When Dave Synowka and Robert Morris University’s Sport Management Advisory Board decided to assemble a sports business symposium, they were optimistic about the program’s growth, but never thought that it would be such a substantial component of the major’s curriculum.
That was in 2004.
Now, currently in its 10th consecutive year, the RMU Sport Management Student Career Conference serves as an outlet for current students to network with professionals and also allows alumni the opportunity to serve on panels.
“After the first year, I’m thinking ‘what are we going to do for the next one?’ And it’s just amazing that we’ve gotten better with each successful conference,” said Synowka, the head of the Sport Management Department at RMU. “[The objective of the first seminar] was to educate students about career possibilities, but now it has become so much more. It really is an important part for alumni to comeback and engage with us, but also to engage among themselves.”
The conference, which is scheduled for October 18, features more than 50 professionals who will share their insights about the field.
“The RMU Sport Management alumni are a very loyal group of individuals who love the sports industry and know that without the education they received at Robert Morris University, they would not be as successful as they are today,” said Harry Leckemby, Jr., the conference’s alumni program director. “This event has grown into an annual reunion for RMU Sports Management alumni to come back and see classmates and make new friends with alumni.”
One of the chief indicators of the program’s past success has to do with the fact that 10 universities will be in attendance, while another, unable to make it to campus that day, will be listening to the panels via web-streaming technology.
Last fall, the University of Salford, in the United Kingdom, reached out to Synowka about the possibility of developing a relationship between the two institutions located nearly 3,586 mile apart. Although they are unable to be present at this years’ seminar, Synowka believes that this is the first step in developing an “international outreach” between the two educational organizations.
“One of the most rewarding things is that we have [individuals] who attended the conference as students, and when they get out to be industry professionals, they want to come back and be on the other side of the audience,” said Synowka, who was been at RMU for more than 30 years. “That’s how you build a culture, that’s how you build success, and you do everything that we’ve set out to do.”