What’s Needed To Break In? Internship? Law School? MBA?
Writing a blog (that is fairly popular) opens you up to many new people that you would never have had the chance to encounter had you never decided to download WordPress (or some other blog publishing program). I like to think that my company, Dynasty Athlete Representation, has a strong reputation in a limited time of existence with a client roster that is improving by the week. That said, the company is still a very small fish amongst giants like CAA, BEST, WMG, Rosenhaus Sports, Boras Corp, etc. Interestingly enough, we still get a ridiculous amount of internship requests from hungry college and post-grad students hoping to break into the industry. Why us? People have their various reasons, but the most common answer is that they respect our mission, goals, and platform and want to be a part of a growing company.
For the current Internship Program, Justin Herzig (our HR Director) received over 250 intern applications. Some were thrown away after reading a couple of lines of the cover letter, but most applicants actually seemed extremely qualified for the limited number of spots available. Do you need to have a law degree, MBA, or internship to break into this industry? Read Jack Bechta’s story…the answer is no. But it surely does help to at least have an internship. Bechta is a part of a very small minority of people who can succeed in this very difficult profession by printing a few business cards and starting up a company with absolutely no experience.
Bechta mentions that there are several agents with a huge client list that never attended law school. My response is that an agent is not graded by his client list. There are also many players who end up suing their agent or leaving the agent because of poor execution of his job. When I first started law school, I wondered myself why so many people said that it was so important for a person to attend law school in order to be an agent. Criminal law, Torts, Property, Civil Procedure…yeah they may all come in handy, but probably not. Then came Contracts, Corporations, Business Organizations, Intellectual Property…now it all makes sense. The knowledge I have after going to law school coupled with the experience I continue to gain with my own clients makes me a better agent every day.
There is also going the route of Bechta and keeping an attorney on retainer for your firm. I still think that if given the opportunity, go to law school. Players like having a one-stop shop for all their needs (that’s why CAA, WMG, etc. continue to dominate). I think that they also want an agent who can wear more than one hat. To bring a personal knowledge of the law to every negotiation and not have to rely on another person seems to bring some extra value to the table.
As far as grad school for some sort of Sports Management MBA is concerned, I am not completely sold. If you go that route, I think you should definitely heed Bechta’s advice. Look at who the professors are and the subjects being taught before you spend all that money.
I can’t disagree with Bechta when he says that overall the 2 most important qualities for success in this industry are:
- a competitive nature
Along with that, I will add a third quality: 3) innovation. There are so many agents out there going after the same clients, giving the same pitch, and providing the same services. Do something to make yourself stand out. Sorry, I already created SportsAgentBlog.com, so making a blog about the sports agent world will not really separate you. Spend some time thinking about what you can do to make yourself a thing of value. I promise that the time taken will be well worth it.