The next time you’re at Joan C. Edwards Stadium at Marshall University in West Virginia, take an extra long look at the sidelines. You might see sport management alumnus Jim Wenz ’12 who is a Facilities and Events Operations Graduate Assistant. Wenz handles the day-to-day operations of Marshall’s athletics facilities and performs game day operations for football, men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, tennis, softball, and baseball. He is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration at Marshall University and plans to graduate in 2014.

Strong Athletics

Wenz’s love of sports and business directly impacted his decision to major in Sport Management at Mount Ida. But, his well-rounded college experience also came from our strong athletics with personalized attention and coaching. He stayed involved on campus by playing basketball (and was captain during his junior year), played on the football team during his senior year, served as Vice President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and mentored as a Diversity Peer Leader.

“Sports helped me grow as a person and test my limits mentally and physically,” said Wenz. “Staying busy with these clubs and teams definitely helped me prepare to work in Division I athletics, while studying to receive my Master’s degree.

Career Networking

Wenz’s road to Marshall University was a result of networking with his former assistant basketball coach at our college. Through hearing about the opening, Wenz applied to the Sports Administration program at Marshall and was hired as a graduate assistant. Ultimately, in the future, he dreams to one day become an Athletics Director at the Division I level.

“People are willing to help you if you are specific about what you want,” stated Wenz. “Don’t be afraid to take chances and pursue opportunities that you will be presented with. Most of these opportunities only come once in a lifetime.”

When graphic design alumna, Meaghan Glynn ’09, began interning at Turbine, Inc., a premier creator and operator of online games in North America, she never imaged that it would lead to her current career. Now, as a User Interface Artist, she works on unannounced games where she designs user interface systems, creates art assets for final art, and clears obstacles for her supporting teammates.

Fast Track to Career

Mount Ida’s career focused education helped Glynn land an internship at Turbine a year before graduation. Through networking, Glynn learned of the opportunity from her professors and was able to establish relationships early on with industry professionals. The solid portfolio that she created in graphic design courses gave her the edge she needed to land a full-time position at Turbine.

“Thanks to the cultivating and flexible nature of Turbine and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group’s career paths, I’m on the fast track to becoming a senior in my field,” stated Glynn. “Ultimately, I would like to have a role in management, as I find fostering other peoples’ talents to be hugely rewarding.”

Personalized Program Outcomes

“In the graphic design program, each of us felt like a big fish in a small pond, and our efforts felt extremely rewarding when we could show off our accomplishments in the gallery or in the halls of Chamberlayne,” said Glynn. “Now, working as an artist, the atmosphere is very similar – we share our knowledge from all our different backgrounds to showcase our achievements to the world.”

From personalizing her major, Glynn learned that she could apply 2D design to video games. Her background in designing has paved the way for her to understand and practice usability. Rising to the top of her program, Glynn was awarded the Highest Achievement in Graphic Design.

“In a small program, with the help of my professors and my classmates, I was allowed to flourish in a way that I never was allowed to in high school,” she concluded.

After graduation from Mount Ida College, Kerlee Nicolas ’08 joined ConAgra Foods, a leading Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company in North America. As a Business Administration alumnus, Kerlee Nicolas found his niche in the industry where he works as an Associate Category Manager with grocery brands at Wal-Mart. In his current role, he focuses on sales trends and key drivers, and creates a story of why his company should or should not move forward with a business decision.

Applying Classroom Lessons

“The academic program at Mount Ida had a great influence on my ability to immediately understand the business principles I would face in the professional world, and gave me the tools for a strong foundation in my career,” said Nicolas. “There are many things that can only be learned with experience, but knowing the basics of supply and demand, cost and margin, how to market a good or service, and understanding what drives consumers to purchase will give you a competitive advantage when entering the work force.”

Possibilities Become a Reality

Prior to graduating from college, Nicolas worked as a Retail Sales Associate for Kraft Foods Frozen Pizza Division. In this role, he woke up at 4 a.m. every day to sell cases of frozen pizza to grocery stores in the Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire area, always making it to class by the afternoon. From that experience, he was promoted when his company was acquired by Nestle USA. After a year and a half, he moved on to work at ConAgra Foods in Bentonville, Arkansas. In the fall 2013, he will begin a part-time MBA program at the University of Arkansas.

“To me, being a Mount Ida graduate represents opportunity,” concluded Nicolas. “I feel blessed and forever grateful for the college and faculty members who took their time to educate and mentor me along the way. No matter where life takes me, I will always have a Mustang family back home.”