Matt Kaczkowski ’13 : Internship with the NBA Basketball Division of Octagon Sports Marketing

Matt Kaczkowski ’13 – This summer I was lucky to have the opportunity to be an intern for the NBA basketball division of  Octagon Sports Marketing, one of the largest athlete management firms in the world and I wanted to share how my Wabash training and experience helped me to get the job and to have a great experience.

Since Octagon is an immense company with upwards of 800 staff in 22 countries across 6 continents, securing summer internships is very competitive.  I had to write essays, analyze a sports marketing case and present my conclusions to a panel of executives in Washington DC, . . . just to get the job!  Little did I know, I would face competition from students from schools such as Northwestern, Georgetown, University of Michigan, USC, Penn State and many others.  Fortunately, my Wabash training enabled me to think critically and communicate effectively.  I knew there would be stiff competition but I kept fighting.  Even though there were 580 intern candidates all from bigger schools, I was lucky to be their FIRST hire for the Octagon 2012 internship program.

As an intern in the basketball division, I had a variety of opportunities.  The company afforded me the chance to interact on a daily basis with Octagon clients such as Wesley Matthews (Portland Trailblazers), Ryan Anderson (New Orleans Hornets), Landry Fields (Toronto Raptors), David West (Indiana Pacers), and Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors).  My role in the department involved draft preparation, statistical analysis and coordination for Octagon rookie clients and marketing/endorsement partnerships for current NBA players.  I helped coordinate the Octagon rookies’ schedules of workouts and summer leagues.  I provided marketing ideas for both Matthews and Curry that will be enacted later this year with a number of companies in Portland, OR and Raleigh, NC respectively.

This summer gave me a great perspective on the sports industry.  The chance to observe and work with basketball agents was amazing.  Octagon held a weekly speaker series in addition to a couple of team projects that helped me get a feel for a few different areas of the company.  I was given tremendous insight into the hiring process, partnerships research, and logistics that go into the sports world.  I had a fantastic time and I’m grateful for the experience and exposure.

The Octagon experience allowed me to put my Wabash liberal arts education to work in the sports world.  The strengths of communication skills, empirical skills and critical thinking gleaned from my work at Wabash allowed me to be successful in my work this summer.   I owe my success to all of my instructors, coaches and the folks at Career Services who helped me at various steps in my journey.  You don’t realize how well Wabash prepares you until you get out in the world.

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