By: Adam White, @FOSAdam
Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Michael Warren, CEO of M3W Sports, a Florida-based sports career consulting firm. Mike received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. After graduation, he worked in the financial industry for almost a year before landing a job in the sports industry with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since then Mike has been involved and worked with several large sports organizations including IMG Properties, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Vincent Lecavalier Foundation, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Ripken Baseball.He was gracious enough to offer up his insight on how important networking is, the transition from school to the workforce and why attitude is everything.
What previous positions did you hold prior to your current position? How did they help you get to where you are today?
I have been working in sports for over 15 years now. I started out working part-time with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the telemarketing department (that’s what it was called back then). I also was a volunteer for a junior hockey team, and worked part-time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Yes, I once worked for three teams at once. Since then, I have had various positions with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the sales and marketing department and have also worked for IMG, Ripken Baseball and the Vincent Lecavalier Foundation.
What is a normal day like for you in your current position? What are your daily challenges?
A normal day usually consist of reviewing some resumes, making some new team or organizational contacts, reading up on current trends in sports and interviewing a few folks over the phone.
For people who do not know, can you tell us about what M3W sports is and what the goal and the mission of the company is?
M3W sports is a consulting/slash career coaching company that helps individuals be in a better position to land an entry level position in the sports and entertainment industry. We work with you to find out what type of role your skill set might be a good fit for in the sports industry. We coach you on positions that you would have success at and then get you ready to land that job. We assist with everything - from making sure your resume is strong, to making sure you are prepared for the interview. We also attempt to follow up after an interview to see what you did well and what you might need work on. Think of us as part agent for your career but also our process of evaluating is part scouting combined with making sure great people land great jobs!
In your opinion, what does it take to succeed in running your own sports related business?
Probably for me the most important thing is having a mission and vision and keeping that front of mind. Each day different things pop up and it can be easy to lose your way worrying about things that are not pertinent to your mission statement and those things can knock you off course. Have that goal in mind and work to attain it otherwise, you find yourself running in place.
What is the best career advice you have received?
If you want something, go get it.
If you were going to hire someone today, what would the ideal candidate possess to be able to succeed in the sports industry?
I really think different qualities are important in different areas of a team. I don’t think there is a universal trait that can be applied across the board. I have seen great employees come from all different kinds of people so to pick one thing out is tough. I do think having a passion for what you are doing is really important no matter what you do.
What is the highlight of your career so far?
My first year with the Tampa Bay Lightning we won the Stanley Cup. Great experience and one I will never forget. I got to drink from the Stanley Cup as well as receive a ring!
What are some tips you have for people who want to succeed in the sports industry?
Work with M3W Sports! It’s just like any other position really. Have a great attitude, have pride in your work, do things that others won’t do, work hard and keep a great attitude and realize you get to do something that you love.
How important is networking in your eyes?
It’s vital, although I think it is changing with things like LinkedIn. I get numerous requests each day from people I don’t really know and I think people believe that is networking. In my opinion, your network can never be large enough and the more people you meet, no matter what your position, the better.
Coming out of college what was the transition into the workforce like for you? How should today’s students who want to be involved in sports prepare for that transition?
My transition was different then most and probably more so since I had no idea or thought of working in the front office for a sports team. I had not interned or worked with any sports team while in college and was working in the financial industry when I took a shot at the Pirates position. I do know that the transition into sports was much better than going from college to the financial industry. This is mostly because you get the opportunity to work with people who are your age and in the same boat as you. You have people there to lean on, to compete against, and grow with.
As for current students, I would get involved while I was in college with what I want to do. I use sales for an example because that’s where I started. If you are taking an entry-level sales position, and have made calls on a campaign as part of college internship, you will have a greater advantage than someone who has never done it before. There is so much competition for these entry level positions now that anything you can do to separate yourself from the pack is going to work to your advantage.
You can follow M3W on Twitter at: @M3Wsports