Student Spotlight: Marie Strickland

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 4.36.33 PMCurrent Roles: 

-Clinical Faculty within the Sport Leadership and Management program (Miami OH)

-Internship Director for the Sport Leadership and Management program (Miami OH)

-Academic Advisor to Sport Leadership and Management students (Miami OH)

-Formerly a Xavier Sport Management Professor, currently pursuing an MBA for Xavier’s Smith College of Business

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio


Q:Where did you graduate from, what did you study and when?

A: University of Cincinnati (Bachelor of Sports Administration) and Ohio University (Master of Sports Administration)

Q: What drew you to Xavier’s Grad program?

A: I already have a master’s degree from Ohio University. However, I want the career flexibility that comes with having an MBA. Likewise, I wanted to study within a school of business that is accredited at the highest level, (AACSB accreditation), and pursuing my MBA through Xavier’s Williams College of Business allows me to do just that. Moreover, it was important for me to be able to remain close to my family and friends during my studies, and Xavier’s Cincinnati location accomplishes that.

Q: How did you get into teaching? What did you enjoy about teaching at Xavier?

A: While taking my very first sports administration course at UC, I was tasked with completing a career planning paper. While this was merely a final class assignment for many of my peers, as a non-traditional student, I took the paper seriously and thought long and hard about my personal skill sets, strengths, and interests, and quickly realized I would like to teach one day. Keeping this in mind, before even deciding to pursue my first master’s degree, I reached out to Dr. Doug Olberding, who is the chair of the Department of Sport Studies at Xavier, to inquire about graduate teaching opportunities.

Although there were no graduate teaching assistantships offered by the department and I would eventually decide to purse a master of sports administration from Ohio University before coming to Xavier to pursue my MBA, I made it a point to keep in touch with Dr. Olberding. As such, a few months starting my MBA, I reached out to Dr. Olberding again to inquire about teaching opportunities as I felt a graduate position would allow me to gain teaching experience. Much as had been the case on the previous occasions, there were no openings available at that time. However, Dr. Olberding encouraged me to keep in touch and check back in the future. So, I did just that and was there just so happened to be an opening and the rest is history.

Q: How can students become more involved while still in school? Do you know of any good resources?

A: Students can get involved in any of the many extracurricular activities available at Xavier, as active leadership is a plus. Likewise, students can seek out opportunities to volunteer, intern, job shadow, assist faculty with research, and/or work part-time in positions. Cincinnati is a great location because we have multiple professional teams, intercollegiate athletic departments, interscholastic athletic programs, community sports organizations, youth sports programs, international and other large-scale sports events, and multiple accredited institutions with faculty seeking assistance. Students interested in getting involved should start by checking online to see what opportunities may exist.

Q: You’ve held many different roles over your career, such as in the NBA and College athletics; what did you enjoy most?

A: This is always a bit of a tough question for me as my career has involved work for multiple professional sports organizations, Division I NCAA programs, and a variety of athletic events at every level of sport. In terms of a single most enjoyable role, I’d have to say it’d be my time working in the promotional events department of the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are a great organization to work for and my former supervisors and co-workers made working in this role all the more fun. Additionally the most enjoyable sports event to work at was the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Kentucky Speedway during the summer of 2013. Although I can’t say that I am a true NASCAR fan, working in motorsports offers such a sensory experience during race time and there are so many opportunities for creative marketing and sponsorship elements, which is right up my alley!

Q: Any advice for Xavier students aspiring to work in the sports industry?

A: The biggest piece of advice that I can give students interested in working within the sports industry is to gain experience now! Too many students go through the motions of gaining a college education while failing to put in the work necessary to set themselves apart from the competition. It’s great to earn high marks in class, however, employers also want to hire people that have relevant experience that brings the classroom concepts to life. Thus, students need to network with industry professionals, volunteer, intern, and do a great job. Likewise, I think it’s especially important for students to utilize the services available within the Career Development Office as there are great people that can help with cover letter-writing and the customization of resumes. Lastly, students should be unafraid to step outside of their comfort zone when it comes to seeking opportunities for practical experience in sport. Just because one may aspire to work for a top intercollegiate athletic program or professional sports team, does not mean they can’t gain valuable experience interning at a YMCA or high school athletic program for example.


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