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Taking the field

By: Allen Wallace,
Posted on: December 12, 2018

McKenzie Garrison will not officially claim her Master of Sport and Entertainment Management degree until Dec. 17, but her career has already launched.

Garrison accepted a position with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in July, and has been working as a marketing and communications associate in the organization’s Charlotte headquarters while completing her degree at the University of South Carolina.

As part of a three-person marketing and communications team, she has already helped market and promote NJCAA events including national championships for fall sports. A former college athlete herself, as an undergraduate at Catawba College in North Carolina, Garrison says a love of sports helped draw her to sport and entertainment management. But being a fan isn’t enough.

“There’s a lot more to sport management than that,” she says. “You have to know a lot about every part of the industry.”

Garrison wanted to learn more after earning her bachelor’s degree in sport management from Catawba, and came to UofSC for the master’s program, ranked in the top 10 worldwide. She found class sizes similar to those at the smaller college, and faculty members with an unmatched combination of academic and practical experience.

“Almost all the professors have industry experience,” she says of the UofSC faculty. “I felt like I got to learn a lot more about how things really are in the business.”

While at UofSC, Garrison gained practical experience of her own, working for Discover USC and on campus for the Office of Research and Gamecock Athletics.

“I really enjoyed it. It’s the best major you could choose,” she says.

UofSC is the first major university to create a separate department for the study of sport and entertainment with a solid business curriculum, and the department is part of UofSC’s No. 1 ranking in sport science. More information about the program is available here.

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