If you want to be an effective sport management student: engage, engage, engage. Engage in volunteering opportunities, do as many unpaid/paid internships as possible, get a part-time job in sports if at all possible, and network with other students and industry as much as possible.
Professor & Director of Sport Management
University of North Texas
The interview with Bob Heere was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.
1Tell us about your role as the Professor & Director of Sport Management at University of North Texas.
As a professor and program director, it is my role to conduct research in sport management, teach coursework in that subject, and direct both our BBA and MBA programs in Sport Management.
Directing the programs takes up most of my time, as it involves maintaining our relationships with our official partners, the Dallas Cowboys and the PGA of America on behalf of our students, as well as the many sport organizations that host our students for internships and class projects, and/or provide guest lectures.
As we are located in one of the most attractive sport markets in the United States, we try to take full advantage of that and provide as many interaction points between industry and students as possible.
While we were relatively well prepared for something like COVID-19, since most of our classes were already hybrid, using the flipped classroom approach, COVID-19 has made networking opportunities for our students more challenging, and we devote considerable resources providing exclusive online sessions in which our students can interact with industry executives.
2What does a typical day look like for you in your role as a Professor & Director of Sport Management?
This is a bit of an exaggeration, but a lot of time is devoted to communicating with students, professors, or instructors, and the industry.
The time that is left is spent on class preparation, actual teaching, and/or writing.
3What are your biggest takeaways from your PhD in Sport Management? How did it prepare you for your current role?
That is a tough question. The PhD Program at FSU prepared me for a life as a scholar, which is what a good PhD program should do.
Less time is spent on leadership and/or directing a program, which means that while my PhD at FSU did help me get to this point, it did not prepare me specifically for this position.
For that, I had to make many mistakes at previous institutions, and/or I am relying on other (work) experiences in life.
4What do you think are the most three most important traits of an effective Sport Management student?
Generally, I would say:
Ability to connect with people
but more specifically, I would say it is less about traits and more so about behavior. Many students make the mistake that they rely on their coursework to prepare for the future, while so much of their success is decided by what they do outside the classroom.
If you want to be an effective sport management student: engage, engage, engage.
Engage in volunteering opportunities, do as many unpaid/paid internships as possible, get a part-time job in sports if at all possible, and network with other students and industry as much as possible.
Figure out which faculty member has the strongest industry network and impress that faculty member!
The Ultimate American Sport Industry Job Board
The best place to find sport jobs and passionate job seekers to fill them.
5What advice would you give to current and recently graduated Sport Management students looking to be in a similar position to you one day?
For those few sport management students that hope to pursue an academic career: Do a graduate degree outside sport management to widen your scope, and once you are ready to apply for doctoral programs – do as much research as you can on the institution and your potential advisor.
A good advisor is critical to success, so find out how strong of a scholar your potential advisor is. A doctoral program is all about research, even if you are leaning towards a career in teaching over research.
Apply to 4/5 programs and then pick the one with the best advisor for you, one that shares the same passions and interests as you.
SPMA's Final Thoughts
As a Professor & Director of Sport Management at the University of North Texas, Bob Heere's main role is to conduct research in Sport Management, teach sport management course work, and to direct Sport Management programs. Although he has those roles, Bob dedicates a great amount of his time to providing career pathways for his students. Bob communicates with students, professors, and individuals within the sport industry as he strives to create interaction points between his students and current professionals and organizations. Although COVID-19 has made networking opportunities for his students more challenging, Bob and his team are providing exclusive online sessions in which their students can interact with industry executives.