Sport management graduate puts academic experience into practice
KENNESAW, Ga. (May 22, 2020) — For thousands of Kennesaw State students each semester, graduation represents a defining moment. It is an opportunity to reflect on their entire educational journey — the mentors they gathered, the friendships they made and the opportunities they seized. In recognition of that, we are spotlighting students who are completing their final semester at KSU. Kashim Butler Sr., who is earning a degree in sport management, shares in his own words his journey at KSU.
The biggest challenge was to start. The second challenge was carving out time to work full-time, be a father, a husband and try to be a full-time student. I travel a lot for my job, so how could I be in the classroom as much as I needed to?
When I first started, I took online classes to keep my work schedule intact while pursuing my degree. Then I started making time for a single campus class, which turned into two, then five last fall, which turned out to be an easy transition. Being on campus gave me the energy I needed to continue moving toward my goal. I thought my classmates would laugh at me because I was twice their ages; however, they embraced me and respected my journey and the knowledge that I could share with them in a world they were going to be in soon.
I am a Senior Strategic Technology Consultant with Comcast Enterprise Services. My responsibilities are to develop and present solutions that will assist Fortune 500 companies become more efficient, profitable and scalable for future growth. Once they are clients, ensuring the implementation of these solutions are completed correctly requires that I travel roughly 60 percent of my time annually. If I had a Tuesday/Thursday schedule, I would leave for the airport right after class on Tuesday and take a redeye flight back Thursday morning so I would not miss class. I would make similar arrangements when I had a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule.
As things became tougher, energy came from two places: the students I was around and the professors in the sport management program. The students brought a youthful energy and perspective to conversations, which helped me understand the younger generation and what is important to them. As the demographic I would be competing against for clients or collaborating with on projects, it was important to me to understand their point of view. The professors were really down-to-earth and very knowledgeable about each part of the industry, helped me narrow down my options as well as identify gaps in my plans that would hinder my business.
The idea of my sports business preceded KSU as I have been a high school and summer AAU basketball coach for close to 15 years. I had always wondered if I could build a business in an industry that I love. I knew from that point on I had to create a plan to become credible from a business standpoint, so I began to look for schools with sport management degrees. KSU was informative and proactive in the admission process, which made it a no-brainer on where to go.
I approached my son, Kashim Jr., about the business, as I always wanted to create a family business with him. Also a student in sport management at KSU, he was already certified as a strength and conditioning athletic trainer and as a fitness instructor for golf. The goal was to build a facility where we could conduct sports tournaments for AAU and summer leagues, train professional athletes in their off-seasons and train high school-age athletes year-round. With his background and understanding of what is needed for athletes to perform at their best, it was a natural fit for him the run the training program while I handle the business side of things.
I learned so much from him over the years. If I had to choose one thing, it is the remarkable way he perseveres through tough situations. His never-give-up attitude is one of the reasons I made it through school.
The future of our business looks great because fans cannot wait until sports return! We made the switch to virtual training sessions last year when I trained my godson in New Jersey. My son and I would demonstrate the drills live, and my godson would perform them on his end. We recorded the sessions so we could analyze them afterward and provide our analysis on what he needed to be changed for better performance. This prepared us for the current atmosphere with COVID-19. There will always be downtime, but they produce the best ideas and opportunities. If you can be proactive before these times, it puts you in the driver’s seat when the opportunities are presented.
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.