(*Niagara University is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)
The master of science in sport management program at Niagara University provides students the hands-on learning necessary to launch a sports industry career. Many graduates of the program still regularly use skills learned at Niagara in their full-time careers. Some have quickly risen to leadership positions within collegiate athletics.
One such example is Alexis Wayne: Director of Women’s Basketball Operations at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Wayne was a member of the program’s inaugural graduating class in 2015.
Wayne also completed her undergraduate degree at Niagara, where she was a softball student-athlete. After completing her undergraduate study, Wayne began her graduate studies at another university. Wayne then decided to return to Niagara after about a year, however.
“The curriculum and professors at my first grad school were great, but I wasn’t getting the hands-on experience I needed,” she says. “That’s when I reached back out to Niagara, and they had an opportunity in the marketing and ticketing department where I could complete the degree and also get the experience that I was looking for. It was just home for me, and I knew it would be the right fit.”
Wayne spent a year as a graduate assistant for ticketing and marketing in Niagara’s athletic department before securing a role as an administrative fellow at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in the summer of 2015. The skills she picked up as a graduate assistant at Niagara, including things like writing game presentation scripts and working alongside compliance and sports information offices, factored directly into her work at the MAAC. That role at Niagara also afforded Wayne the opportunity to work a multitude of athletic events, adding further to the experiences on her resume.
For the past two-and-a-half years, she’s been in a leadership role with the MAAC. Wayne is the primary contact at the league office for the league’s eleven women’s basketball programs and oversees a staff of about 14 people. Wayne describes the relationship-building process her favorite part of the job.
“In sports, in general, everyone knows everyone,” she says. “I’ve learned that in my short time in this industry. I am a people person, so I love meeting so many people and getting to know their stories and learning from them at all the events that we get to work. Just building and keeping those relationships with so many people all across the country is so important, but I really do enjoy it.”
Wayne highly recommends the program to new prospective graduate students after it provided her with the necessary experience and skills to move forward in her career..
“Coming through Niagara’s program, you’re going to get that vital experience,” she says. “You’re going to have people on your team with professors that want to get you into the job world. The small classroom ratio really helps because you get to be yourself and be heard. Everything you do at Niagara really does translate into the job world, so embrace your time here.”