Weekly Q&A Series: Chris Yandle, Director of Communications (University of Miami Fla.)

In an effort to provide aspiring sports business professionals with a deeper insight into the college athletic world, BusinessofCollegeSports.com will be conducting weekly Q&A’s via email with industry professionals working in higher athletics. This week’s guest is Chris Yandle, Director of Communications at the University of Miami Fla.

Connect with Chris on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

Check out the Q&A below and let us know what you think of Chris’ advice on Twitter.

BusinessofCollegeSports.com — When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in college athletics? Why did you decide to pursue a career in college athletics versus maybe a career in professional sports?

Chris Yandle — At the basis of my desire to work in college athletics, it comes down to working daily with student-athletes and being on a college campus. I love the atmosphere, game days, and helping student-athletes as they reach their goals and dreams. It’s a good feeling. I would love the opportunity to work in pro sports one day, but I think I still have a lot I want to accomplish at the college level.

BOCS.com — You have a bachelor’s degree as well as a graduate degree. Is a graduate degree necessary to work in college athletics? What is the benefit of a Master’s in Sports Administration or maybe an MBA?

CY — I think a master’s degree is beneficial, an MBA probably more so than in sports management. Sometimes I wish I would have gotten an MBA – both college and pro sports, at its core, relies on business management and strategy. I went to graduate school because I wasn’t ready for the real world, and I always wanted to go as far as I could in my education. My next goal is to work on my PhD; I’m not sure where I will find such time to work on it, but it’s a goal in the near future.

But for those in school interested in this field, I think a master’s degree in a necessity – not just because of the education, but it gives you additional years of experience before a full-time job.

BOCS.com — How important has networking with other sports industry professionals been for your career advancement? Do you still stay in contact with any of your mentors from early on in your career?

CY —  I think networking in this business is vitally important. My previous contacts have helped me land both of my last two positions at Baylor and Miami. Those same networking contacts reach out to me for those I know that may be interested in positions. Networking is never ending. Every day is a chance to network. Make the best of it. I still keep in contact with my mentors that were important to my early years in the profession. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.

BOCS.com — What do you do on a daily basis as the Director of Communications for the University of Miami?

CY — I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of our Communications staff. I also handle the football media duties for the Hurricanes and our social media strategies and education. In addition to those items, I have also introduced a Strategic Communications Standards handbook for my staff, a social media strategy and a 100-day summer social media series that debuted last week on HurricaneSports.com.

BOCS.com — At the University of Miami, the athletic department has recently integrated infographics into weekly communications of news and statistics pertaining to the Hurricanes. Where did that idea stem from? How has using infographics benefitted the athletic department as a whole?

CY — Graphics are eye-catching and easy to convey a thought. A picture is worth 1,000 words, right? Well, an infographic is our way to telling our fans what happened in the game. Why read a box score when you can ready a pretty graphic that tells you all you need to know? It’s another way to tell a story. I’ve been a big proponent of cutting game notes, media guides, and other archaic ideas in college media relations in an effort to tell our story in an easier, efficient, and more effective way. Infographics are the best way and the possibilities are endless. We took advantage of basketball’s meteoric success this past season. We will be moving forward with football and other sports for this upcoming season.

We have a lot of fun with them and integrate them with our social platforms. They are easy to share and we received a wealth of positive feedback.

BOCS.com — What one or two pieces of advice would you give to young aspiring sports business professionals who are looking to pursue a career in college athletics?

CY — I will offer the same two pieces of advice I try to pass along to our interns each semester. 1) Every day is a job interview. You never know who is watching what you do every day. Take pride in that and do the job to the best of your ability. 2) Learn how to do EVERYTHING in the office. As a student, I learned how to do every sport and knew everything there was about the office operation. The more you learn, the more marketable you are when you are ready for a full-time position.

Thanks again to Chris for answering BusinessofCollegeSports.com’s questions. Follow Mark on Twitter for more #SportsBiz talk.

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