Student Spotlight: Brandon Ellsworth (‘22) Leveraging your Sport into an Internship

Senior Brandon Ellsworth, a Business Administration major with a concentration in Sports management, is interning right here at Merrimack College Athletics as a Games Operations Intern. Previously, Brandon worked as a Park Ranger for Connecticut in their Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and has had experience with an externship with NESN. You may have seen Brandon serving as the Campus Infrastructure Committee Chair and 2022 Senator on SGA, a writer on the Beacon newspaper, on MCTV, and a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose to work there? What makes this company a great place to work?

The internship is on campus, so it’s an easy commute. Merrimack is a rising D1 school for athletics, I really wanted to get my feet wet with game operations as a whole, and where better to do so than at Merrimack College? 

How did you find this position, and can you tell us a little bit about what you do there? And is there any advice you’d give to other students looking to break into this company?

During my sophomore year, I worked in communications with athletics. I went to the staff directory, looked up Chris Dooley, who was the former game operations manager. I reached out to him and asked to meet so I could ask some questions about the position. I checked back in September, and Ciaran Cullen was taking over game operations. So I met with him and talked about the internship, and the internship is also part of a sports management Practicum requirement. 

I go in for 2-3 hours a day, a few times a week for office hours. There I help around the office, get game day schedules written, and arrive at games 2-3 hours before it starts. On game day, I’m setting up chairs, checking on referees, informing student workers on their jobs, showing the visiting team around, and a liaison for the team. After the games, I’m helping take down everything we set up and cleaning up. Which probably takes up around 6-8 hours of the day.

Merrimack is still a company, I’d say take the initiative to reach out to the athletics department, the worst they can do is say no, put yourself out there and things will fall in place. You can’t sit back and wait for the internship to fall in your lap. 

Can you talk us through the process of finding and applying for your internship? 

There was no online application, it was a spring of the moment thing. My hiring included a lot of reaching out, such as to Chris Dooley and Ciaran Cullen. You have to know which season you want to work in and reach out in advance for that season. So there really was no formal process, just putting myself out there. 

How did you prepare for the interview? What was it like, and do you have any tips on interview techniques or questions?

There was no point person when I was hired, so I met with Ciaran, and I told him my story. They were happy to take me on, and while there was no real interview, they asked about past experience. I had no real preparation, as mine is a unique position.

In general, how did Merrimack contribute to your career development? What resources did you use? Did you use resources like Quinncia or maybe an in-person Mock Interview?

Mock interviews definitely helped. Morgan Phipps was my career advisor for the past few years, she helped me with my resume development, such as branching out in different campus areas like participation in different clubs. Additionally, cover letters are hard to write, and Phipps helped me there as well.

What surprised you about your internship experience? Were there any situations that came up that you were unprepared for?

The environment that I’m in is more personable than I expected, and I’m able to build relationships with the people I work with. Merrimack Athletics maintain a positive environment while working to get the job done. I’ve now seen everything that goes into a game, and that can be rewarding, watching a game go well and knowing that I contributed.

What skills have you developed working for this company and what do you wish you had known prior to starting the internship there?

Punctuality is a skill that’s often overlooked. Saying you’ll be on time and actually doing so are two different things, and when you’re running on a game day schedule, you have to be on time.  I’ve also improved my communication skills, you need to be able to talk to others and be knowledgeable on your feet. I’ve been working and communicating with coworkers and fans and addressing issues that come up. It’s also important to note that sometimes, the student workers who come in are sometimes first timers, and you have to be able to communicate and teach them in a timely manner. 

Any campus shout-outs to folks who have helped you along the way in getting you to this point? Did you meet with any of the O’Brien Center Career Advisors?

Morgan Phipps, she was the main person I talked to in terms of my career, and she pushed me along and made sure I didn’t fall behind in career development.

Seven Things You Wouldn’t Know About Brandon!

  • Favorite Merrimack memory so far? It’s a tough call, but this year’s men’s basketball game at Lawler Rink against Lehigh
  • Best dining location on campus? And your favorite Merrimack food? The Warrior’s Den is the best, I always get the 6 inch crispy chicken sandwich
  • If you could dine with any person, fictional or historical, who would it be? Dwayne the Rock Johnson! He’s a cool dude and I want to see how he views life.
  • Favorite musical artist(s) or best concert you’ve ever been to? Polo G
  • What is one thing we would never guess about you? I am the only boy among my cousins, I only have female cousins, so I’m the only boy in my generation of the family.
  • Best career advice you ever heard? Know your worth and don’t let rejection get to you. Know who you are, what you’re capable of doing and be confident in yourself
  • What stands out as Merrimack’s greatest feature? Definitely the community. Being here is a home away from home, everyone is so generous and willing to help you out and I’ve met lifelong friends during my time as an undergraduate student. I can see myself going to grad school here. I knew from when I first stepped foot on campus that Merrimack was the place for me.
By Casey Stevenson
Casey Stevenson Communication & Copywriting Intern