Talent management degree with tracks in sports, entertainment and esports to be offered in fall 2022

Melina Khan, News Editor

Quinnipiac University is launching a new bachelor of science degree in talent management in fall 2022, focusing on tracks in sports, entertainment and esports management.

The program, which is “designed to teach you the business side of sports, esports or entertainment,” according to Quinnipiac’s website, will be the only one of its kind in the country, said Tuvana Rua, the program’s faculty coordinator.

“(Quinnipiac has) something unique going on that nobody pretty much in the country has because we do have a law school, and we have obviously phenomenal programs, both in the communications school, business school, as well as arts and sciences,” said Rua, associate professor of management.

Incoming first-year students who apply to the talent management program may be offered enrollment in a 3+1 or 3+3 accelerated dual-degree program. Students who are eligible will be able to complete their bachelor’s degree in three years, and then complete either a graduate degree in their fourth year or a law degree in three additional years. 

“There’s only one more school in the country that offers this program in a joint way, but we are the only one who offers an accelerated path where you can finish (a bachelor’s and juris doctorate degree) in six years,” Rua said.

Illustration by Connor Lawless

After coming to Quinnipiac three years ago, Rua said she saw the popularity of the sports studies minor, and recognized the need for a sports management major. Eventually, in collaboration with Julia Fullick-Jagiela, chair of management, the two approached professors within the sports studies, game design and media studies departments to establish the three tracks of the degree. 

However, despite the program’s interdisciplinary nature, it will be housed in the School of Business, where the management program resides.

“Interdisciplinary learning is significant and important in general, and there are ways that we are advancing that across the university,” said Holly Raider, dean of the school of business. “… We are in an interdisciplinary friendly campus in that way, and we encourage it and I think the talent management degree takes that even further … the major really takes into account that the real world is interdisciplinary.”

Professor of media studies Lisa Burns will be the academic advisor for students pursuing the entertainment track. She said the talent management program will work well within media studies courses.

“I’m excited to be involved because a lot of my classes examine the entertainment and sports industries from a business perspective,” Burns said. “I know there are jobs in these fields, and I believe our faculty have the expertise to prepare our graduates for these careers.”

The talent management program is the first esports-focused degree at Quinnipiac. Its introduction comes after increased prevalence in the sport at Quinnipiac, including with the opening of the esports room on the York Hill campus in October 2021 and Quinnipiac’s club team ranking first in the MAAC last year.

Elena Bertozzi, chair of visual and performing arts and professor of game design and development, said having a degree focused on esports will create new opportunities for students.

“There are very few programs right now that are addressing things like esports,” Bertozzi said. “Esports is so new, it literally went from almost nothing to explosion in just three or four years … so this is really an opportunity for us to start producing graduates in an area that very few other schools are competing in right now so it’s a great opportunity.”

Theo Offerman, a junior game design major and president of the club esports team, said the new degree focusing on esports management will give students new perspectives on the sport.

“This degree can potentially give Quinnipiac students a greater perspective of esports management, especially some opportunities to connect with professionals in the industry,” Offerman said. “During my time at Quinnipiac, I have seen the rapid growth of esports both around the world and here at school. In some cases, its popularity has soared over certain athletic sports just from the sheer amount of video games that can be played competitively these days.”

The sports track of the program will also be the only bachelor’s degree with a focus in sports offered at Quinnipiac. Co-Director of the Sports Studies Minor Richard Hanley said he anticipates interest from both current and prospective students about the program.

“I imagine I’m going to be receiving a lot of emails from students who want to transfer majors and want to see if they can apply their minor in sports studies to what will be a major in sports management,” Hanley said. 

Hanley said administrators are beginning to determine the process for current students who want to transfer into the program in the fall. 

“We don’t anticipate any issues whatsoever and are looking forward to it,” Hanley said. “We think it’s a very, very important major, we think it fits with our students aspirations and our goal is to make sure that we prepare the students to succeed in those aspirations.”

Matthew Miller, a senior media studies major and sports studies minor, said he would have “absolutely” considered entering the talent management program if it was offered when he was in his first year.

“I’ve always wanted to work with the New York Giants,” Miller said. “With my degree, the media studies major, sports studies minor, I still feel like there’s a chance, but if I had the talent management degree, which focuses specifically on the sports aspect, I feel like (that would) be a much better opportunity.”

Sadie Peart, a junior finance major, was recently made aware of the talent management degree and has already decided that she will be transferring into the program.

“I’ve always wanted to be a college hockey coach, but didn’t know what major to pair that with,” Peart said. “And now with this new major I have many options like being a sports agent or a general manager for a team.”