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Home  > Insider profile
Eric Schaffer
Marketing and Promotions Manager

"By my senior year in college, they had set me up with a computer, a fax, and a business line in my house..."

What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

Well, I read a lot about careers in sports during high school. During the last month of high school we had an opportunity to go work for different companies. So I worked at IMG in their Promotions Department. I was only in high school, so they didn't let me do that much, but it really started getting me interested in Sports.

How did you get your big breaks?

I went to the University of Michigan and interned in the chairman's office (Mark McCormack, guru of sports management) the next summer. That was a really interesting three months where I got to read all his past correspondance, like in the 60's I read this letter that said, "I think sports on TV will be really big in the future. Let's invest in it now." Now, as you know, IMG has the biggest TV production arm, TWI. ? Then IMG bought the Detroit Grand Prix and they gave me an opportunity to intern there. My last three years of college I arranged my schedule so that 2-3 days a week I could drive to Detroit and coordinate things there.? The Motorsports division was just starting up then, so they gave me a lot of responsibility since there weren't many people around. I was in charge of sponsorship banners which amounted to 5-6,000 signs. I had to decide where to put them, which was actually way harder than it sounds. You have to place them at just the right angle for the TV, so the sponsors are happy, etc. (note: this is "signage"). I had a crew of 25-30 volunteers who were all older than me, so it was a very interesting experience in managing people.? By my senior year in college, they had set me up with a computer, a fax, and a business line in my house in Ann Arbor. So people would be calling me at 8am about business regardless of whether i had been out to the bars until 3am that night.?

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

"Ok, Let's see what you can do--Get to Work!". I have all these friends who went into banking and consulting, and for two years no one really expects them to do anything because they're in training and they're learning. There's no program like that here. They expect you to produce,and be able to learn things on your own. You earn your stripes and pay your dues.?A friend of mine, got out of college, worked a 6 month internship for free, then they said, "why don't you stay for another month?" He ended up working another 5 months part-time and did a great job, so they sent him down to an event opening in Florida and made him Director of Operations. You just have to pay your dues.?

What have you learned from your experience?

Even if your internship is something dumb, do your best. We have an intern whose sole responsibilities are distributing cell phones to the right people during events, or making sure the courtesy cars go to the right people at events. It sounds silly, but these are tasks that have to be done and if you do them well, you'll get noticed around here.

What most excites you about your job right now?

I've been moving into doing some client management work. For example, I've been putting together marketing deals for some of the motorcar drivers that we represent.

On a scale of 1-10, how relevant was your academic major to your career? (1=not at all, 10=absolutely essential)

9

What would you like to have achieved by the last day of your career?

I plan to go to law school and then move over into sports management.

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