My experience working for the Cleveland Indians was probably the best personal growth opportunity I’ve had since arriving at Cornell. It has been my dream to work in professional sports, specifically Major League Baseball, since I was in 6th grade so having the chance to realize that dream so early on in life was incredible. The people I worked with and learned from, the projects I had the chance to work on, the skills I learned along the way, and the constant exposure to the day-today operations of a professional sports franchise have given me a leg up on many others trying to break into the industry. More importantly, the experience allowed me to learn more about myself, what interests me, what I’m good at and what I should work harder to try and improve upon.
With the Cleveland Indians, I served as the Strategy Intern working in the organization’s Strategy and Business Analytics Department for seven months. The department was formed four years ago to serve in a capacity similar to an internal consulting firm that helps drive decision-making across most areas of the organization. In my role, I was able to work on a wide array of interesting projects that impacted the organization in some way. I helped in the design process for the recently announced renovations to Progressive Field, redeveloped the system by which we provided compensation for our sales executives across product segments, and performed analysis that directly led to new pricing strategies on seating locations in the ballpark. The Cleveland Indians are among the leaders in Major League Baseball for the way they run their business operation so having the opportunity to learn and create an impact in this environment was truly incredible.
The experience did not come without its own set of challenges. It was the first time in my life that I lived completely on my own, without any friends or family in a city that I had never been to. It took some time to adjust but once I did I found Cleveland to be a welcoming community with a lot of opportunities to get involved. I had never realized how many “real world” issues you have to deal with once you graduate such as being on your own, paying your own bills and trying to figure out where your next meal is going to come from. In addition, I had to learn how to navigate a professional sports organization, which is incredibly important in being successful on the job. If you can understand how to seamlessly move forward an agenda within an organization, your work product will become more efficient and in many cases more successful. My preparation and presentation skills improved drastically as a result.
What I found to be really incredible was just how much my coursework and time in the ILR School helped to prepare me for this experience. I noticed immediately that because of the classes that I have taken and the professors I’ve worked with I was thinking differently about problem solving than other high level decision makers and was able to bring a new perspective to the organization. The combination of the ILR background and my own hard work and extra hours put it on the job really allowed me to thrive in a challenging environment.
Overall, I loved my experience, and I would recommend that any student in ILR, whether they have interest in sports or something completely different, take advantage of the credit internship program. Having the opportunity to take everything that you’ve learned and apply it to a real work experience really supplemented my learning in a huge way.
- Alex Gimenez, BSILR'15