Research Paper: Mississippi Valley State University (Msuv)

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¶ … Mississippi Valley State University (MSUV) during my internship and how has that helped me in integrating my education while doing MS with the practical aspect of applying the acquired knowledge.

The paper is divided into four sections all contributing towards the final conclusion of how the internship has helped me improve and use the knowledge acquired during my post graduation.

Experience

Practical experience is necessary in any field of education. Moreover, I believe that practical exposure is necessary for a student to learn the actual application of the theories taught in the classroom as it clarifies the concepts, strengthens the ideas and understanding of theories, teach the professional discipline and methodologies and makes a person confident to pursue his/her carrier.

I am a Sports Management major with a concentration in Sports Administration. Sports Administration gives me an opportunity to look at sports from a lot of different aspects. Such as the funding, the budgeting, from ethical views, socially and legally matters that revolves around sports along with several others factors contributing to sports. My experience at MSVU was the same. It not only strengthened the concepts acquired during mu MS education but also helpedme understand the working methodology and concepts.

During my internship at MSVU, I was able to utilize all the attained knowledge of sports management (including the administrative and finance concepts) in managing the sports department under the mentorship of Coach Dell Cannon. My association with him in the men's basketball section of the MSVU has been quite a learning experience. During the entire internship period I learnt how to apply the theoretical concepts practically in the real scenarios.

This whole experience has helped me in strengthening my knowledge and evaluating the theories learnt during the student life. I also gained a lot of confidence. This training also made me learn public dealing and analytical skills to understand and evaluate different situations and take steps accordingly. Work place mechanics became clear to me and transmission from student life to professional life took place through this training.

All in all this was a highly learning experience through which I gained a lot of confidence and learnt methods of applying the concepts in the practical life. Further, constant association with my mentor has highly improved my analytical and linking skills.

Moreover, in order to learn from my experience and gain the most knowledge, I was being guided by my mentor to critically evaluate the work done and experience gained. The reflection from my experience as a result from this critical evaluation is shared in the next part.

2. Reflection on Experience

a. Reflection

Reflecting on experiences means looking back and paying careful consideration to what a person has done during one or more experiences and evaluating the results from those actions. Reflection is one of the important aspects of improvement and learning through experiences. This means that after any experience a person considers and evaluates the need for that exercise (experience), the actions taken and the results achieved. With the help of the proper analysis the person comes up with a proper future plan of action. Thus learns from his experiences as to what step should be taken, what decisions and mistakes should be avoided, what is the most feasible plan of action, etc. (Reed & Koliba, 2001)

Apart from the above discussion, it should also be cleared that just having experiences does not at all ensure that learning has occurred or the person has achieved something. Therefore, reflecting on the gained experiences is the essential requirement for learning from those experiences. Moreover, researchers and educators emphasize that the most effective learning experiences are those which provide the opportunities to the participants to critically reflect upon and evaluate their work. (Faculty UOM, 2013)

b. The Experiential Learning Cycle

The famous educationalist David Kolb presented a famous theory known as 'The Experiential Learning Cycle'. This theory clearly enumerates and highlights the importance of critical reflection to learn from the past experiences. As graphically presented:

(Davies and Lowe, n.d.)

As evident from the above illustration that reflective practice is a critical aspect of the learning exercise from experience.The steps include: 1. having and experience, 2. Critical reflection on the gained experience, 3. Forming conclusions and recommendations on the basis of experience, and 4. applyingwhat you have learnt from the experience. (Davies and Lowe, n.d.)

c. Four Cs of Reflection

Various researchers and theorists also identified the four Cs of reflection which are

Continuous reflection, which means that the process of reflection should be ongoing and should continue along with experience and learning. This C. represent that there should not be any stop to the reflection process and one should continue to critically evaluate his/her experience for better and continued learning and eventually growth, (Faculty UOM, 2013)

Connected Reflection, the critical evaluation and reflection should be linked with (connected with) the information gained during the studies. This means that for effective learning the theoretical concepts should be linked with the practical exposure and experience to identify and fill the gaps, if any, (Faculty UOM, 2013)

Challenging Reflection, which means that the evaluation should be such that challenging ideas and concepts should be identified and analyzed. This will create an atmosphere of learning new things and embracing the new ideas and concepts. The exercise should always create a challenging learning environment, (Faculty UOM, 2013) and Contextualized Reflection, which means that the experience and the relative reflection is based on the person's line of studies and relevant experience. It explains that there should be a clear link between the person's experience and his reflection strategy and exercise.(Faculty UOM, 2013)

d. What I learnt

My experience at MSVU as an intern under the mentorship of basketball coach enlightened me on the following aspects of management of the sports department at an academic organization: 1. Management of funds allocated to the department, 2. budgeting the funds on different projects and events, 3. Organizing and planning various events, 4. Projecting the cash flows from such projects, 4. Planning the Human Resources and human Resource management, 5. Managing conflicts and negotiating with affected parties, 6. Compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements, 7. Marketing and promotion of the events and selling the seats / tickets, 8. Arranging funds for sponsoring events, 8. Leading the teams, training and developing the teams, 9. Attracting the students to participate in the events, 9. Solving the students and university's administration issuesetc.

During the entire experience I learnt a great deal from my mentor. He told me how to utilize the concepts learnt from my studies especially from all the subjects studied, especially sports law, research methods in sports health sciences, sports industry, sports marketing, promotion and public relations, Leadership and management in sports, etc.

e. Skills Acquired / Interests Identified and Need for Improvement

I realized that due the internship experience I learnt that I am quite interested in sports management especially the Funds management and HR management. I like working with the figures. I was also involved with the cash flow projections of various events that were organized during my period of stay.

I learnt that analyzing the inputs and outputs is an interesting aspect of sports management. I also acquired good grip on spreadsheet software due to this. Further, generating or arranging the required funds also is an area of interest for me. During my internship, I was given the responsibility to organize an event. For this I was given the entire responsibility starting from arranging the funds to 'making it happen'.

While critically evaluating that exercise, I realized the following about myself:

I lack the negotiation and persuasion skills required to arrange the funds and gather the sponsors. It was an area which took a lot of time and effort from my side. I was beginning to hate that job of meeting a variety of sponsors, constantly smiling and waiting for their calls. Even meetings with the university administration regarding the allocation and utilization of the fund was a hectic job for me. I really need to work hard on this aspect of my personality in order to be an effective sports manager.

As discussed earlier too that I loved playing with numbers. I realized that it was the best aspect of my job when I was given the duty of making the budgets, allocating the funds, projecting the cash flows, comparing the actual results with the budgets and other financial-based functions. It helped me a lot in improving my analytical and comparing skills. I also realized that after the internship I have better command over spreadsheet software and can use these application in my day-to-day life to save time and energy.

Promoting the events and planning the events (other than the financial aspect) was an area that greatly improved my patience as well as my communication skills. This aspect of the job also brought out my managerial and leading skills. I took a lot of patience in dealing with various teams, staff and other relevant people. Starting… [END OF PREVIEW]

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