2017Nov 14

Matthew Wilkes Profile

By: Zef Kraja | November 14, 2017

For this profile I was lucky enough to interview a recent SPAD graduate and close friend of mine, Matthew Wilkes, who I had the pleasure of playing alongside for the Laurentian Men’s Soccer team. Matt WilkesBelow, Matthew tells us a little bit about himself, his experience in SPAD, his life after graduating, and leaves us with some important advice for the future. I’d like to thank Matt for taking time out of his day to help me with this profile as well as letting me share it with the class. He made it a very easy and enjoyable process.

Q&A with Matthew Wilkes:

ZK: Tell me a little about yourself, where you’re from, and where you grew up, hobbies of yours etc.

MW: I was born in Ottawa before moving to Whitby at a young age where I currently live now. I grew up playing every sport but primarily excelling at soccer and hockey. Hobbies include traveling, being outdoors, hanging out with friends and playing sports. I love being active and being in a team environment as much as possible.

ZK: How did you hear about SPAD and why did you choose it as a program?

MW: My guidance counsellor and high school soccer coach Tom Plommer was the one to notify me about the school and program. Mr. Plommer is a Laurentian Alumni of Human Kinetics and played four year of soccer at Laurentian. I chose SPAD because of my love for sport and the opportunity to receive a business degree. With my dream to work for a professional sport organization, I believed SPAD would create the most opportunities for me to achieve this goal. Knowing SPAD was a co-op program I knew this would be a great opportunity to receive valuable industry experience.

ZK: What were your aspirations first coming into the program and how did they change throughout the years?

MW: Coming into Laurentian I was extremely driven to focus heavily on sport management and operations with the hope of one day working in hockey operations and promotions for the Toronto Maple Leafs. As time when on and I completed Sports Marketing and Tom Blake’s Sales course, I was sold. I knew right there and then that Sales was the direction I wanted to focus on and it was the right position for me.

ZK: How did you spend your time at Laurentian (extracurricular), as well as some of
your favourite memories?Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 4.07.14 PM

MW: I spent majority of my time playing soccer for the university team, hanging out with friends and playing as many intermural sports as possible. My favourite university memories were (1) in my second year playing number one ranked Carleton at home and beating them 2-1 in a thrilling fast paced match. (2) Scoring my first OUA goal at home against Trent University. (3) Presenting my industry consulting project to the Vice President of Business Development at the Baltimore Ravens organization.

ZK: Who do you work for now and what’s your position there?

MW: I work for IMG (International Management Group), I am a Sales Executive for the North American Arts & Entertainment and Culinary division.

ZK: Take me through the process of getting the job. What internships or opportunities lead to this?

MW: I obtained the position from networking throughout the office and completing two internships with the organization. First internship as the Operations and Client Services Intern for Taste of Toronto and Professional Bull Riding. My second internship was the Operations Intern for The Big Feastival. Sitting down with higher up executives and directors at IMG, helped me gain an understanding on what it takes in the entertainment industry and acquired knowledge on tips and tricks from there experience.1200px-IMG_(business).svg

ZK: What lessons from SPAD have you learned that are helping you in this job or helped you in the job search process?

MW: SPAD has equipped me with the knowledge and experience to succeed in the business world. With constant presentations dating back to first year, it had prepped me to control a room and present ideas and findings to higher up executives in my organization. Having the confidence to own the room and present ideas has helped me excel in my current position.

ZK: What are your aspirations for the future?

MW: My aspirations for the future are to get into Strategic Partnerships. Whether it be for a sport organization or consumer goods company such as PepsiCo or Procter & Gamble. I want to work on the sponsorship side to create memorable and exciting partnerships and activations in years to come.SPAD-LOGO-4

ZK: Any advice you could give to current SPAD students?

MW: Don’t be afraid to take an unpaid internship, experience is extremely valuable in the sport and entertainment industry. Continue to work hard and always look to improve.
Reach out to alumni and industry professional to network and gain a better understanding of different companies and departments.

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