Building Rapport. Attracting Customers.

Matthew O’Leary’23, an Economics major from Clarendon Hills, Illinois, is a Business Intern working with the Beloit Sky Carp through the Impact Beloit Fellowship Program. His strong academic background and outstanding athletic achievement equip Matt with the essential skill sets to thrive in his internship with the Beloit Sky Carp.

At the Sky Carp, Matt takes ownership of various projects aiming to boost fan attendance and enhance the overall fan experience. He has been able to approach challenges creatively and take initiative boldly.

Reflecting on the internship, Matt highlighted: “The most memorable project I worked on was developing and executing a survey for our fans.”

By keeping the questionnaire clear and concise, Matt allows individuals to complete it promptly and efficiently, resulting in more than 1,400 responses. The survey allowed him to analyze data to utilize consumer insights, define areas of improvement, and altogether propose a customer-centric action plan for the MiLB team.

“It exceeded the expectations set by my boss and provided plenty of valuable information on how we can improve as a company,” he stated.

This experience enhanced Matt’s understanding of sports management and a strong resonance with the spectators.

“This project helped me understand that sports management, especially in minor league sports, is completely consumer-driven. We are in the business of getting people in the stadium, but also ensuring that they enjoy their time while watching the game,” said Matt.

Matt at the site

Furthermore, an internship helps expose young professionals to the real world, equipping them with bittersweet lessons.

One challenge that Matt faced during his experience with Sky Carp was to connect with his coworkers and build a willingness to reach out for help when needed. Thanks to the mentorship – through Impact Beloit – with Matt Laszlo’92 and with his supervisor – President Zach Brockman, Matt was able to overcome those obstacles and navigate difficult conversations effectively. He also emphasizes the trait of a productive collaborator in proactively reaching out to colleagues and asking the right questions about the key solutions. Via this approach of open and active communication, Matt promoted a collaborative working environment with harmonious rapport.

Matt credits multiple coursework from the Department of Economics that provokes his thoughts and exposes him to various real-world experiences to apply in-class lessons. Moreover, the Business Networking Summit is a great way to practice communicating and navigating conversations in a professional setting. Combining his athletic experiences as an outstanding member of the Baseball team, he strived to become a hard worker and a good listener, allowing him to realize the overlaps between bosses and coaches.

Matt shared that “Being coachable is a great skill to have and my time on the Baseball team has helped me develop and practice that.”

The Impact Beloit Fellowship goes beyond an internship experience. Matt gains a head start in the sports management career through a diverse skill set in parallel with strengthening his personal “Board of Directors.” Mentorship plays an integral role in his journey.

While Zach Brockman encouraged him to learn more about the industry with various projects, Matt Laszlo’92 closely supported him both personally and professionally. Matt strongly recommends current students who are aspiring to a career in sports management they be able to communicate effectively, solve problems creatively, become active listeners, and learn continuously.

“I think being versatile is one skill that will be the most transferable for my future. In the sports management industry, you have to be willing and ready to work on any problem that arises. This is a skill any employer would love to have, especially with their young employees.” Matt embarked on his journey.

By: My Le'25
March 17, 2024

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