The opendorse internship program has evolved into what we believe to be world class experience. We are proud to offer college students and recent graduates from around the country a unique, empowered experience at the intersection of sports, social media, and technology. Last summer, opendorse was fortunate to bring in students from the University of Michigan, University of Miami, the University of Oregon’s Warsaw MBA program, and Bethel University.
Among the four interns was Adam White, a senior at the University of Miami and founder and CEO of Front Office Sports. As a student and business owner, Adam offered a unique perspective and valued voice to our team.
We caught up with Adam to learn about his internship experience and how his summer with the opendorse crew helped prepare him for a career in sports business.
As a current college student and the founder and CEO of Front Office Sports, tell us about your unique position and why you decided to pursue an internship last summer?
The decision was simple to be quite honest. Just because I run my own company and have been semi-successful doing so doesn’t mean I know or can do everything. When it came down to it, I knew that I wanted to use the summer time to not only continue to learn about different facets of the industry, but expand my network and gain valuable learning experiences that would benefit me well beyond the time I spent at opendorse. Plus, as someone who is looking to run their own startup full-time after school, what better place to start learning about that process than a startup itself.
How did you find out about opendorse and the 2016 summer internship opportunity?
Coincidently enough, I found out about the program after one of our contributors had interviewed Blake Lawrence and told his story on the site. Having never heard of opendorse before then, I went on their site after reading the piece and checked it out. While on the site, I just happened to see that they were looking for interns and that they had a really cool internship program that would allow me to have some flexible time in my schedule to work on my own thing while helping them continue to grow and expand their business.
Coming in, what were your expectations for your summer in Lincoln and opendorse as a whole?
Coming in, I had big expectations of the program, and myself, but tempered any other expectations due to the fact that I hadn’t experienced most of what I was about to do. I had never lived in a city as small as Lincoln and I had heard all about the startup life and how all of them had cool offices and happy hours etc., but I had never experienced either of them. So, I went in with an open mind to immerse myself in where I was living and what I was doing.
What was your average day like as summer intern?
An average day was really not so average to be honest. Not only was I working at opendorse, but also I was running FOS and was working at a local bar to give me some living money while I was there. As you can imagine, every day was a little bit different. Most days, I would start out by working out, and then I would come back, clean up, and have breakfast with the other interns. We would then usually walk with each other to work (only about a 5 minute commute) and get there around 9am.
As an intern on the advocacy side of the business, I spent most of my days writing copy for campaigns, working with Jeff Harris to find creative content to clip and share, while helping other members of the team in whatever aspects they needed help. Some days that meant working on pitch decks, and other days that meant writing code for our terms of service. In a startup, you are going to be asked to do a little bit of everything and opendorse was no different.
What surprised you, whether in your role, or opendorse as a company?
The biggest surprise for me was how engaged the interns were as whole. Not only were we in on high-level meetings, but also we were given tasks that would drastically improve the business and the bottom line. From working on outreach to brands, to developing content that would eventually be the centerpiece for campaigns — we were thrown into the fire from day one and expected to perform, with a little help of course.
This kind of real world experience is most definitely something you are not going to get in every internship. From the moment you walked in the door, you weren’t just “Intern A”, you were someone who was now a valued member of the team and who was expected to make a positive and proactive difference.
What were the highlights for you?
The highlights for me were not only being able to see the tangible results of my work in real time, but to be able to work on areas of the industry and learn things about them that were interesting. For example, about 8 weeks into the program, we were all tasked with reaching out to brands that worked with our schools to see if we could secure them for a campaign with former student-athlete alumni of said schools.
As someone who loves to be creative and solve problems in unique ways, this opportunity allowed me to put to use the knowledge and information I had learned in school, with FOS, and with opendorse to create a $5,000 dollar proposal, that if accepted would have been used.
Another highlight was being able to have my hands involved in every aspect of the operation. Not a day went by when I wasn’t interacting with multiple members of the leadership staff, coming up with ideas and then executing on said ideas.
Has your experience helped you with FOS or sports business opportunities? How?
The experience has helped me greatly, especially on the leadership side of things. Watching leaders like Blake, Adi, Ella, and Derek run the operation and to see how they interact with constituents is crucial for someone who is still trying to perfect their very own leadership style. In fact there are things like “hat tips” that I have no shame in admitting that I stole from them.
My time with them also helped to open my eyes to other parts of the industry that aren’t talked about nearly as much, while providing valuable business contacts that I can rely on today to help me execute effective solutions for FOS.
Perhaps one of the greatest areas the experience has helped is just the overall idea of setting goals, planning around them and working to achieve them. Before my time there, everything with FOS was kind of all over the place. We didn’t have a clear vision and our plans were more spur of the moment and random. Since then, we have implemented monthly and quarterly goals, have worked on providing clear plans and framework for success to our contributors, and have taken a focused approach to making sure our goals get accomplished on time.
Any advice for this year’s internship class?
Don’t be shy. Seriously, don’t be afraid to talk to everyone in the office, make friends with him or her, and learn what they do on a daily basis. You can learn just as much from a developer as you can a sales guy even if you are only passionate about sales.
Do more than you are asked. Again, it is never a bad idea to ask for more if you can handle it. Just like in a restaurant, at a startup there is always something to be done.
Go and work outside your comfort zone. If you come in to be the blogger, ask to work on pitch decks. If you come in to work on pitch decks, ask if you can help code. Even if you takeaway the smallest bit of information from each new job, you will be better off because of it.