Meet Washington Foster’s MBA Class Of 2020

Bryan Robert Salvador Smith

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

Experienced professional focused on the marketing and business development of professional sports leagues and franchises.”

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have visited 23 different countries. This includes two study abroad programs and a recent six-week journey across Europe.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Miami; Marketing

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: PGA TOUR; Sales Development Manager – Digital Media

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Training U – 200 students. This past February, I organized and hosted an event for over 200 minority high school students, grades nine through twelve. I was extremely proud because this experience allowed me to use my passion about working in the sports industry to raise the awareness of exciting career options to aspiring young individuals. The forum included a panel discussion with several sports executives, career breakout sessions, and in-person networking with over ten sports organizations and multiple colleges. Following the event, fifteen students were admitted into Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University with seven receiving full scholarships. I plan to host my next event in Seattle.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? My classmates have already demonstrated their willingness to be inclusive and supportive, which factored into my decision to choose the Foster School of Business. Through numerous social platforms, the 2020 class members have shared important information surrounding school schedules, housing accommodations, and this support was particularly beneficial for myself since I am moving from Florida.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I believe attending Foster this will expand my exposure to other industries, particularly within technology. While I enter business school with a desire to further my career in sports, being located in the Pacific Northwest affords other options.  Foster has established relationships with numerous fortune 500 companies in the Seattle area, which leads to interactions that can hopefully evolve into employment opportunities. Moreover, since I have spent my entire life all on the east coast, attending Foster will enable to gain different perspectives by living in a different part of the country.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am most interested in the Diversity in Business club. I am from a bi-racial family, so I have it has always been important to me that the differences in a person’s culture or background be appreciated. Given the recent hostilities fueled by political divisiveness, I find it important to interact with efforts to improve race relations and world economics.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Over the past six years at the PGA TOUR, I developed extensive foundational knowledge about the operational, sales and marketing aspects of working in digital media. However, I want to expand my skills and take on additional challenges. As I look to advance my career, it will be essential to further refine my analytical and critical thinking skills as well as gain broader exposure to key management concepts to assume a leadership role in business development.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Despite receiving promotions while working with my previous employer, I did not believe that this fully enabled me to utilize my abilities or maximize with my compensation. When I finally decided to pursue an MBA, this seemed to the best route for me to help accelerate career advancement and by strengthening my business acumen. After graduation, I trust the investment will instantly show a return.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Columbia University, University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, Duke University, and Georgia Tech

How did you determine your fit at various schools? It was a major decision for me to decide to attend graduate school after working for six years. Yet, I felt obtaining an MBA would be the best opportunity to affect the trajectory of my career. It was important to me that the class size was not too large, in order to establish relationships with all my classmates and to learn in a collaborative environment. My next determining factors were centered around location. Although I did apply to several schools on the east coast, ultimately my intention was to be located on the west coast where the professional sports industry and business, in general, appeared to be thriving. In addition, my desired program needed to be in a city in which there were well-established companies and a growing economy. Lastly, I wanted to be located in a place where there was a professional sports presence in the event I decided to continue to pursue a career in industry. Foster and Seattle was the perfect match for these needs and I believe that it establishes an environment well equipped for me to succeed.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? A defining moment in my life was deciding not to become a sports agent. All throughout high school, I wanted to emulate the lifestyle of my mentor, who was a professional sports agent. However, the summer before college, he allowed me to shadow him for two days to better understand the aspects of his job. After that experience, I realized that the job is not what I had imagined. A successful agent has to be constantly available to his/her clients regardless of circumstances. Once I recognized what would be expected of an agent, this would create challenges to maintain the type of work-life balance that I envisioned for my career. From that point on, I have looked to make my impact in the sports industry through sales and marketing efforts on the behalf of teams and leagues.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? After obtaining an MBA, I still intend to pursue a business development position for a professional sports organization. The responsibilities to create content distribution strategies that will increase revenue and grow the fan base are particularly interesting to me. I will be more closely aligned to the decision-makers and will have the opportunity to grow the value of the brand with my evaluations. Also, I can sharpen my negotiation skills, strengthen my network, and generate revenue forecasting. I will also remain open to a similar position in other industries should the opportunities in sports not materialize.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to distinguish myself by being successful in a significant business development role. Eventually, this will lead to obtaining operational experiences that will qualify me for my long-term goal, President of an NFL franchise. As the leader of the organization, I will negotiate the stadium rights, oversee operations and secure multi-year sponsors.

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