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The Far Side of the World

By Ian MacDougall ’14

While this may be the title of one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs, it also shows how far the helping hands of Wabash Alumni are willing to reach. Like many of my fellow students, past, present, and future, I seized one of the best opportunities Wabash has to offer. This semester I am fortunate enough to study at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Yes, this is the same St. Andrews known as the “Home of Golf.” Anyways, over here, I get to enjoy not one, but two weeks of spring vacation. I planned my whole break out in the first weeks of February to save money on all my travel. In my typical lacking common sense style, I booked travel, then rooming, and finally looked at bus fares (hint: look at bus fares first!). My plan was to leave Friday the 15th from St. Andrews on a bus to Glasgow, hop on a train for Manchester, catch a United game the following day, leave Sunday to head for a village called Oban (where the Clan MacDougall officially resides), Monday through Wednesday afternoon explore the coast of Scotland (beautiful views), grab a train from Oban to Glasgow that night, take the bus back to St. Andrews, and play unlimited golf at the Old Course and the other six courses the next week and a half.

However the Monday that I was relaxing in Oban, I realized that my train would get to Glasgow after the last bus of the evening for St. Andrews left. Realizing that I could be out another 30 plus pounds (that’s two weeks of groceries), I frantically began thinking of where I could stay. A quick side note, I am NOT a hostel type of person. All the other people I met from Glasgow were from the University football (soccer) teams I played against, and let’s just say they were not too thrilled about this American goalkeeper at the end of the game. I noticed that there was still bus service to Edinburgh after my arrival in Glasgow, so my mind quickly turned to a night there. Again, besides the football pitch, I did not know that many people in Edinburgh, let alone know them well enough to stay for the night. As I was browsing through the hotels in Glasgow and Edinburgh (not cheap at all), I saw an email from Scott pop up in my inbox. Then, I remembered skimming through and then deleting an email Scott sent out about a year ago. Luckily for me, I found it sitting in my trash. The email referred to a new service called Bash Bunks.

I figured why not give it a try, even though the chances of an open Wabash bed in Scotland were the same as the Cubs’ chances to win a World Series. After logging on through the MyBash page on the website, I found this massive map of the world with little red indicators all over the United States. There were places in New York, Florida, and California, but surely enough, one small dot landed in Edinburgh, Scotland. Almost immediately, I submitted a request and began praying. You see, the site calls for two weeks advance notice. James Jefferies sent me the email of a young Wabash Alumnus to contact about a room for that night. Mark Osnowitz ’12 told me that I could crash on his couch for the night. Instant relief consumed me. He gave me his address and number and told text him when I got there.

Unfortunately, my train arrived late, meaning I would have to wait another 30-45 minutes to catch the next bus. Mark just told me to have a safe trip. I got off the bus around 11:15 at night and began following the Google Maps directions on my phone. A nice cool evening through one of the best parts of the city, I got to his flat around 11:45. To be honest, for a young married couple earning postgraduate degrees, I was shocked when I walked through the door. The apartment was beautiful, even with a brief tour I still managed to locate a few items with a smiling Wally Wabash. I think a picture was the only way to appreciate their place. Mark showed me to the living room and the couch that would serve as my bed for the night. I probably passed out within five minutes of my head hitting the pillow. The next morning I was up rather early to take the first bus (I had a tee time that afternoon). Lindsey, Mark’s wife, graciously woke him up so I could say thank you and good-bye. A total of 7 hours in Edinburgh reaffirmed my appreciation for Wabash. A simple click of button online and a helping hand from one Wabash man to another alleviated all that stress I felt Monday evening. Obviously, I don’t think my rooming issues were not the intended reasons to use Bash Bunks. However, if I ever need a room for an evening when I have to travel for an interview or a project of some kind, I know that, if it is in the US, a Wabash man will be there to help me out. Just like in the States, the Gentlemen’s Rule and the traits Wabash instills in us are clearly evident on the far side of the world

Just because the field isn't in playing shape doesn't mean the front office isn't working hard.

Alumnus and Professors give Hopkinson ’15 a Spot in the Externship Lineup

–By Jocelyn Hopkinson

Prospective students will hear how helpful the Wabash faculty and alumni are when they visit for Honor Scholar Weekend. Admissions and students advertised the same things to me when I was a senior. Part of me thought these advertisements were exaggerated, but I recently discovered I was wrong—all I needed to do was take the first step and reach out.

I reached out to Professor of Economics Kealoha Widdows about potential summer-school options. I met with Professor Widdows and discussed my post-Wabash ambitions. She told me to work with Career Services and required I report back to her. I’ll admit my mother had urged me to visit Kane House for a year, but I never made it over. However, I found I was much more accountable when a professor requests something from me!

I worked with Scott Crawford and other Peer Career Advisors to update and improve my resume. More importantly, I was urged to contact Wabash alumni. Again, I took the first step and reached out to Mark Osnowitz ’12 via LinkedIn.

Just because the field isn’t in playing shape doesn’t mean the front office isn’t working hard.

 

A few summers ago, Osnowitz interned with the Normal Cornbelters, a professional baseball team in the Frontier League in Normal, IL. I have an interest in sports business and thought an externship with a small organization would be very beneficial because I could absorb all the business’ aspects.

Osnowitz was more than willing to help and played an instrumental role in me landing the externship. After a few messages on LinkedIn, Osnowitz contacted team President and Owner Steve Malliet and General Manager Kyle Kreger. Osnowitz put in a very good word for me. From that point on, it was up to me not to screw up and fortunately I was able to avoid any mishaps.

I spent between two and three hours per day with the office staff over spring break. Each day consisted something new and ranged from stadium management to ticket sales. The Cornbelters’ front-office staff only has seven full-time employees so the different departments are a one or two-man operation with the help of a handful of interns. The staff provided me with personal attention every day and was excited to help me learn, similar to the Wabash faculty.

My week started by shadowing Kreger. He oversees an umbrella of responsibilities including ticket sales, corporate sponsors, and community relations. He also holds the power to make personnel decisions, but leaves them to his coaches and scouting department.

“Ticket Sales Tuesday” occurred the following day. I met with Vice President of Ticket Sales Joe Rejc. Always looking to improve, Rejc explained how the team planned to increase ticket sales from last season. He reiterated what Kreger had told me, that more groups (churches, businesses, youth baseball teams etc.) would be targeted this season. After laying out the strategy, he showed me March’s game plan. Rejc and other sales members are required to hit specific sales numbers and if everybody accomplishes their goals, the team will increase its sales.

The other part of the revenue stream is corporate sponsorships. Director of Corporate Partnerships Lori Johnson met with me Wednesday to explain her job. She sells advertising space inside and outside the ballpark for local businesses such as outfield signs, box suites, and billboards. She also handles trades, which occur when the Cornbelters give advertising to a local business in exchange for that business’ services. For instance, if a new player has nowhere to stay, he may live in a hotel for a certain amount of time and the hotel will get free advertising at the Cornbelters games. The team doesn’t receive revenue from trades, but costs are less if not zero.

Kreger harped about starting out in ticket or corporate sales. He said every employer wants to know how he can increase his revenue and if you intern in a sales position, you can put that number by your name and quantify your skills.

Hopkinson ’15 saw a lot of faces of the organization in a short time

Stadium Operations Manager Ryan Eberle showed me the Corn Crib on Thursday. Eberle is responsible for a variety of tasks—stadium and locker room cleanliness, utilities, dugout and field conditions to name a few. He is also in charge of event and game-day logistics.

I spent my last day with Business Manager Heather Manint. She handles the team store, accounting, and other general business activities. Friday alone entailed of meetings with a health-care provider and sales tax auditor. 

I finished my job-shadow experience with a much better idea of sports business operations and where my interests lie. I plan to heed Kreger’s advice and look for an internship in ticket or corporate sales in the future—possibly even with the Cornbelters. The gentle shove from Professor Widdows and enthusiastic help from Osnowitz and Career Services made this possible.