2013Oct 29

@LU_SPAD Internship Profile: Benoit Roy – TrojanOne/Voyageurs Hockey

803302_10153370399055508_1557649678_nFourth year SPAD student, Benoit Roy, has been very busy over the past six months with two different internships. He has been involved with various organizations during his time here at Laurentian. In May, Benoit began a four-month internship with TrojanOne, where he worked as an Assistant Coordinator.  Furthermore, in September, Benoit began an internship with the Laurentian Voyageurs hockey teams as a member of the “Hockey Operations” crew. The former SPAD Council Vice President has agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions, and provide some insight to any student looking to pursue similar internships. We are thrilled to have him back on the blog! Here is the interview:

Q: Hi Benoit, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. You’ve been extremely busy over the past 6 months with a couple of internships. Over the summer, you spent some time working with TrojanOne as an Assistant Coordinator. Can you tell us a little bit about the position you held, and some of your everyday duties with the organization?

BR: Absolutely! At TrojanOne, I was in an interesting situation where I was the first intern to hold the position I was in. I worked directly with President and CEO, Mark Harrison, and I supported the variety of tasks he completed on a regular basis. This included prospecting and developing strategic partnerships for TrojanOne’s sport and cause properties ranging from Rugby Canada to Youth Science Canada. I also assisted the Consulting and Partnership Marketing departments by creating proposals and activations for strategic partners and developing sponsorship prospecting strategies for a variety of properties. In my position, there was a great focus sales and sales administration.

Q: Seems like you had a very rewarding experience! Were there any challenges associated with being the first intern to hold that position?

BR: It was an extremely rewarding position – working with the President of a prominent sport marketing agency, for me, is among the best ways to gain an entry into the industry. Just having an opportunity to witness his work ethic and see how he conducts himself with other industry pros is extremely valuable. However, this did come with some challenges. Working with Mark, I was required to complete work at a high rate which made it difficult to write with significant detail at times. However, the work I was assigned greatly related to the material taught in SPAD which certainly helped. Also, given I was the first intern, there was no past intern I could contact to provide some insight. Despite this, I knew any internship would be challenging and I gladly welcomed this unique challenge.

Q: That is a great mindset to have. TrojanOne was not your only internship experience. As many are aware, CIS hockey returned to Laurentian in 2013. You began working Hockey Operations with the team in September. How has the experience been so far?

BR: Working with the Voyageurs in Hockey Operations, like my position at TrojanOne, is also a very unique experience. There hasn’t been any hockey at Laurentian since 2000, so my job is to support coaching staff and Athletics in rebuilding the Voyageurs Hockey brand and fan-base. And as you can imagine, my duties can include anything on any given day. I’m involved in building social media and student engagement, communications, planning and executing game-day operations, creating marketing collateral, and tracking and analyzing various advanced hockey stats for both teams, among a variety of other tasks. The experience thus far has been great – understanding that the work I’m completing is in support of the growth of a new era of hockey at Laurentian makes the experience even more rewarding.

Q: Looks like you are keeping busy! It’s interesting you mention the use of advanced statistics. We’ve seen an increased use of advanced stats in professional sports; teams are always trying to gain a competitive edge. The trend has begun in hockey with the use of the “Corsi” system. Is this something yourself, and the Voyageurs utilize, and how difficult is it to gather the necessary data to perform your analysis?

BR: Great question! Personally, I’ve been interested in tracking and evaluating advanced stats such as Corsi, Fenwick and PDO for NHL teams for many months. Naturally, I was excited to apply these stats to CIS hockey when I first began my internship. Given that these stats are, in some occasions, better indicators of performance beyond “puck luck” stats, it certainly supports (but does replace) the subjective evaluation of players. We track these stats by reviewing game tapes and currently only apply them to the Voyageurs. Our use of these stats are still in its infancy, but the Hockey Operations team would love to continue to communicate its value and provide teams with additional methods of evaluating performance.

Q: That’s great! You seem very passionate about advanced statistics. Is this something you’d like to pursue later as a career?

BR: It’s definitely something that I am interested in pursuing, but given that most jobs in this field are for ex-pro’s or statistics graduates (neither of which I am), I may be disappointed later in life! For now, it’s more of a hobby.

Q: You never know! It’s a very fascinating hobby nonetheless. In your 3+ years here at Laurentian, you’ve amassed a wealth of relevant work experience. Is there any recommendations you can make to students who will be pursuing an internship in the future?

BR: The greatest piece of advice I can provide (as cliché as it may seem) is to identify what interests you most about sport business and pursue that interest relentlessly. If you have a passion for sport communications and want to be the next Jay and Dan, find and apply for internships that will best set you up for that kind of career. At the same time, internships are for experimenting – if you think you will be interested in a particular field within sport business, try it out. I followed this principle when applying at TrojanOne. I wasn’t sure if I’d like doing sponsorship sales for four months, but it provided me with an unforgettable learning experience.

Q: That’s great advice for any student! You have a few months left with the Voyageurs before heading on the consulting trip to Chicago in March. What are you most looking forward to about the trip?

BR: Chicago is a great sport city, there’s no question. Having the opportunity to consult for a professional organization in Chicago is incredibly unique – that alone is perhaps what I’m looking forward to most. Also, going on these fourth-year field trips with the peers I’ve spent that last few years of my life with is what’s great about SPAD.

Q: It truly is a great way to end four years in the program. I’ve got one last question before I let you get back to your busy schedule! Where do you see yourself 5 years after graduation? Have you set any goals for yourself?

BR: Within the next the 5 years, I first see myself pursuing an MBA. After that, I’d love to work in hockey regardless of the level and job description. It’s the sport I grew up playing and is an area I feel I’d be able to best demonstrate my abilities. Granted, I have experience in a variety of fields ranging from personal finance to product marketing so I’m leaving SPAD with the mindset that I may end up in an industry that I did not expect to be in. As for goals, it comes back to ensuring that what I’m doing interests me and I’m willing to pursue that interest well after graduating.

Q: It’s great that you want to further your education with an MBA. This interview has been a lot of fun, and we just want to thank you again for your time! Best of luck with the Voyageurs and in your future endeavours!

BR: Thanks, Kel.

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