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Rising Stars: Scoring Big in NBA Business Development

By Andrea Calabretta

In the five years since college graduation, Bob has advanced from an entry-level position in ticket sales to a role as Business Development Manager with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He claims that his success comes at least in part from taking the advice of a former coach who said, "Surround yourself with good people."

Name: Bob
School: Youngstown State University
Major: Marketing Management
Years Out of College: 2-5
Title: Business Development Manager
Company: Cleveland Cavaliers
First Steps

After graduation, I started in Entry-level sales with the Cavaliers (Inside Sales). This was the hardest job that I've ever had. It was at a time that the Cavs only won 17 games and the attendance was the lowest in years. I soon learned that you need to 'pay your dues' as soon as you start in the professional world. I also realized that I never wanted to be too comfortable in a position. I always wanted to move on to the next level and get a job that paid more and allowed me to grow.

From Then to Now

First, I sent resumes to as many Sports organizations possible. I finally posted my resume on I received a call from the Cavs and I was hired a week later. My biggest break was landing in Cleveland. The Cavaliers have one of the youngest and hardest working groups in Professional Sports. It really makes a difference when you surround yourself with GREAT people. The most satisfying moments along my path have been when I look at how many people I have helped be promoted from Inside Sales. I like to think that I had some part in their development.

Challenges Faced

Working in sports is the same as working in any other industry--you have to put in the time! There are many long hours in this industry, and you have to mentally prepare yourself for some long days. The good news is that you are working for the NBA.

Next Steps

I would like to lead a management group at a Professional Sports team. I would like to attend Grad school, but I do not think that it is necessary at this time.

Did I Ever Think I'd End Up Here?

I never thought that this world would offer me the opportunities it has. That said, I'm not surprised that I have made it to this position. I am a little surprised to have taken every step in Cleveland; sometimes you have to move to another team.

Advice for Others

The best advice I've heard so far has been: "Always surround yourself with good people." Jim Tressel (former YSU coach)?

Of course, if I had it to do over, I would do a few things differently. However, I probably learned more from my risks and mistakes than from my successes.

The best advice I can give is to always look for a better way. There is not a big difference between the people who stay in this career and the people who do not. It's the 'inches' that you can find all around you that make the difference.

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