Graceland goes Big Four: Learning from the Pros

At the Southwest Sports Business Combine, students matched up with major professional sports league representatives

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Faculty, Students

February 6, 2024 | jns

Throughout a year at Graceland University, our students score many big and small successes that they can always look back on proudly. In turn, it always makes us proud to report back on their accomplishments on and off campus.

A team of four Graceland students scored big as one of eight schools with a sport business or sport science program that were invited by the Phoenix Suns and the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University to the Southwest Sports Business Combine (SSBC).

Sehwan Kim, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sport Management within the C.H. Sandage School of Business led the ambitious Graceland team to Phoenix as an advisor: Peyton Anderson ’24, Shane Harper ’24, Justin Rombough ’25 and Lyndon Shell Jr ’26.

The SSBC offered students a big-league opportunity to learn from prominent sports industry representatives and seasoned sports management professionals, and test their skills in the real-life arena before graduating. Two truly action-packed days served up panel discussions, networking opportunities and career coaching sessions at a career fair.

A total of 32 students competed in a very special contest: In a simulated scenario, they were assigned to brackets and individually took on the role either of a Phoenix Suns Business Development Manager in the category Ticket Sales (Anderson, Harper), or a Phoenix Suns Activation Manager in the category Corporate Partnerships (Rombough, Shell).

Round by round, each student was directed to a particular suite room, where they had 20 minutes to present in their role and impress a panel of judges consisting of representatives from professional sports teams, such as the host Phoenix Suns and the Chicago Bulls. In Ticket Sales, Peyton Anderson (an Economics major/Sports Management minor) was awarded second place—on the Phoenix Suns NBA pregame court that evening.

Graceland University is a serious contender in the experiential learning league, but it’s our students who turn opportunities such as the SSBC trip into a winning experience:

“The SSBC was an unbelievable experience that I will look back on as a true highlight of the 2023-24 school year.”
— Justin Rombough

“I learned a lot on this trip, from making a good, strong resume and cover letter to excellent tips and knowledge on interviews.”
— Lyndon Shell Jr.

“The SSBC was an amazing opportunity and experience. I want to thank Sehwan for putting the trip together, and highly encourage those wanting to get into the sport industry to jump at the opportunity to go this year and expand your network/show off your skills.”
— Peyton Anderson

“It was a very beneficial learning experience, and I am glad that Graceland gave me the opportunity to represent the University at the SSBC.”
— Shane Harper

***
These schools were represented at the 2023 SSBC: Graceland University, Arizona State University, University of Southern California, University of Central Florida, University of North Texas, Benedictine University, Misericordia University, Weber State University.

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