Joshua Dickens was graduate student at Seton Hall University and finished his studies in 2019. He started his undergrad career at the University of Central Florida. His story on how he got to where he is today after living in a small town in Washington (though originally from Tallahassee) is very motivating.
Ashley Howard: You attended high school in University Place, Washington. What was it about the University of Central Florida that made you want to move to the East coast and to call it home for the next four years?
Joshua Dickens: I’m originally from Tallahassee, Florida. I went to high school 30 minutes out of Seattle. I toured University of Oregon as a sophomore, they had a great sports management program. If you asked me thought I was going to Oregon. I was going to get my degree from there and everything. Then when I was in my junior/senior year I wanted to go back home. I googled great schools with sports management programs in Florida, and UCF came up as one of them, so after I toured it I decided to go there.
AH: Can you talk a little bit about your sales internship with the UFC Athletics Department? Was this when you realized that you definitely wanted to stay going down your career path?
JD: I found this opportunity by going to the Career fair at UCF, I was always told that the fastest way to get into sports is to get your feet wet, I was bought into the mentality that sales helps you break into sports. I knew sales wasn’t what I always wanted to do but once I got offered the job I went with the opportunity anyways. It helped me get the business side of sports and communication.
AH: I know there may be some times that people start to realize what they started out doing doesn’t fit them as much. Were there ever times you felt you wanted to try another field?
JD: It may sound crazy but no, I knew in high school I wanted to pursue business and sports management, so I stayed down that path and have no regrets.
AH: When you were an undergrad or even before then? What company did you dream of working for?
JD: I dreamed of working with the Philadelphia Eagles, my favorite sports team. As a senior in high school we had to make a career board that said where we would like to work when we get older and I remember that I put that i wanted to be a senior marketing director for the Philadelphia Eagles. However, once I got out there I saw that working for a team is different you see a different side of things and it can get annoying, so I realized I didn’t want to work for a team anymore—especially not my favorite one.
AH: After leaving UCF, what made you choose Seton Hall for you Master’s?
JD: UCF had a connection with some professors at Seton Hall. Marketing professors were telling us to go to Jersey. If you go to Seton Hall you’d be guaranteed a position at the sports poll, so it sounded good and I applied there. Seton Hall is the only grad school I applied to as well. Although I didn’t get the chance to be a GA at the sports poll, I worked at SIL. On top of that, the location being close to New York was good. If you want to work in sports there’s no better place to do it then New York.
AH: What is it about Seton Hall’s Sport Management program that you can attest to?
JD: First and foremost, I can mostly appreciate the staff. I really enjoyed Professor Loviscek, who is the Finance chair at Stillman. He was also very helpful with everything. Next, I’d just like to say that the alumni base is really strong. The prestige of the business school and the University in general is greater than Rutgers. When I told people I went to Seton Hall it’s always, “Oh wow, you go to Seton Hall? That’s great!” I’m thankful I was able to get that recognition by coming to SHU and being apart of Stillman. It’s been a great experience.
AH: How did Seton Hall help land you an internship at Bleacher Report?
JD: I mainly searched for my internship at Bleacher Report through LinkedIn by myself. However, Professor Grantham was very niceI talked to him for motivation. He was always willing to sit down and talk for career advice.
AH: Danielle (McCardle) would tell me that you kept going to their (BR events, networking forums, etc. to put your foot in the door) what was that like?
JD: It’s what you have to do. that’s how you meet people how you go land an opportunity. Each opportunity lead to another. Being proactive going to career fairs, went to a couple career fairs at Seton Hall. That’s what helped me land all of my opportunities. More exposure the better, don’t put your eggs in one basket and settle for one thing.
AH: What interested you or caught your eye about Bleacher Report?
JD: I’ve been user of App since 2012-2013. One summer I was thinking before summer of my GA what internships I was going to apply for. Netflix was on list; Spotify was on list as was BR so I went on linked in to apply and saw that they had HOH. I was already Familiar with brand that connects sports and culture. loved that about them and i love it even more now being an employee .
AH: Now that you have worked there for about nine months, tell us about their work environment.
JD: It’s dope, it’s fantastic. If you come to the office, it’s open seating so communication is clear. I sit next to general manager of my department. The average age of employees is 28 which is pretty young for corporate America. I also connect with people outside of work. That’s why I was excited to come back full time. Any company that hires an intern is a great company culture and there’s always an open-door policy.
AH: What is the best part about your job? The thing that motivates you to get up every morning to step into BR doors.
JD: I’ve had jobs that I didn’t enjoy, but with this job i like my teammates. They work at high level and motivate me to work at high level. Also love what they’re (BR) is pushing. We not only focus on what goes on in games, but we focus on what athletes wear, what athletes do in their off days. Analyze what goes on day to day. Fun, exciting, engaging. When you have a 9-5 that you don’t like going to its never over, but when you have a career you feel like it’s never enough hours. When I worked in sales I would use my breaks to go in the bathroom just to pass time and that is also motivation for me because I never want to go back to that
AH: What advice would you offer to any undergrad or grad students trying to break into the industry?
JD: Get as much experience as you can. It’s all something that can help you tell your story. Everyone wants these jobs; sports is a high commodity. Every opportunity you can have leads to another one. In my case, working with the Red Bulls and Jets stood out the most on my resume. I might not have liked it back then, but they helped get me to where I stand now.