Kyle Robinson ’16MBA
Financial Planning and Analysis Manager, The New York Racing Association
What did Iona College’s SEM Business program and/or faculty mean to you?
This program was validation that the career path I chose for myself truly was what I wanted to do with my life. Not everyone comes away from their undergraduate education with that feeling, and after a change from Wall St. finance to the sports world at New York Racing Association (NYRA), the SEMB program reaffirmed that I made the right choice. I didn’t look at classes as something to go and get through after my work day. I was genuinely excited for these classes and it made me take the entire MBA program more seriously than I would have because I enjoyed being there. The SEMB program allowed me to evaluate my career choice in more ways than just having a job in sports would have. I will owe my career, in large part, to this program and the faculty that put it together. Seeing real-world executives as educators or guest speakers in class made this industry so much more real to me and gave me the confidence that one day, I too, could be in front of a classroom speaking to experiences I have in the industry, all due to Iona College.
What was the most beneficial aspect of the program that potential students should know about?
The most beneficial aspect of this program is the faculty that teaches these courses. They are experienced, veteran executives of the industry and given the close proximity to NYC, which is far and away the capital of the SEMB world, Iona College has an advantage over programs outside of the tri-state area. These professors bring in experiences in real time, all the time. They bring in guest speakers from leagues, teams, networks and agencies in a way that other schools simply cannot. Graduate education at its core is designed to push the student to the next level of their career, and Iona accomplishes that by having such talented staff in this program.
How did the program help your career?
The program gave me a diverse knowledge base, very quickly. It also was up-to-the-minute in accuracy so it gave me relevant topics to use in meetings with executives at my company. Most times, these executives had either not heard of a certain topic yet or knew just a little. This drove me to be a thought-leader in my company at a very young age, which impressed my executive team and led to a promotion within the first year of being in the program.
What was the most memorable experience in being part of the program?
The most memorable experience for me was going to the A-10 Championships at the Barclays Center for my Sports Marketing class. Professor Manetta was in charge of college programming at the arena and for the first class he had us meet at the arena and take in the games that night. What made this so memorable was that prior to the games he sent instructions to specifically walk around the arena and experience all that it had to offer. This was that first time that the power of sports marketing really struck me. I had this “got it” moment. I realized how much potential this industry has, and as I walked around the arena I knew that this was the world that I was meant to be in. I had been to around 100 sporting events in my life up to that point, and none of it was all that new to me, but by having class there that night and taking in the environment as a student, and not just a fan, I saw the sports world in a whole new light.
What are you doing now?
I am the manager of Financial Planning & Analysis for the New York Racing Association. I am in charge of financial analysis of business development, wagering analysis and the budget and forecast manager for the revenue producing departments including wagering, marketing, sales and TV. I also evaluate and structure content rights deals for our broadcast signal.