Being a Female in a SportS Business Summer Program

Posted by Brett Goldenhorn on Dec 14, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Sports Business Summer ProgramThe best summer of my life. That is a bold statement coming from Dani Wolk, a high school student from New Jersey, participated in the Wharton Sports Business Academy and the Wharton Moneyball Academy in 2015. During her summer, she learned about all facets of the sports industry from ownership to analytics, finance to sports merchandise. We caught up with Dani to talk about her experience and what it is like to be a woman pursuing a career in sports! 

  1. How did you become interested in sports and sports business? I grew up in a household filled with sports fanatics. My cousin works in the sports business industry and I find what she does to be incredibly interesting. I can confidently say that my favorite place in the world is Madison Square Garden. There is nothing like the feeling inside of the arena. 
  2. Why did you choose the WSBA program? I came across the Wharton summer sports business program online. The minute I read the description of the program, I was hooked. Not only did I love the sports business component of the program, but I was fascinated by the idea of living on a college campus. This past summer was my first summer in 7 years not spent at sleep away camp. I was nervous to go into this program without knowing anyone. The minute I joined the Facebook group my fears diminished. I started talking to a few of the kids before the program, and I couldn't wait to start the program! 
  3. What were the highlights of the program for you? There is nothing quite like being in a great city surrounded by 110 other students that are just as passionate about sports as you are. The highlight of the program, for me, was finding so many people that I connected with. I am still in touch with a large group of the program. We all have a massive group text, and it's like we're back in the classroom with our debates. Although I loved the learning aspect of the program, I grew so much as an individual. Prior to WSBA, I was not particularly outgoing. The running joke this summer was that "Dani can become friends with anyone in 2 minutes." I made a conscious effort to speak to every kid in the program. In addition, I recently went down to the University of Pennsylvania to visit some of the RTAs. The RTAs are a great resource after the program as well. The WSBA kids are the only people that I know that can make sitting at a Phillies game tolerable!
  4. What impressed you most about the curriculum? I was super impressed with the curriculum overall. I loved the lectures and the debates that we had in class. The speakers really sealed the deal for me. I learned so much about their different jobs and was able to form relationships with some of them. In addition, the site visits were absolutely amazing. I will never forget the moment that I walked onto the Phillies field. More importantly, I will never forget the people that I was with when I encountered all of the experts in the sports business field. 
  5. What was your favorite debate you had with your fellow students throughout the program?  I had several amazing debates with my fellow classmates, but my favorite debate was on the night that we all drafted our fantasy football teams. We decided to create a league at the end of the program that included a good chunk of the kids. They introduced me to a whole other way of looking at sports. I was so excited to take my newfound fantasy knowledge back home for fantasy basketball season. 
  6. Were there any female speakers (on campus or on site visits) who inspired you to continue on the path to a career in sports?  Jennifer Duberstein, a lawyer at CAA Sports, inspired me to continue on the path to a career in sports. I have always been interested in sports law, and after hearing her speak, I was hooked. I connected with her after her presentation, and we are still in contact. You have the opportunity to form bonds with several speakers, and I would highly recommend it. I can honestly say that I admire Jennifer, and I look forward to continuing my relationship with her. 
  7. What was the business your group came up with? My group came up with a seat cushion rental service. We planned to start the business in Texas (the heart and soul of football) and then expand throughout the United States.
  8. How was it to work in a team to create a business plan? I really enjoyed working in a team to create a business plan. I don't know how else to describe my team other than a summer family. I was put into my team on the first night of the program. Your team is a group of friends that you know will be constant throughout the whole program. I was the only girl on my team, but that didn't stop me from voicing my opinion. I know that it can be overwhelming to be the only girl in a group of 9 people, but your opinion is just as valuable as any of the other boys. I still talk to the members from my team on a regular basis. I know that it may sound corny, but your team will turn into a group of lifelong friends. There is no one else I would have wanted to spend Friday nights making Wawa runs with! 
  9. What was it like to live on campus and be a part of a Sports Business program as a female?  I had an amazing experience living on the University of Pennsylvania campus. They separate the floors by gender, so I was super comfortable where I was staying. Although there were a ton of boys, I never felt overpowered by them. In addition to all of my newfound knowledge, I also learned how to speak up in a room filled with males. 
  10. Would you recommend this for other female participants? If so, why?  I would 100% recommend this for other female participants. If you have any interest at all in sports business you should definitely apply for WSBA. I can honestly say that it was the best summer of my life. I learned so many valuable life skills and met some of my best friends. I know it's intimidating going into a program that is primarily male, but I did it, and so can you! I would do anything to relive my experience at WSBA, so since I can't, I want you to! 

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Topics: Pre-Professional Programs

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