to speak to the class.

Johnson and Price informed the class of the year-long internship that the Angels offer. The Angels hire eight interns total to cover marketing, corporate sponsorship, media relations, fan relations, and ballpark operations.

Johnson and Price also fielded questions from SMBA ’11, which included questions about the application process, the number of employees at the Angels (125 year-round), resume tips, HR pet peeves, the 2010 All-Star Game, and the growth of social media.

The SMBA ’11 class thanks the Angels for taking time to visit the class. With any luck, members of the class will be working in Anaheim next year.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

LA Day

By Greg Moore (SMBA ’11)

Now that the SMBA class is in the final stretch of this busy year, it’s time to start putting networking and job searching at the top of the priority list. With that said, I, as well as classmates Aileen Berran and Lawren Wolf, decided to take a trip up to Los Angeles to shake some hands.

Our first stop was talking to Lisa Jenkins (SMBA ’06) and Erika Lamiell (SMBA ’10) at IMG Worldwide. Besides discussing recent acquisitions by IMG and the intricacies of their current jobs, Lisa and Erika also imparted their sage wisdom of job searching, networking, narrowing job opportunities, and—of course—recruited us for possible assistance with upcoming IMG events.

After a quick stop at ESPN Zone for lunch, we then met Carl Ossipoff, Western Sales Director for ESPN, for a tour of ESPN studios in downtown Los Angeles. The highlight of the tour was sitting at the ESPN LA Sportscenter desk, but discussions about ESPN operations, radio affiliates, the company structure, and progressive ideas were more valuable. Carl even informed us of an 8-week internship with ESPN.

Since we were in the neighborhood, we caught the Rockies-Dodgers game at the third-oldest baseball park in the country. The Dodgers won 6-0, but we promise our Padre-fandom was not hampered. On the ride back, I made sure to read our Organizational Behavior reading out loud.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Alumni Sponsorship Panel

The SMBA flexed their alumni muscle today, as Jack Tipton (SMBA ’06), Matt Balvanz (SMBA ’08), and Matt Furrie (SMBA ’10) collectively led a sponsorship panel for the SMBA ’11 class.

Tipton, who currently works in sponsor sales for the Pittsburgh Pirates, discussed the questions that one needs to answer when partnering with sponsors. These questions included 1) who are you?, 2) what is your audience/demo?, 3) what opportunities exist?, and 4) what value does your property bring to the table?. Tipton also clearly went through his Seven Steps to landing a sponsor.

Furrie, who currently works for Momentum Worldwide, then led the panel. Furrie discussed how to develop an activation plan and identifying ways to hit activation, which included target demo, consumer touchpoints, feasibility, costs, audience, data capture, and ROI.

Balvanz, who currently works for Navigate Marketing (a sponsorship measurement company in Chicago), then took over and discussed the before, during, and after of researching sponsors. Balvanz discussed how to quantitatively research sponsors and measure their effectiveness, which is becoming increasingly important in today's business world.

After the three guests taught us about sponsors, the SMBA ’11 class was given an assignment that included coming up with creative ideas to partner new or existing sponsors with the San Diego Rock ‘n' Roll Marathon. Despite only having a 2 hours, the SMBA ’11 class impressed the panel with presentations that included sponsors like Hard Rock CafĂ©, Garmin, and Oakley.

The SMBA ’11 class thanks our three guests for their insights and further knowledge about sponsorship.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Aflac All-American Baseball Classic

Thanks to a great relationship with the San Diego Hall of Champions, Jimmy Moon, Lawren Wolf, Aileen Berran, and Greg Moore were able to assist in the Aflac All-American Baseball Classic. Jimmy and Lawren helped pass out promotional items from Baseball America, Aflac, and the event itself. Aileen was able to contribute to the East and West teams’ respective batting practices and Greg assisted Fox Sports Net with statistics and in-game updates.

The Baseball Classic pitted high school baseball stars from all across the country and included high-profile baseball players, such as Shawon Dunston Jr., Daniel Norris, and Francisco Lindor. The event has showcased such MLB stars as Justin Upton, Mat Latos, Jason Heyward, Bryce Harper, and Ike Davis in past years.

The East ended up beating the West 5-3.

Friday, August 13, 2010

US Open of Surfing

By Demian Reyes (SMBA '11)

This past weekend, Matana Abramson, Jimyong Moon, Tana Prosper and I had the opportunity to work for IMG in one of their major Action Sports events: the US Open of Surfing. The event covered not only a surfing competition, but also had BMX and skate competitions, as well as concerts and a fashion showdown.

We were not very familiar with BMX, but after watching the qualifiers we were all amazed with the sport. It was definitely one of the fan favorites. Also, watching Huntington Beach local Brett Simpson beat Kelly Slater in the surfing semifinal was pretty impressive, but not as impressive as when he won the Championship for the second year in a row.

The highlights of the weekend to me were:

* Surfing - watched the best surfers in the world ride the waves.
* BMX - it is one of the most impressive sports to watch live.
* Concerts - working backstage for Hot Hot Heat and Weezer and getting to watch all the things that need to be set up for a concert of that magnitude.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Owner’s Suite at Padre Game

As a special thank you from the San Diego Padres’ (and help from classmate, Roberto Castro), members of the SMBA ’11 class that helped pass out promotions at four or more games were able to take in Thursday’s game from the Owner’s Suite.

The class was provided with hot dogs, cracker jacks, peanuts, and a variety of other ballpark fare. Also, the view was right behind home plate, which allowed Jimmy Moon to catch a foul ball early in the game.

Even better, the class cheered on the Padres as they finished the sweep against the Pittsburgh Pirates by winning 3-0. The SMBA ’11 class thanks the Padres for the special treatment.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Upper Deck at King's Academy

By Ryan King (SMBA '11)

As an intern for Upper Deck, I knew they were planning some type of event with LeBron James, as he is a spokesman for the company. But, as of Wednesday, I just did not know what it would be as they were having trouble obtaining Miami Heat jerseys just like everyone else.

But on Saturday of the LeBron James’ camp, Upper Deck showed up to the camp in a U-Haul with a few hundred balls, jerseys, shoes, magazines, and posters to be signed by James for future sale. Upper Deck does signings with James several times a year for their Upper Deck authenticated division. Along with the autograph session, Upper Deck was able to do a Q&A video and their first photo shoot with James in his new uniform.

During the interview, I learned that LeBron James’ favorite autograph is a Time magazine autographed by President Obama. Classmates Greg Leisher, Damien Reyes, Nischita Shetty, Bailey Axlerod, and I were able to assist with the autograph session and watch the interview and see the photo shoot. Working the King’s Academy was a treat in itself, but being able to help Upper Deck and witness the Q&A and photo shoot was a once in a lifetime experience. We were able to see a human side to LeBron James that most don’t get a chance to see. As a thank you to my classmates for their help, Upper Deck will give each of them a gift.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

MLS All Star Game

By Emily Nakayama (SMBA '11)

Last week Krista Washington and I traveled to Houston, TX with Soccer United Marketing (SUM) to assist with sponsorship activation during the 2010 MLS All Star Game, held at Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.

On Tuesday July 27, our first full day in the humid heat of Houston, we helped with the initial sponsor set-up at Soccer Celebration, an event scheduled to open the following day prior to the start of the All Star Game. Soccer Celebration is a 100,000 square foot interactive fan zone located directly in front of Reliant Stadium where fans can interact with sponsors, play games, sample products and meet with current Houston Dynamo players. After wrapping up preparations at Soccer Celebration, we spent the remainder of the afternoon at Discovery Greens in downtown Houston assisting with Soccer Jam, one of the many MLS All Star festivities held that week. Soccer Jam was a celebration of the sport of soccer, and hosted legend and celebrity autograph booths, inflatable games, DJ music, and a special 7-vs-7 soccer match with celebrities and soccer legends playing head-to-head.

Game day followed on Wednesday, July 28 and Krista and I arrived early to Reliant Stadium for final set-up at Soccer Celebration. We were slightly hampered by the rain, which rolled through in the early afternoon, but the clouds parted later that day as more than 70,000 people came through Soccer Celebration and into a sold-out Reliant Stadium to watch MLS vs. Manchester United. We were lucky enough to sneak away and onto the sidelines to watch MLS score its first goal. Manchester United dominated, however, winning the game 5-2.

Krista and I had an amazing time and feel fortunate to have worked with SUM and MLS for the All Star Week. We flew back home on Thursday – just in time to celebrate my birthday with a quick trip to Disneyland!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chargers FanFest

The San Diego Chargers hosted their annual FanFest at Qualcomm Stadium today and a couple of SMBA ’11 members took in the festivities. Entrance was free and gates opened at 10 AM.

Players signed autographs for fans 14 and under before starting a mini-practice that involved a number of Philip Rivers’ touchdown passes to Antonio Gates. Cheerleaders were also on-hand and new running back Ryan Mathews provided some electrifying runs.

SMBA ’11 students participated in the Padres’ open house before their season begin, so—hopefully—the class can provide some luck to the local football team too.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Coo Coo for Coco Vandeweghe

Victoria Hoe (SMBA '11) on last night's upset at the Mercury Insurance Open that saw 18-year old American qualifier Coco Vandeweghe oust world #9 Vera Zvonareva:

"It's a major victory for the tournament here in San Diego, as Vandeweghe is a Southern California native and carries a lot of local notoriety. Coco comes from a sports family as her uncle, Kiki Vandeweghe, is a former NBA player, coach, and GM."

Some members of the SMBA '11 class are volunteering for the Mercury Insurance Open this week, while others are up in Huntington Beach for the 2010 US Open of Surfing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Guest Speaker: Matt Cronin

Victoria (SMBA ’11) used her current internship with the Mercury Insurance Open to nab tennis journalist, Matt Cronin, as a guest speaker. Cronin, who currently writes for, is also co-owner of, senior writer at Inside Tennis magazine, radio host at Grand Slam stations (including US Open Radio and Radio Wimbledon), and finds time to be the main English-language writer for official Grand Slam websites, including and

Cronin discussed a number of topics related to tennis and was kind enough to field questions from the class. He discussed the transition from print to website, the viability of tennis within American culture, difficulties associated with covering an international sport, whether or not the WTA will combine with the ATP, the decisions to expand tours to non-traditional tennis markets, appearance fees, as well as the role of gambling and PEDs in the sport.

Cronin provided insight into a sport that a number of SMBA ’11 members don’t know the ins-and-outs. The class thanks Cronin for taking time out of his Mercury Insurance Open coverage to talk about important topics in tennis.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

LeBron James Camp

By Danielle Arrington (SMBA '11)

With no professional basketball team in San Diego, the “basketball-heads” of SMBA ’11 got a special treat when the Lebron James’ King’s Academy rolled into UCSD July 29-August 2. Since the beginning of this program, my classmates and I have been excited to the see the operations and logistics of a camp of this caliber, and this experience did not disappoint.

Over the five day skills camp, SMBAers were given numerous opportunities to learn the behind-the-scene workings of a camp of this magnitude. Complete with more than 600 campers, NBA superstars LeBron James and Damon Jones, and powerhouse coaches like Dru Joyce, we truly learned how to work efficiently under pressure. Whether it was manning the camp’s central office, or working directly with camp director Damon Haley, each intern was an integral part of the success of the camp.

In addition to the operational side of the event, we were also able to see how the sponsorship side of the camp worked. With representatives from Nike, Vitamin Water, and Upper Deck, we were given the opportunity to see how these different factions work during an actual event activation.

Overall, during this experience, I think we all started as fans and transformed into sports business managers. The novelty of seeing LeBron James wore off quickly, as we were all more concerned with making the King’s Academy the best experience for every camper and representing the SMBA program with pride.

P.S. It wasn’t all hard work. The SMBA interns were also rewarded with a group picture with LeBron, autographed items, free gear, and nightly basketball games featuring LBJ and college all-stars. Check out some of our pictures.