Marshall Bushnell, DMSB'22, is taking over our Instagram @damoremckim this week! Follow along for an inside look at his co-op experience at D'Amore-McKim!
Q: What is your major and what year are you graduating?
A: I'm a fourth year studying business administration with a concentration in management and a minor in law and public policy. I'm graduating in 2022, hopefully having finished a third and final co-op this spring.
Q: Tell us about your co-op application experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. What were some of the challenges you faced and how did you handle them?
A: The co-op search during the pandemic has been difficult, which is an experience I'm sure a lot of my classmates have also had. In my case, there really haven't been a lot of postings in the sports world so far, which is an area I want to work in post-graduation. Each organization is trying to figure out what 2021 looks like, so it's been difficult to get ahead as no one really knows what's going to happen this winter.
One of the things that's helped me during this time is LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers a platform that allows me to reach out to different circles and introduce myself to people I normally wouldn't meet. Expanding my network has given me a boost as the search continues since people have been generally responsive and open to self-development opportunities. One of the biggest things I've learned from this experience is the importance of organization. It's vital to have all your materials, resume, documents, and personal information ready to go as soon as an opportunity arises since a big part of getting a job in the sports world is timing. The more prepared you are for an opening, the better chance you have of grabbing it when it comes.
Q: Tell us about your co-op experience with Orlando City SC. What did you do, what was the experience like, and what is your biggest takeaway from it?
A: My experience in Orlando was one of the most defining periods in my life. It was my first time working with a professional soccer organization on the technical side of the team. In this role, I worked with the coaches, scouts, and staff on a week-to-week basis with the goal of winning games; I assisted in the analysis and scouting department, where I monitored opposition tactics and created video reports for players and coaches.
This experience was challenging, to say the least, and demanded incredible amounts of time, effort, and patience as there was something new to learn every day. Being around this group of people is something that I will always feel fortunate to have been a part of, as every person I met had something to teach me. They were open to my thoughts and ideas, even though I was just starting in the industry.
My role within the club often morphed into other departments as well, as it is often an all-hands-on-deck operation within professional sports. This meant assisting in player logistics, transportation, and often translation.
One of my biggest takeaways from this experience is that it pays off to try something you're passionate about. I've known since I was younger that I wanted to be in the professional soccer world, and this experience showed me that it's not only possible but worth it! After working with Orlando SC and knowing all the opportunities it gave me in professional development, I returned to my third co-op search working even harder to find the next perfect role. Although it was an awesome experience, this co-op did come with a lot of sacrifices. I left my family and friends to live by myself in a small part of rural Florida outside Orlando. This brought its own challenges but only made the high points better in the long run.
Q: After securing this co-op position, what advice do you have for fellow Huskies struggling with the same issues you faced?
A: My advice is to be curious and open to opportunities that do not come through NUWorks. We are blessed as Huskies with the opportunity to work in different fields and try out various roles during our co-ops. I suggest that students try something outside of their comfort zone or something they've always found interesting. Now is a perfect time. As students, we have a couple of years to figure out what we're trying to do with our lives.
My second piece of advice is to be patient. Finding this opportunity with Orlando took a lot of time and effort and often seemed like it wasn't going to happen. During this search process, I sent about 130 messages on LinkedIn, and finally, this opportunity presented itself. All it takes is for one of those messages to land, and the experience you're passionate about could be on the other side.
Q: How did the Co-op Office and your advisor help you during this time?
A: My advisors were fantastic during this whole process. I truly can't thank my advisor, Kelly Harrington, enough. This co-op was outside of the business school's scope and needed to be approved by the Co-op Office. Everyone I talked to about this opportunity was super excited for me and felt like it needed to be tried. My advisor emailed me every other week or so asking for co-op updates and was curious about my use of LinkedIn and other application platforms in the sporting world. I think the department was just as happy as I was when I was offered the placement.
Q: How do business and sports play on one another? What business skills do you use in scouting, player representation, etc.?
A: This is a question that I've been trying to answer myself as I spend more time in the sporting world. On the intermediary side, which I worked in as an intern for three summers here in Boston, business and sports are very much interlinked. Working with player contracts, player valuations, and brand deals intertwined with the majority of my core business classes in some aspects.
On the scouting side, it's a little bit different because the soccer knowledge required isn't necessarily something you can learn inside a classroom. However, I found that one of the most important pieces I've learned throughout this process is how important the power of networks can be. During my search for a third co-op, I've spent more time on the phone with people just to network and to learn about their experiences. That's one aspect that I'm glad Northeastern instilled in me starting my freshman year. Building a network in this industry, and all industries, is extremely important and one that I will continue to try to get better at as I progress in my career.
Q: Tell us about your other internship experiences at Stellar Group and Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
A: Stellar Group was my first taste of the soccer world and one for which I'm very grateful. I met with the organization's president my senior year of high school just to ask him questions about the industry and to pitch myself to him as an employee. I offered to staple papers, move office supplies around – whatever he needed just to get into the office and hear a little bit about what it's like in the industry. That pitch morphed into three summers of work that escalated each year to more and more responsibility. Working on the business side of the game and seeing how agents operate is an experience that will always stay close to me.
A: My co-op at Dana Farber was with The Jimmy Fund Golf team. In this role, I helped coordinate golf tournaments around New England to raise money for cancer research. The people at the Jimmy Fund are amazing. Truly. Everyone in the building I met seemed incredibly passionate about the mission and genuinely happy to be there every day. That was also my first experience in a larger office setting, which was very impactful for me since it influenced the way I look at future job opportunities and company profiles.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add that I didn't ask?
A: I know it sounds cliche, but there really is a lot of truth to following your passion. I have been incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in the soccer world, as I know this is a competitive industry and nothing is written in stone.
I think it's important for students to try something different during their time on co-op. Self-developing an opportunity sounds like a massive undertaking that requires coordination from students, jobs, and the co-op program, which can come off as overwhelming. I can tell you personally that the business school looks to make opportunities happen even if it's difficult. This is the perfect time for students to try to go for that job they've always wanted or to chase that dream in another state or country that they can't stop thinking about. The co-op program offers a way to do it, and I highly recommend that you take advantage of it.