University of Pittsburgh

Melissa Mele

University of Pittsburgh
Where did you go to school? What did your FOX Sports U project involve?

I graduated with a BSBA from the University of Pittsburgh in December 2015. During my final semester at Pitt, my Projects in Marketing class was tasked with developing a marketing campaign to attract more viewers to the 2016 U.S. Open that would be broadcast on FOX. My team centered our campaign on making golf more exciting, accessible, cool, and competitive. We mainly targeted millennials with our “Join the Club” campaign.

What is the most interesting thing you have learned so far in your new role? Did it change what career path you want to pursue?

Before the FOX Sports U project, I knew nothing about golf. Now, I work for the United States Golf Association. It has been unbelievable how much I have learned about the game of golf, sports marketing and event planning in the few short months I have been in my role. I definitely would love to continue working for the USGA in some capacity whether that be continuing with the US Open Championship team, or switching to a different department. Regardless, I would like to work in event management as a future career path. I love the dynamic atmosphere of sporting events, but I wouldn’t be opposed to branching out to other events in the future, whether that is corporate or private event planning.

What is the most important lesson or skill you learned while working with FOX Sports University?

I think the most important thing I learned is that taking advice is key. Our mentor and professor, Bob Gilbert, would talk to us about the feasibility of projects, and what might work and what would not. Although sometimes it was crushing to have him tell us his not so positive thoughts, constructive criticism was important to the success of our project. Learning how to accept professional criticism is the key to success in any career.

What advice would you give students your age looking to land an internship at a place like FOX or the USGA?

I think my biggest piece of advice is to reach out to professionals who work where you might eventually want to work one day because networking is key. Make those calls, make those connections. Step out of your comfort zone. Also, always be professional, and respectful. The sports and entertainment industry is a lot smaller than it looks. Do not get yourself a bad reputation for any reason. Keep social media clean, and always market yourself as someone who would make a good employee.

What is the best project you've worked on so far?

Everything I do right now is leading up to the U.S. Open. It feels like it is all one big project that will culminate in an amazing event that we will put on for over 150,000 spectators. I am working mainly on the merchandise and corporate hospitality committees’ preparations for the event. This includes, preparing training sessions, schedules, and correspondence with the 1000+ volunteers on those committees. It will be extremely rewarding to see how this behind the scenes work will pay off from June 13-19!