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USF Muma College of Business Host for Industry Leaders

Professionals from the sports and entertainment industry came to USF to discuss their success and experience with students.

Photo by Bodi Karsono
By Laura Kneski

      USF News 

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2015) -- The University of South Florida Sports and Entertainment Management (SEM) MBA program hosted well-known professionals in the industry as part of its second annual Lecture Series. The talks included discussion of circuses, sneakers, sexism and cyber branding.

Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, discussed taking the business over from his father. Feld Entertainment’s location in Ellenton houses two warehouses large enough for two circuses to practice their show, and another area for monster trucks to be built and tested. However, Feld had to pitch and negotiate for years before Disney on Ice became as successful and international as it is today.

Photo by Hilary Lehman

“Like everything in life you learn more from your failures than your successes,” said Falk. In the first two rows of the Oval Theater, SEM students nodded.

Founder of Falk Associates Management Enterprises David B. Falk discussed the early years of his position as Michael Jordan’s agent. And, to think that Jordan initially wanted to be signed with Adidas instead of Nike.

One piece of advice that Falk gave was to put on a “uniform” in the professional setting. He confessed that he wants everyone to like him, but that can’t always be the case. It bothers him when people paint him as a heartless money shark, but there isn’t much he can do about it.

“That’s wisdom that may take you years to learn.”

Photo by Bodi Karsono

Graduate students in the program who attended the event were excited for the opportunity to hear from people who have already achieved what they are working toward. The SEM MBA program offers its students the opportunity to learn how to manage sporting and entertainment in terms of marketing, accounting and encouragement of hands-on experience.

Jessica Kitzmiller, a first year SEM student, enjoyed Sheila Johnson’s talk. Johnson is the only African-American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams, among a long list of other accomplishments.

Photo by Hilary Lehman

“It always is harder being a woman in this type of field because it is male-dominated,” said Kitzmiller.

Second-year SEM student Luke Mohamed was impressed with the talk given by Donald Marinelli, a co-founder of Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center.

“I would compare him to a cross of Shakespeare and Steve Jobs. I think everyone who was in there came away with a better understanding of technology and how it’s important for the future,” said Mohamed.

Photo by Bodi Karsons

Visit the Muma College of Business for more coverage of the lecture series.

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