Career Talk

Tretters compare notes about working in professional sports
Friday, March 25, 2016

Cornell siblings shared career insight with students when they discussed their distinct, but overlapping career paths in professional sports Tuesday.

Joseph Carl "JC" Tretter Jr. ’13 of the Green Bay Packers and Katie Tretter AEM ’11 of Nielsen spoke in Ives Hall at an event hosted by the ILR Sports Business Society.

Katie Tretter spoke in person and her brother joined by telephone, due to off-season training in San Diego.

The presentation began with Tretter describing her transition from Cornell.

“As I was getting ready to graduate from Cornell, I accepted a full-time offer with the Nielsen Company,” she said.

“I was brought into a two-year leadership development program that allowed me to experience a number of different client rotations across our various analytic practice areas.”

Now working with clients to improve their retail sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., she led the audience through interactive slides inviting them to guess – based on data collected by Nielsen – America’s favorite sports, teams and athletes.

Highlighting the importance of data, she said, “We are able to take different pieces from all our data sets and look at sentiment across athletes.”  

Nielsen’s syndicated tool, Nielsen N-Score, is used to evaluate endorsement potential for personalities across the sports, television, film, music, book publishing and radio industries, she said. It leverages a variety of Nielsen data sets such as TV ratings.

“So, companies come to us seeking the best candidates to endorse their products. They want to figure out who resonates most with their target market.”

JC Tretter talked with the audience about playing for the Big Red as a tight end during his first two years at Cornell.

“We had a bunch of talented players on offense, but we struggled protecting the quarterback,” he said. “So, I wanted to help the team, and it became clear that it was the best chance that I had to play at the next level.”

“When I made the move to the offensive line, interest started coming in from the NFL level,” Tretter said.

By spring of his senior year, he was preparing for the NFL draft and combine.

“Luckily, I had some very nice professors that were lenient with my attendance record during that time,” Tretter said. “I was drafted in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers.”

Tretter spoke on making the rare transition from the Ivy League to the NFL.

“There is obviously a big jump in talent, but people don’t really realize that there is a big jump in talent for everybody,” Tretter said.

“The NFL is an all-star league … only the one and two best players from the very best college programs make it to the NFL.”

“People who played at Alabama played against other (future) pros, but were not playing against all pros, so everybody had to get used to the talent level.”