Jason Turner, an alumnus of Saint Leo University, is a perfect example of a graduate who earned an MBA sport business specialization and has successfully worked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL for several years. We caught up with Jason to find out what inspired him to pursue this type of work – and what it's like being part of a professional football organization.
Where are you from originally, and where did you grow up?
"I was born in Gainesville, Fla. and grew up in a small town outside of Gainesville. I guess you can say that I was born to be a Florida Gator!"
Tell me about yourself and your family.
"I am 38 years old. I have been married to my wife, Ana, for 11 years. We have two girls. Gabriela is four and Norah is two."
When did you first get interested in sports? Did you play any sports growing up?
"I've been interested in sports since I was a little boy. I've pretty much played them all. I've played football, basketball, baseball and tennis."
What did you study as an undergrad?
"I received my bachelor's in public relations from the University of Florida. I actually changed my major after working at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, the arena for Gators basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and swimming events. I learned instantly that the marketing, operations and communications components of sports is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life."
How did you wind up choosing Saint Leo to earn your MBA? What drew you to choose the sport business specialization?
"My sister, Gina Turner, actually went to Saint Leo for her undergrad studies in criminal justice and told me that Saint Leo provided an online MBA. I wasn't really attracted to just an MBA but looked into Saint Leo anyway. When I found out that there was a sport business specialization, I knew then that I wanted to get this MBA.
What was your overall experience like with Saint Leo? Did you have any favorite professors or classes that stood out?
"I had a great experience. Everything was well organized for online courses. The professors were great! Dr. Susan Foster was probably the professor that stood out the most to me.
I was also selected to represent Saint Leo at the baseball winter meetings in Las Vegas. That was a fantastic hands-on experience to learn more about the sports industry. I met a lot of people that I am still in contact with to this day."
What pieces of advice would you give as far as how to succeed in this program?
"Being online, it was very convenient for me as I was balancing school with a full-time job. For current students, I'd say Take advantage of the professors you are learning from and your fellow students you are learning with. Many of these people have been working in this industry for quite some time already. Learn from them and ask questions."
How did you break into the sports industry? What were some of your early jobs/internships that sparked your interest?
"I worked at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center through my undergrad. I also interned with the Outback Bowl in Tampa as a marketing and communications assistant and with the Buccaneers as a marketing intern."
What does your current role with the Buccaneers involve?
"I am the production manager for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I oversee the workflow for video, photo and graphic design that supports all departments for the team, including digital media, marketing, communications, events and community relations."
What is it truly like to work for an NFL franchise?
"It's fun, but it is a lot of work. A lot of people always ask me what I do when it isn't football season. We have plenty going on, including the NFL combine, the NFL draft and preparing for the next football season."
How much interaction do you get to have with the coaches and players?
"I get to have a good amount of interaction with them. One example is we will have marketing asset shoots with players every year. We also do a lot of videos and stories behind the scenes with coaches and players."
What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in sports?
"Be prepared to commit to this industry. Sports is not a Monday through Friday, 9a.m.-to-5 p.m. job. There are late nights and weekends, but I personally wouldn't have it any other way!"
Photo credit: The photograph included in this blog article was provided by Jason Turner and is used with permission.
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