Taking Initiative and Networking is the Key to Success

Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This spring, 19-year-old Nate Philbrook ‘19 will be training Portland Sea Dogs interns.

Philbrook, a sophomore sport management major at Thomas College, has never waited for anything.

While he was a senior in high school, out of his own initiative he job shadowed the assistant manager of the Sea Dogs, Chris Cameron, once during a night game and another time during a day game.

It’s part of the reason that he got an internship last summer after his freshman year at Thomas, said Philbrook.

“I already had that connection. Chris knew my name from that and he had learned a little bit about my personality because I have no problem with talking to new people.”

Philbrook was an associate intern for the Portland Sea Dogs. As a game-day employee, he would show up two or three hours before the game to be briefed before the day began.

“We would have a staff meeting where the assistant general manager would tell us everything that was going on that day in terms of promotions, groups that were going to be there, and just everything that was going on at the ballpark,” he said. “And then we would go out and make sure the ballpark was clean, that everything was intact and ready for the fans to come in.”

Then, Philbrook would greet all the fans and help them to their seats. And anything else needed, Philbrook would help out.

“There were 15 interns, and I was the youngest by far. Most were juniors or seniors in college,” said Philbrook.

Out of 200 applicants for the internship, 50 got interviews and only 15 were hired. Out of the 15 interns, there were three other Thomas students besides Philbrook, including Mason Griffin ‘19 with promotions, Reilly Kons ’17 with the ticket office, and Hailey Mullen ’18 with vending.

When Philbrook first began his internship, he was really shy and would struggle to talk to other employees and interns.

“But then I realized that this is an opportunity that not everybody gets,” he said. “I was pretty excited to be there and I just wanted to soak it all in and learn as much as I possibly could, because I knew that there is no information that I could gather that could hurt me for the future.”

So, Philbrook began to talk to anyone he could who come through the park, including agents, other interns, and scouts.

“Throughout my summer I talked to just about anybody and everybody I could just to learn about how they got where they are and where they hope to be.”

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Although Philbrook has been at Thomas for less than two years, he has already enjoyed the sport management program.

“The courses I have taken taught me a lot about how to relate to people and better interact with them on a business level, instead of just on a sports fan level,” he said. “Now, I can definitely see the business side of sports as well as just being a fan, because the two perspectives are very different. And I have learned that I really love the business side.”

Philbrook said when he was choosing a college, he looked at other sport management programs – but it was the campus visit to Thomas that really made him feel at home.

“It’s a close-knit family at Thomas,” he said. “When you come here, the professors are willing to help you succeed. I’ve noticed over and over again that if I show an interest in something or show that I am working hard at something, they are good at receiving that and putting out equal effort.”

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Philbrook was asked back to the Portland Sea Dogs for the upcoming spring and summer as a senior associate intern. He will be training other interns.

“I love baseball. Being around the ballpark all day every day is something I dream of,” he said. “Going into this internship this past summer I was a little worried because I didn’t know if being around that much baseball was either going to make me sick of it or make me love it more. And it definitely made me love it more.”

He can’t wait to be back this summer. Philbrook hopes to work his way up in the sport management industry after graduation – maybe one day with a major league team.

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