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Graduation to Vocation: Out of the Classroom and Onto the Ice Rink

Mark Vincent - Graduation to Vocation: Out of the Classroom and Onto the Ice Rink
Photo courtesy of Mark Vincent

Mark Vincent always knew he wanted to work in the sports industry. But a job in sales for a hockey team was not originally on his bucket list.

However, through hands-on internships and learning opportunities through his Sport Management program in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, he found it to be a fun work environment. After graduation, Mark will be staying in Raleigh to work in the sales department for the Carolina Hurricanes.

How has the College of Natural Resources impacted you and prepared you for your future?

The College of Natural Resources has not only given me the knowledge to succeed after college but also the experience, technical skills, and confidence to go out into the workforce and work to my full potential. I would not be in the position I am today without the knowledge I have received from my professors and their willingness to push me to work harder every day. These relationships, the small class sizes, and peers who want to succeed as much as myself, made going to class every day something I looked forward to during my time as an undergraduate.

What kind of research or other hands-on/in-the-field learning did you participate in?

During my time as a student, I worked at the PNC Arena in their ticket assistance department, learning more about the ticket process for sporting events and gaining customer service skills. For my required internship, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and traveled to Sparta, Kentucky to work for NASCAR at the Kentucky Speedway as a ticket sales representative. Both of these opportunities allowed me to take lessons from the classroom and apply them in the real world, while developing transferable skills.

Mark Vincent - Graduation to Vocation: Out of the Classroom and Onto the Ice Rink
Photo courtesy of Mark Vincent

What is unique about you or your work?

Something that is unique about me and the work that I have done here at NC State is that I never gave up. I know this sounds cliche but whether it be a small homework assignment or a semester-long project, I tried my best to give it my all and turn in the best possible product I could. College is tough at times and procrastination/giving up sometimes seems like the easy way out, but that is not the person I am, especially with the guidance and coaching of my professors through the relationships we established. I am a hard worker, an achiever, and a competitor; three traits that will not only get you far in college but stuff that I found a lot of employers are looking for in new hires.

What advice would you give students entering your major or field?

Some advice that I would give students entering my major is to be yourself. Don’t do something because someone tells you that you need to do it. Do what makes you feel comfortable and what will best set you up for success not only during your time at NC State but that will carry over into your profession. College is the time for you to create your own identity, and build a foundation for future success. You also need to not only get to know your professors and advisers but also your peers. You never know where this career path may take you and who you may need help from so networking with your peers and those in the industry could help you as much as your degree itself one day. At the end of the day college is a very unique experience, one that only you can really control as no student has the same experience as another, so get involved, learn, remember what you are here for, and most of all have fun.