Shifting the Spotlight: Executive Vice President Jonathan Prete

By Nicola Karasik

Next, we turn to our focus to SBA’s newly-instated Executive Vice President, Jonathan Prete! 

Q: How did you get into sports?

A: As an avid sports fan of all New York teams growing up, coupled with my passion for business, I knew from an early age that I wanted to pursue sports management. All my conversations were centered around sports as a kid and in high school I set my sights on programs that could help me gain exposure into the sports industry.

Q: Who do you look up to in the sports industry?

A: My role model in the sports industry was my uncle. Growing up, I saw him progress at ESPN where has now been working for 20 years. He always gave me candid advice and insight into the industry and I got to see firsthand the inner workings of his responsibilities in digital media, and now portfolio management, at ESPN.

Q: What made you want to work in the sports industry? 

A: I wanted to work in the sports industry to utilize my analytical and researching mindset to advance a field I am so passionate in. I knew that working in a profession that satisfied your passions could only lead to more engagement and involvement in the workspace - lending to solutions which could service sports franchises. I am also concentrating in finance, so I wanted to use my pre-existing knowledge in the field to best serve the SBA in the finance committee. My financial mindset helps me guide the SBA in solutions which will promote the budget and financial stability of the organization.

Q: As EVP of SBA, what do you have to say about the work you’ve put into the organization within the past year? How does your past and current SBA involvement speak to your professional aspirations in the sports business industry?

A: Last year, building up the internal operations of the SBA was paramount to me in having a fully functional, successful organization geared at making impact to those in the sport management field at GW. Last year this included developing the website, logo and merchandise in the light of our fiscal budget. I will continue to be progressive with the organization’s involvement in the business school so that we can benefit sport management students and the GW body to the best of our ability.

Q: What experiences do you have working in the sports industry?

A: CRM and Ticketing Analyst Intern at the Washington Redskins -- My experience as a CRM and Analytics intern was very rewarding because of different research projects I was able to be exposed to and seeing the inner-working of supporting the ticket sales team. Through this internship, I gained a lot of technical skills such as being proficient in Excel, CRM, and the back-end of ticketing software as well as the Redskins internal website. In addition to these technical skills, I was able to strengthen my knowledge of the sports industry by conduction several projects to analyze the ticketing space and revamp internal processes for our rewards program. Being my first team side experience, it was a fulfilling experience being able to work for a sports organization in turn building my network for future internships in the sports industry and being able to work game days for the Redskins during the season.

Washington Redskins Game Day Staff -- After my CRM and ticketing analysis internship, I was able to return to the Redskins as a member of the game day staff. In this role, I got to see the inner-workings of what it takes to host a game on Sundays, whichputs into perspective the skills needed to take on many functions of the sports business arena. It is a fundamental position that is both unique and fulfilling into moving into further careers in sport business. Through my time working with the Redskins, I learned how to manage time, satisfy the needs of different people, whether it be the fans or the organization, and understanding the priorities of the organization better so that it functions accordingly. All these skills are invaluable to sport business and other aspirations at large.

Investment Banking Intern -- The internship of my sophomore year was with a boutique investment bank specializing in acquisition searches for companies and investors. The internship comprised of me conducting industry and company research for potential deals our firm was overseeing. In this internship I learned a lot of technical skills necessary in finance and also strengthened my skills in Excel, PowerPoint, and other programs useful in finance. I was opened up to new avenues of research and technical skills which I can utilize in order to specialize in my desired field. It was a great introduction and learning experience and further cemented the path I want to take. 

Now, I am pursuing finance in an investment banking path because of the rigor, the ability to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, and the chance to meet and work with finance-savvy people who are also motivated and passionate about like-minded things. Through my work experience and prior internships, I have learned that I want to apply myself in a competitive and fulfilling space in which I can become an expert of a certain industry. This is rewarding to me because I can understand the trends, structure, and companies of a field which will serve my career development most effectively. 

Q: What is your dream job? How do you think the professional experiences you’ve had will help you achieve that goal?

A: The ultimate goal of my profession is to be aiding companies in acquisitions, capital formation, and leveraging market and industry research for impactful business decisions. I have gained exposure to sector research, business transactions, and technical skills which will help my transition into this field in hopes of achieving my dreams.

Q: What is something you wish you had known about going into the industry before college and applying to internships?

A: I wish I knew how to network properly. As a freshman, it is best to network early and often in order to seek lasting relationships with mentors. The most important facet of networking is following through with your connections and providing value in a symbiotic relationship - this will speak volumes about your commitment to the industry and is the best way to open doors.

Q: What motivates you to achieve your goals?

A: There is increasing competition in the professional world and I view everyday as an opportunity to learn something new and achieve one of my goals. It's great to set both short and long-term goals so that you always are progressing and feel fulfilled by your hard work. Whether it is being attentive in classes or working on yourself in some regard that will always motivate you to pursue your dreams.

Q: What is something unique that you have to offer to the sports industry?

A: I bring my intellectual curiosity and driven personality to accomplish deals and work collaboratively with colleagues. I am open-minded and keen to develop relationships with fellow professionals in a constructive manner. My work ethic and values are what drive my aspirations in my dream industry.

Q: What are you currently doing that will further advance you to achieving your goals?

A: I am actively network with professionals and alumni in order to gain insight and foster connections in finance in order to achieve my goals in the finance world. I actively network with professionals and I actively network with professionals and alumni by utilizing useful functions on LinkedIn and brushing up on pertinent articles so that useful conversations can ensue with current connections I have and expanding my network. I keep a large excel spreadsheet to keep track of connections, updated notes, and useful information as well as sending periodic emails in order to keep in touch with my connections.

Q: Who is one connection of yours that you have stuck by and always followed up with? 

A: I have remained in touch with my prior boss of my banking internship. During my time there, I knew that he was an effective leader in his ability to teach subject material, put emphasis on his intern program, and overall care about the needs of his team. To this day I still reach out to him and I am grateful to have an experienced professional willing to devote his time and help to a young student trying to pursue a like-minded industry.

Q: What is one thing people should definitely know about you?

A: One thing people should know about me is that I’m open-minded and considerate. I love talking to people regarding their aspirations and hope to share stories with those passionate in sport management and finance.