Nichols College Hosts 2015 Sport Management Case Invitational

BY ERICA MILOSH

Nichols College competed Nov. 13 against three other New England-based colleges in the 2015 Sport Management Case Invitational. Teams from Nichols College, Anna Maria College, Eastern Connecticut State University, and Mount Ida College each had to prepare a 10-minute presentation comparing either two athletes or sports teams, and proving one as the superior. The event was held in Daniels Auditorium on the Nichols campus.

The winning team was Mount Ida College (pictured below); Nichols College came in second place.

The six judges were Kathryn Beall, Nichols College director of compliance and women’s lacrosse head coach; Paul Cacciatore, Boston Celtics senior director of business operations and arena services; Peter Deary, president of Deary Bros., LLC in Putnam, Conn; Bryant Richards, Mohegan Sun director of corporate governance in Conn. and PA; Charlie Robert, Nichols College faculty associate for the Sport Management Program; and Mike Savage, chief executive officer of Empower Fitness in Uxbridge, Mass.

Anna Maria’s four-member team was the first to present. Members included four junior sport management majors: Kevin Grey, Alex Geiger, Edward Jankowski, and Gregory McGoldrick. They argued that the Green Bay Packers have a more dominant dynasty than the New England Patriots. Two main speakers commanded the stage, one representing the Packers, and the other playing devil’s advocate for the Patriots. The group supported its arguments with Super Bowl results, point averages, and charts showing rankings of the dynasties.

The judges critiqued that while Anna Maria’s team looked great with its uniformed suits and seemed well rehearsed, the presentation moved too fast and needed to involve their audience more.

According to the team, they chose to present on the Green Bay Packers and the Patriots because the teams are easy to compare and contrast, and it’s one of the most commonly debated topics. The team also added that it was the first time Anna Maria competed in the event and felt relieved to have gone first.

Nichols College was the second team to present its comparison of the 1973 Oakland Athletics and the 1998 New York Yankees. The student speakers included seniors Justin Doyle and Austin-Robert Weber and juniors Ethan Godfrey and Anthony Rodi. They are sport management majors and have experienced the invitational before.

The Nichols students shook the judges’ hands and gave each handouts to follow along with the slideshow. They compared the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees with various charts displaying five-year comparisons, home-run totals, and offensive efficiency. The presentation style was similar to Anna Maria’s, using the point-counterpoint technique. In the end, the Yankees were dubbed the more dominant team.

The judges commended the Nichols students on shaking their hands and taking the time to explain baseball acronyms, which not everyone knows. Although the team was well rehearsed and met the time allotment, the judges thought they spoke too quickly and needed to spend more time explaining what is important about the charts and statistics.

Later, the team felt confident.

“We’re happy about how we came across with only two weeks of preparation,” said Weber. “We chose baseball because of all the statistics available, and the two teams are similar within the time period.”

The third team to compete was Eastern Connecticut State University, which was comprised of sport management majors juniors Devin Callahan, Nicholas Dube, Melody Kramarz; and senior Kenechi Nezianya. The team chose to present on two collegiate basketball teams, the University of California at Los Angeles men’s basketball team and the University of Connecticut (UConn) women’s basketball team. The presenters set out to prove how UConn is the superior team, with score margins, margin of victory, and other statistics and calculations.

The judges enjoyed the team’s direct approach and were proud of the team’s quick recovery when one of their presenters lost his place. The presentation was professional and engaging, but the judges recommended digging deeper for details next time.

The students from Eastern Connecticut said it took them a while to find the right argument, but they learned a lot from the critique and were grateful for an opportunity to meet with the judges.

Mount Ida College was the last team to present. Three senior sport management majors commanded the stage: Shawn Bernardo, Nicole Pettit, and Henry Vilaivanh. Their argument aimed to prove that Jim Brown who played for the Cleveland Browns is a better running back than Emmitt Smith, former player for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. The students explained their topic and what they were going to cover in the slideshow, before the statistics started. They compared the two players by yards per attempt, average yards per attempt, and touchdowns per game. The team ended with a video emphasizing their point that Brown is the superior player.

The team was praised for its smart use of visuals and media. The judges said they felt more emotionally connected to the presentation, and it was obvious that the data presented was carefully selected. The group handled the project surprisingly well, considering it lost two team members to sports games and one to illness. The judges critiqued that the only thing the presenters lacked was confidence.

“We were panicking a bit before about our lost team members, but we felt good during the presentation,” said Pettit. “This is a great experience to see other people’s points of view.”

Cacciatore explained what he looked for in the student sports presentations. “Professionalism, teamwork, and presentation style are important,” he said. “This is exposure to skills that can be carried over into job interviews.”

“[We look for] clear presentation of statistics and rationale behind what is important and why,” Richards added.

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College Reflection

BY ERICA MILOSH 

It’s hard to believe I’m graduating this month. My time at Nichols College has gone by remarkably quickly, and I’ve learned more than I ever could have imagined. I’ve met so many amazing professors and students, and I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had here.

I started attending Nichols while I was a senior at Shepherd Hill Regional High School here in Dudley just so I’d have some college credits under my belt. For my freshman and part of my sophomore year I went to school at Dean College but transferred back to Nichols for the 2013 spring semester. Nichols was always the right school for me, but all my friends were going away to live at school, and I thought I should do the same. Now I realize that there’s really nothing wrong with staying close to home and commuting to college.

I wanted a fresh start when I returned to Nichols. I was determined to make new friends, join clubs, and gain more writing experience. My first day of class was an English course with Professor Deys, and I knew immediately I was going to do well here. I wrote a fairy tale about Little Red Riding Hood in his class, and he encouraged me to submit it to Windfall, the Nichols student literary magazine. It was exciting to see my writing published even though it was just in a college publication.

That semester I made friends with some members of the Poetry Club and became more confident in my writing. The students in this group are some of the most talented I’ve ever heard and read. I also joined the Meditation Club and made Professor Berard’s acquaintance. With help from his classes and meditation, I learned so much about myself and explored other religions and beliefs. Visiting a Buddhist temple in Raynham, Mass., and a Hindu temple in Ashland, Mass., were the most rewarding field trips I have ever experienced.

My junior year at Nichols, I tried a whole new type of writing for me: journalism. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for Urban Journalism that year, but it changed my life forever. It was so different from creative writing, and it completely threw me out of my comfort zone. I had to dig for facts, find newsworthy stories to write about, and interview people. At first, interviewing people was a nerve-wracking experience, but now it comes easily to me. Professor Schachter taught me everything I know about journalism today; he helped me get published in the (Worcester) Telegram & Gazette newspaper.

That is one of my proudest accomplishments.

During spring semester of my junior year, I became Professor Halprin’s teaching assistant for an Introduction to Literature class. I was really nervous at first, but in time I grew more comfortable speaking in front of students, and I had a lot of fun picking out books and poems for the class to read. The most important thing I learned that semester was how many smart students there are at Nichols. Not only the English majors, but all of the students had something intelligent to contribute and gave me ideas I’d never thought of before about the readings.

I wouldn’t be who I am today without my on-campus jobs. I’ve been lucky enough to work in the Nichols Call Center since summer 2014, and I’ve had the best bosses in the world, Rachel Ferreira and Beth Graham. Rachel taught me the most valuable lessons about workplace management, how to handle difficult situations, and delegate tasks. Being promoted to a Call Center supervisor was an exciting achievement, and I love training new callers and teaching them how to answer questions on the phone or input data. I was also hired this semester as a content developer in the Office of Marketing and Communications, which was a huge deal for me. It was like a dream come true that I’d finally be getting paid for writing articles. I love the work atmosphere, and I’ve learned a lot about editing my written works.

My last big project at Nichols College is my senior thesis. I’ve had the privilege to work with Professor Taylor as she helps me turn my creative writing into something publishable. I thought I was a decent writer until I started my thesis, but it was truly a challenge. Professor Taylor showed me how I can improve my stories and make my poetry more impactful. Even though I’ve been writing for years, there’s still so much I need to learn about creative writing.

It really doesn’t feel like it’s over. I’ll never be done learning, and I strive to become a better writer every day. Without my amazing friends and professors, I would have never made it this far or succeeded in various areas of writing. The best decision I ever made was returning to Nichols College. I’m not sure where I’m headed after graduation, but I try not to worry because I’ve learned from the best, and I’m sure there’s more in store for me.

Ugly Sweater Party Brings Holiday Cheer

BY ERICA MILOSH 

Student Services sponsored a lively Ugly Sweater Party on Friday, Dec. 4. The Fels Student Center lounge was filled with about 50 festive students sporting their ugliest sweaters. The event was a “pub night” intended for the 21+ crowd at Nichols, but younger students were also welcome to join in the fun, eat cookies, and hangout with Santa.

First-year student and criminal justice management major Connor Madsen volunteered to pose as Santa to represent the Ski and Snowboard Club. Several students snapped photos with Santa and told him what they wanted for Christmas.

“It’s great to have a break from studying,” said senior English major Marquice Jackson. “I told Santa I wanted to pass all my final exams for Christmas this year.”

Fels lounge was fully decorated, Christmas tree and all. Karaoke was on hand for any student gutsy enough to show off their singing skills. Many students sang along with Christmas favorites such as “Santa Baby” and “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

Director of Financial Assistance Jen Bianco, who chaperoned the event, also enjoyed the party.

“It’s a creative idea,” she said. “I think the ugly sweaters are bringing everyone together.”

There was a selection of seasonal beverages available for students of age. A police officer was stationed at the front door to check IDs for students who would be drinking beer or wine.

Produced by the Bison for the Nichols College Community