Six students form Concordia University Ann Arbor get all-access perspective of March Madness events.

There’s more than one way to make it to the Final Four.


For six Ann Arbor-area college students, their coveted ticket to the NCAA March Madness tournament last weekend didn’t require them to compete. Instead, students in Concordia University Ann Arbor’s Haab School of Business worked behind the scenes to make the weekend’s events in San Antonio go off without a hitch.

Six students from Concordia University Ann Arbor get all-access perspective of March Madness events
Students run into Haab School of Business graduate student and retired NBA player, Stephen Howard (fourth from right).

Located just three miles east of the University of Michigan, Concordia University Ann Arbor’s Haab School of Business offers 11 undergraduate degree programs, two of which are sport and entertainment business (SEB) and hospitality and event business (HEB). Graduates of the programs prepare students for careers amidst the $900 billion industry of sport and hospitality.

Through an internship with PrimeSport, CUAA students rolled up their sleeves to assist with fan hospitality experiences throughout the course of the weekend. PrimeSport is a leading global sports travel and event management company that covers the logistics of some of the largest-scale sporting events in the world.

Since CUAA’s partnership with PrimeSport began four years ago, students have annually had the chance to gain hands-on professional experience working at globally recognized sporting events, including the Super Bowl, the Rose Bowl, and NBA All-Star weekend. This is the third year CUAA has had students at the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

“This Final Four experience for CUAA has been amazing. The fact that we had students ranging from freshman to senior year who were immersed in experiential learning is a testament to the spirit of our students and their work ethic,” said Dr. Joey-Lynn Bialkowski, Concordia’s executive director of career engagement and industry relations who traveled with the student group along with SEB and HEB program director Meagan Dougherty-Klein.

Six students from Concordia University Ann Arbor get all-access perspective of March Madness events
Pictured left to right: (back row) Alisha Anderson, Mackenzie Schill, Professor Meagan Dougherty-Klein, Kaleb Pohlman, Jonathan Detwilter (front row) Dr. Joey-Lynn Bialkowski, Micah Matheson, Jacob Brendtke

 

This year, the six CUAA students who traveled to San Antonio for the Final Four weekend were selected based off their initiative in the classroom and the reputation they have established working for PrimeSport at past events.

Six students from Concordia University Ann Arbor get all-access perspective of March Madness events
CUAA students (back row) pop into DJ Malaki’s selfie along with students from St. Gerard Catholic High School at Final Four mentorship event in San Antonio.

Industry leaders who oversaw interns and students from universities across the country shared repeatedly their praise of the character and professionalism of CUAA’s Haab School of Business students, said Bialkowski.

The CUAA students were team leads in the operations of private events for Kansas University, Loyola University, Villanova University, the Courtside Club, and the Hall of Fame Lounge. The students also had the opportunity to lead a three-day mentorship program for San Antonio’s St. Gerard Catholic High School and Regional Middle School students, engaging in one-on-one mentoring with the young teenagers and having conversations about faith, sports, and schoolwork.

Because the mentorship program aligned with the mission of CUAA—to develop students in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and the world—PrimeSport was sure to involve the Concordia students in the program from the start, said Bialkowski.

“Working with the St. Gerard high school boys’ basketball team was a highlight of the weekend for me,” said freshman business student Micah Matheson. “I felt like God was moving through us to inspire those guys and it was a great opportunity to ease their worries and apprehension about college.”

Industry leaders who oversaw interns and students from universities across the country shared repeatedly their praise of the character and professionalism of CUAA’s Haab School of Business students, said Bialkowski.

Bialkowski says that she is proud of the CUAA students’ demonstration of industry competency, going the extra mile for fans’ experience and client satisfaction. She’s confident their hustle will serve them well in their future careers.

“We can be assured that for the 2018 Final Four weekend, the City of Ann Arbor was well represented,” said Bialkowski.

The sport and entertainment business and hospitality and event business programs are majors with Concordia University Ann Arbor’s Haab School of Business. To learn more about the programs, click here.

Concordia University is a nonprofit, Lutheran higher education community serving more than 7,721 students online, at two residential campuses in Mequon, Wisconsin, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and at nine satellite centers. The school is affiliated with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and is part of the Concordia University System, a national network of colleges. Learn more online at www.cuaa.edu.

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