The Value of a Master of Sport Management Degree: Insights from John Atkins 23’

Headshot of John Atkins in front of Moby Arena
Why did you want to pursue a Master of Sport Management (MSM) degree?

I wanted to make a career change and I wanted to improve my knowledge of the sport industry. A master’s degree will separate me from others seeking a career in sport management.


What are your career goals and how does the MSM fit into those?

I hope to make an impact on the lives of student-athletes at the university level, either in academics or in an athletic department. My long-term goal is to lead a department, either as a VP, Athletic Director or Associate Athletic Director. The MSM program has prepared me to enter the field of Athletics. I feel more prepared to make a difference.


Talk about your experience in the program in general. What have been some of the benefits?

It has been great getting to hear the experiences and opinions of my classmates. I learn something new every week from my classmates and I think about sport management from a different perspective now. I loved that I was able to learn from professors with different backgrounds as well. I was able to take a wide range of classes, which provided a more holistic education.


What is your favorite class you have taken in the MSM program?

I have learned so much from all my classes, so it is difficult to only pick one. My three favorite classes have been SPMT 572: Sport Organizational Communication, SPMT 536: Sport and Communities and SPMT 554: Sport and the Environment.

Sport Organizational Communication will benefit me the most moving forward. I learned about leadership in sport and how to better utilize my strengths as a leader.

Sport and Communities taught me how much an impact sport can have in our society, particularly for marginalized communities. In the future, when making important decisions, I want to keep in mind how other people will be impacted by my decision-making.

Sport and the Environment really surprised me. I learned about how sport can have such an impact on our environment, sustainability and long-term viability of sport. I have a better grasp on how to weigh short term benefits with creating a sustainable future.


Have you completed an internship in the program? If so, what was it in and how did it increase your skills in Sport Management?

I recently completed my internship with the Student-Athlete Support Services team at CSU. This team works closely with student-athletes to make sure they are on track for graduation and assist with tutoring and mentoring. My internship confirmed that helping students is a passion for me. The team I worked with are passionate about helping student-athletes and their enthusiasm only made me more excited to join the field.


What would you tell others who are considering a MSM?

Many people are passionate sport fans. However, what will separate you from others wanting to join the sport industry is gaining both practical and theoretical experience. The MSM program will provide insights into what laws have changed the sporting world, how to be an ethical sport leader, and how important sports are to the world.


How has your experience in the MSM program affected your future education or career goals?

The MSM program provided clarity on what interests me the most. This program has introduced me to how the NCAA governs college athletics, what shapes their policymaking and the challenges they will face in the future. I appreciate that the MSM program can lead students to many different paths, whether it is in professional sports, working at a rec center or gym, or many other countless paths in sport management.


To learn more about the Master of Sport Management program, please visit