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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Letter to the Editor: Your network really is your net worth

Wren Johnson

From the moment I stepped foot on Wichita State’s campus, the phrase “Network is your net worth” has been drilled into my brain. I remember Dr. Jeff Noble of the Sports Management department offering me this important piece of advice when I first visited campus. I understood the comment in theory but was curious how it would play out in my academic career. After a few recent experiences, I think I’ve begun to find out.

As a sports management major, the importance of building meaningful relationships in the industry has always been stressed to me. Professors were adamant that it was important to try to connect with as many professionals as early and often as possible. 

The benefits of having a large network was something I got to see firsthand growing up. My mother worked in college administration, primarily as a dean and vice president. My mom created a very large network that she was able to use to benefit her students. She was a connector and was always reaching back and finding ways for former students to help new ones. 

Witnessing these people continue to pop in and out of her life, almost exclusively with good stories and experiences, has left a profound impression on me. Seeing the incredible benefit of what a large network can do has really shaped my mindset and shown me the importance of developing and sustaining relationships.

From March 19-27, I had the privilege of participating in an internship with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) helping to coordinate their national basketball championship tournament in Kansas City. 

This hands-on experience transcended the classroom. It offered a dynamic environment where the ideas from the classroom met real-world application, allowing me to immerse myself in the workings of a national championship sporting event. From logistics to fan engagement, I gained practical skills that will be essential for success in the sports industry. 

The opportunity to work alongside NAIA professionals like Mike Hall and Austin Bennet enhanced my understanding of the industry and fostered professional growth and networking opportunities. 

However, it wasn’t until the final day of the internship that I made a connection I didn’t even fully see coming. As I was beginning the teardown process at the end of the event, I bumped into and began a very short conversation with the president of the NAIA, Jim Carr. While our conversation was quick, he told me that we should meet to discuss future opportunities the next time that I found myself in Kansas City. I will definitely be taking him up on this generous offer.

On March 28, I had the opportunity to attend the Kansas Sport Summit. Dr. Wonyoung Kim and other members of the department organized an event where we had the opportunity to learn from subject experts in the field. They brought in a diverse range of speakers who covered topics that ensured we gained comprehensive insights into the sports industry.

From the engaging panel discussions to the interactive workshops, our learning environment was enriched. By providing us with access to industry leaders and facilitating meaningful discussions, they expanded our knowledge and inspired us to grow our network.

I am profoundly grateful for the many opportunities I have been given. If you have the chance to participate in an internship, expand your horizons and do it. The strength of one’s network not only reflects their current value but also can serve as a springboard for future success and fulfillment.

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About the Contributor
Wren Johnson
Wren Johnson, Illustrator/Designer
Wren Johnson is an illustrator for The Sunflower. Johnson is a third-year communications major that loves chickens. In her free time she likes to read, draw, and hang out with friends. Johnson uses she/her pronouns.

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