2013Sep 23

@LU_SPAD Internship Profile: Nick Andrews – Kansas City Chiefs Event Operations Intern

Fourth year SPAD Student, Nick Andrews, is currently completing his internship with the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL. Andrews holds the position of “Events Operations Intern” with the Chiefs. The Chiefs were founded in 1960, as the Dallas Texans of the AFL. They joined the NFL and became the Chiefs in 1970 during the NFL/AFL merger. During his time at Laurentian, Andrews founded the “Laurentian Out Loud” podcast which is still going today. Nick graciously agreed to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions.

DSC00353Q: Working for a NFL Franchise is a very unique opportunity. What lead you to pursue an internship with the Chiefs? Have football and event operations always been something you have been passionate about?

NA: The NFL has always been a great passion of mine and it was my goal when I enrolled in SPAD to one day work with one of its great organizations. After taking classes in Event Management and our Field Trip project with the Miami Dolphins I realized how exciting it can be to work and prepare events at an NFL facility which ultimately made me want to pursue this type of internship. Through research conducted during our field trip project it became apparent that the Kansas City Chiefs had one of the best organizations for private event planning. Therefore once I began looking for internships the Chiefs were an organization that stood out for me.

Q: Can you tell us about some of your typical workday duties with the Chiefs? What exactly does an Event Operations Intern do?

NA: There are two sections of work that are conducted by the Event Operations Interns at the Kansas City Chiefs. The first is the private event operations which involves inputting doing the prep work for each events and then supervising the event to make sure that it runs smoothly for the client. An example of our recent events included corporate team building activities, various team executive private events, and special events such as this fantasy draft party experience. 

The second part is game day preparation for weeks where there is a home game. During the week, our roles includes tasks such as preparing information booklets for our event staff supervisors and credentials for incoming part-time staff or key personnel, such as KCPD. For fans during the pregame festivities we are given the task of setting up and supervising our sponsored Ford Fan Experience activities. Once the game has started we travel around the stadium interacting with our event staff members, ensuring that each fan has the best experience possible and solving any problems that arise during the game.

Q: SPAD students do a great amount of work involving planning and running events; How has what you’ve learned in the classroom helped you in your everyday duties with the Chiefs?

NA: The Event Management class conducted in third year is a great asset for any student interested in pursuing a career in game-day operations. On several occasions I have drawn on my experience running the 2012 Grey Cup Party and applying them to all aspects of my work day. One major transferable skill includes having a step-by-step plan for your event but being flexible for the unexpected. Supervisors understand that nothing will ever go exactly as planned so their evaluation of success is based more on preventing serious problems and preparing and reacting to the regular problems.

Dealing with problems is a difficult task to handle and being able to think quickly on your feet is often a skill that is utilized during game day. The skills learned in Tom Blake’s GameDay Sales class are essential to any person that is thinking of finding an internship where interaction with the client occurs on a frequent basis. His course on teaching confidence, planning, and communication skills have allowed for my supervisor to have the assurance that I will be able to work independently during game day and solve problems on my own.

Q: During your time here at Laurentian, you were a very active member of the campus community. You are the founder of a student podcast named “Laurentian Out Loud”, for those who are unaware, can you explain what “Laurentian Out Loud” is? Are you still involved with the podcast today?

NA: Laurentian Out Loud (LOL for short) is a Facebook page/podcast that my first year roommate (Shibbs Ali) and I created to help students with learning about important campus information as well as a place where our fans could find new music, movies, or other interesting information. Along with our daily updates on our page we would also record a podcast that discusses topics that a normal LU student might have in residence. After almost three years of helping out our fellow LU students we have accumulated over 800 followers on Facebook and Twitter combined. I am still involved in the organization, all be it from a great distance, but I use my connections to stay up to date on campus activities so that we can keep our page current. I have recently opened the idea to my co-founder of finding a new group of torch bearers with the same passion for being social butterflies in the hopes that the page can continue to live on past our time as students at Laurentian. To see what our pages look like you can visit us on Facebook or on Twitter @LU_OutLoud.

Q: What do you ultimately hope to achieve while working with the Chiefs? Do you have any plans for after you complete the internship?

NA: The most important goal that I want to get out of this internship is to build a stronger network in the business of the NFL in the hopes that it can increase my career opportunities in the future. The bonus to this networking would be to ultimately receive an opportunity for employment with the Kansas City Chiefs and stay on here full-time. Otherwise I will look to further my education and career opportunities by applying for graduate school for a Masters in Business Administration either here in the United States or back home in Canada.

Q: What is the biggest thing you’ve learned so far since joining the Chiefs?

NA: The greatest thing that I have learned since joining the Kansas City Chiefs is to always be ready to go at a hundred percent even after you have put in a sixty hour work week. Networking within every department of an organization opens more doors to opportunities and allows for every person to recognize who you are. The best example I can give is that entering as an intern is the same as entering as a freshman in high school or university where you are often being introduced to new people and new opportunities. If you want to make sure that people remember you in a positive way be energetic and available for each opportunity. The easiest way that I have been able to network with key members of the Chiefs organization is by making myself available and frequently volunteering to help in other departments with a positive attitude. By showing that you are willing to do, even the tasks that seem minuscule for others, opens doors to new skills and quickly makes your name come up in conversation for greater opportunities in the future.

Q: Finally, do you have any words of advice for students who will be embarking on internship in the near future?

NA: By traveling to the United States I have learned how great of an experience and opportunity that I have been given and therefore I take every advantage I can during this internship. For those who are interesting in pursuing internships here in the U.S. I would strongly recommend it as both a great opportunity for your professional and social networking. With this I warn though that the process to be able to work in the United States is much more trying than just any internship and you need to be committed to wanting to work. You also need to be prepared to start completely fresh and ready to make decisions and be responsible not just in your professional work but also your social life. Understanding that your parents will not be able to make decisions for you and that your boss might not be as lenient as your professors on tasks is a big reality check. Before you think that you are ready for this once in a lifetime chance you need to evaluate yourself and decide whether you can commit all the time, resources and especially money to taking on a U.S. internship. With all of that my experience as a Canadian in America has been tremendous and if anyone who is interested in knowing more about either the application process, how my job is or the lifestyle changes you can ask/find me on my Facebook page.

The SPAD Blog would like to thank Nick for taking the time to speak to us, and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours.

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